Over 250 prominent scholars, pastors, and church leaders from around the world released on Tuesday a theological statement affirming the essentials of the Reformation. And its Protestant authors contend that in this 500th anniversary year, the document is a “catholic” statement in its best sense.
The Reforming Catholic Confession is a document which outlines the main theological commitments held by a wide breadth of Protestant Christians, including evangelicals, since the Reformation. The purpose of such a statement is to demonstrate the remarkable togetherness that exists throughout the world among Protestants on the core elements of Christianity, said Jerry Walls, an author and professor of philosophy at Houston Baptist University.
Despite how some Roman Catholics fasten the divisions within Protestantism as a case against it, including the joking about there being 33,000 different denominations — as if the entire legacy of the Reformation is endless religious splintering — the Confession showcases the extensive agreement on the substance of the historic Christian faith, Walls told The Christian Post.
The statement’s signatories include a sizable list of biblical heavyweights who hail from a variety of traditions. Over 110 Christian institutions, over 30 of which are international, are represented.
“I just got the idea that one of the best ways we could actually commemorate the Reformation, and remind people of what really lay behind it and what motivated the Reformers was to come up with a confession of faith that represented the substantial unity among the heirs of the Reformation,” Walls said.
He summarily wrote to several biblical scholars and theologians about the idea, all of whom responded favorably, including Kevin Vanhoozer, a professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and author of Biblical Authority After Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity.
As Walls, who is Wesleyan, and Vanhoozer, who is Reformed, began working together and continued reaching out to even more people across the denominational spectrum to join them, the momentum for the project only increased and a palpable excitement was afoot.
“What I really started to sense was that this thing could really be significant,” Walls said. “It was just beautiful to see Pentecostals and Lutherans working together to find common language.”
SOURCE: Brandon Showalter