It could have been a beautiful mix of appropriate individualism to challenge preconceived notions—and thus discover deeper truth—and a community knitted together by good, symbolic tradition and healthy accountability.
One has to wonder if all our church splits and divisions can be linked back to a conviction we feel to leave if and when change isn’t happening the way we feel it should. But we must consider: Do we leave too soon?
There is also the temptation we constantly fight against to take Scripture out of its context and apply it as it wasn’t intended to be applied. Whereas a person from a Catholic tradition might be more inclined to bring questions about Scripture to a priest who has studied the context of the Scripture and theology, there is the prevalent belief among Protestants that one can understand the complexities of Scripture on one’s own. As Glenn Paauw and Paul Caminiti explain on the ChurchLeaders Podcast, the very structure of our modern print Bibles changes the way we understand Scripture. Indeed, even the practice of reading Scripture by one’s self, without the feedback of a group or community, can be problematic.
As we reflect on the inheritance we have, given by Luther, I hope we can use his example to inspire action. May we constantly ask ourselves: What needs reforming—both in my own life and in my faith tradition?