Protestant Reformation or Revolt?


#1

Title speaks for itself, tell what you honestly think, but with alot of charity brothers and sister. I’ll respond alittle later. :smiley:


#2

[quote=Cephas]Title speaks for itself, tell what you honestly think, but with alot of charity brothers and sister. I’ll respond alittle later. :smiley:
[/quote]

Revolt


#3

Obviously it depends on what side of the divide you are on. When I was in Catholic school the schism was referred to in no uncertain terms as the “Protestant Revolt.” When I later went to a public high school, it was referred to as the “Protestant Reformation.” Words do not exist in a vacuum, nor are the ever really neutral, hence the word “reformation” predisposes some sort of positive remedy to a previously bad situation. On the other hand, the word “revolt” suggests a break with the correctly ordained norms. The Protestant Revolt is really the more accurate term,even though history books (which represent a secular humanist perspective) uncritically use the word “reform.” But what did the Protestant split (I’ll try that supposedly neutral term) unleashed forces that profoundly affect the Western worldview. It brought to the fore the moral relativism that shapes and informs the Western worldview. No longer is truth seen as objective and revealed. Instead it is subjective, with our conscience seen as the supreme arbiter of truth. The Protestant worldview references the self as the interpreter of God’s will; thus leading to the various interpretations of God’s will which the many Protestant ecclesial communities represent. During the actual split, no one, even Luther himself could see the ramifications, but they continue to reverberate to this day…If it were a reformation, then the result would have been limited to addressing the abusive practices that has crept into the Church. But the Protestant split is more actually a revolt because it reinterpreted the Deposit of Faith, it tampered with doctrine, decided that it had the right to change doctrine, decided that 1500 years worth of Catholic teaching was in essence incorrect…Such actions cannot correctly be called a reform…Doctrine cannot be reformed…the Deposit of Faith cannot be reformed, only handed on…Because of the Protestant Revolt,we see that truth has now become fractured…that is not what Jesus intended…so it seems as though if we were to honestly and objectively with hindsight look over the last 400 years, the split would have to be termed the Prostestant Revolt…I would even go so far as to say the Protestant heresy because it contains many heretical elements…if we were back in the early Church they the Church fathers would have unequivocally called a spade a spade…but in this age of political correctness (a term invented by the devil)…terming it the Protestant heresy would cause much weeping and gnashing of teeth…


#4

Tim Enloe has done some excellent analysis of that question from the Protestant perspective at www.societaschristiana.com. The series “Protestantism and the Historic Episcopate” is particularly relevant. Suffice it to say that the Protestants of the time did not see themselves as particularly revolutionary. They thought that their action was legally justified according to the norms of natural law.


#5

I just refer to it as the Protestant Schism.


#6

Reformation :thumbsup:


#7

I see it more as an attempt to overthrow authority, hence, Revolt.


#8

Definitely a Revolt. Reforms are effected under legitimate authority. Revolts are an attempt to throw off authority. Hence, Luther and his ilk, rejecting the legitimate authority of the Church as established by Christ and erecting in it’s place themselves as authority (based on their misguided interpretation of Scripture) effected a Revolt. Call it what it is based on the actual meaning of the word(s), not what we want it to mean.


#9

Reforms are effected under legitimate authority.

FWIW, they thought that they were acting under their legitmate authority to resist tyranny.


#10

JPrejean,

A “reformation” cannot reform the organization that it rejects. The Church throughout history has needed reformation from time to time (I’d say we were in such a period now). Actually, it will always need reformation as long as humans are in it. Previous reform movements were within the Church and thus did not fracture objective truth as a result. The “Reformation” led to the relativising (is that a word?!) of truth. The result: Protestants can’t agree on essential matters of faith such as salvation. I had an e-mail exchange with a non-denominational Evangelical who believed there was no hell—and by what authority does another Protestant tell her she’s wrong? She says that that is her understanding of Scripture, so saying that her understanding of Scripture is wrong doesn’t cut it, as Scripture is her sole source of truth.

The “reformation” was a revolt against authority. Something Adam and Eve knew something about as well…


#11

I do believe that “Protestant Schism” is more appropriate than “Reformation.” As one priest once told me, the split of the Catholic Church from the Eastern Orthodox churches would never be termed a “Reformation.” They did not reform the Church directly but rather formed their own “churches.”

However, as the Catechism states, the rebellion of the original Protestants cannot be imputed to the Protestants living today. They were born and raised in those churches, and they have not necessarily had a reason to think that they need to be Catholic. Therefore, I would be careful of using the language of rebellion around them.

David


#12

Sherlock:
My assessment is also that it was revolutionary, but they didn’t set out to reject the Church itself. They honestly thought that conciliar government was the ordained structure of governance for the Church, and that the Pope had gone far beyond the authority that he was given in the early Church. That’s why I have a tough time calling it a “revolt.” They thought they had a right to ask for a general council, and that the Pope was tyrannically denying them that right. But the wholesale rejection of the priesthood is where I think it crossed the line into revolution.


#13

[quote=JPrejean]FWIW, they thought that they were acting under their legitmate authority to resist tyranny.
[/quote]

One does not establish their OWN authority.* Legitmate * authority is always granted, never created or grabbed.

There is no evidence that early “Reformers” (i.e. Luther and Calvin) were interested in any form of “conciliar government” as you assert. After setting up their own “churches” they brooked no dissent or alternative opinions. Calvin’s Geneva was a virtual dictatorship with those who disagreed with Calvin occasionally burned at the stake, Calvin himself sometimes lighting the bonfire.


#14

There is no evidence that early “Reformers” (i.e. Luther and Calvin) were interested in any form of “conciliar government” as you assert. After setting up their own “churches” they brooked no dissent or alternative opinions.

The latter, combined with the Reformers’ utter distrust of Catholics and refusal to accept the councils that were proposed, is why I think that the Reformation ended up being revolutionary. But the former is simply untrue. In fact, the notion that the Reformers were conciliarists is nearly undebated among medieval historians. Whether they were right to be conciliarists is another question entirely.


#15

There have been Saints that have done reforms. Luther could have been a great Saint…because he had the right to be angry at what his Church had turned into at that time…but he should have trusted Matthew 16:18-19


#16

Reformers were people like Francis of Assis, St. Clare, Teresa of Avila, and others. Reformers often start new religious orders, not new religions.

JimG


#17

Korah’s rebellion continues.

Diotrepehes would be proud of the protestants.

One does not save the marriage by getting a divorce, and one does not reform the church by schisming from it.


#18

[quote=Christopher]There have been Saints that have done reforms. Luther could have been a great Saint…because he had the right to be angry at what his Church had turned into at that time…but he should have trusted Matthew 16:18-19
[/quote]

Luther could not have been a great Saint because his attempts at reform were not done through the proper channels. For sixteen centuries, the Church had reformed herself through monastic reform and papal reform. He bypassed both reform methods which indicates that he really wasn’t interested in that kind of reform. He posted the 95 Theses as an attempt at discussion, but why would discussion be needed if all he was attacking was corruption in the Church? Furthermore, some of his most ardent opponents such as Erasmus and St. Thomas More had been mocking clerical corruption for years before Luther came on the scene. Luther was not about reforming clerical corruption or else they would have supported him rather than rejected him. His “reforms” were theological which means that he separated himself from the truth of the Church which means he could not have become a Saint unless he repented of his errors (which did not happen…in fact he got more radical as time went on).


#19

I almost forgot…

There’s also a problem with comparing the Protestant Reformation/Revolt with the Eastern Orthodox schism. The orthodox church did not reject the authority of the church, they just thought (and still think) that the authority of St. Peter was transferred from the patriarch of Rome to the patriarch of Constantinople because of the transfer of political power and the role Constantine played in elevating the Church’s status. The second problem is that the split with the orthodox was primarily cultural and had been building for a long time. Also, there is the problem that the Catholic Church does not recognize any Protestant sacrament except baptism (provided they use the proper formula) while she accepts all seven eastern orthodox sacraments.

In the end, I would say that it was a revolt. It could not have been a reformation because it was not done within the authority of the Church AND her authority was all together rejected. I would say it was more of a revolt than a schism because of Protestantism’s tendancy toward heresy.


#20

It was revolting!

In every country where Protestantism took root (except England) it did so by force usually through a political/social revolution. Often Protestantism meant a rejection of Church authority and an accepting of state authority (usually under the guise of individual “freedom” of conscience, and the “right” to interpret the Bible individually).

Read the books The Trouble with Democracy, The Conservative Mind (esp. the chapter on O. Brown), and The Quest for Community for more insight into these matters.

As Frank Herbert said, “Show me a liberal and I’ll show you a closet aristocrat.”


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