We launch Modern Reformation in 2013 by posing a provocative question, especially for a magazine with a name like ours! Is the Protestant Reformation over? We certainly don't think so, but it is crucial to take stock from time to time in order to discern whether it is still necessary to keep up a genuinely Protestant protest against the encroachment of Roman Catholic theology even within evangelicalism. The question isn't merely self-reflective, as Adriane Dorr, editor of The Lutheran Witness, reports; there are a number of highly aggressive Roman apologists who are bringing the fight to evangelicals, especially on the Internet. Some are reviving the label "Rambo Catholics" for their hard-nosed tactics.
In the past, we have devoted a great deal of energy to the controversy over the gospel itself, understood in terms of the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone. We continue to think that this is the crucial article of faith on which the church literally depends as the bride of Christ. But the solas of the Reformation are all interrelated, as Martin Luther knew so well. This is why Luther's challenge of the practice of indulgences (a practice still alive and well in 2013) was at the same time an attack on the Roman papacy itself and a defense of the view that Scripture alone is the ultimate authority able to bind men's consciences before God. "Is the Reformation Over?" is our way of asking this authority question. Does Rome still maintain the very same teachings that Protestant Christians since the sixteenth century have recognized as profoundly unbiblical?
In feature articles by Editor-in-Chief Michael Horton, together with W. Robert Godfrey (president of Westminster Seminary California) and Tom Wenger (associate pastor at the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Annapolis), we consider Rome's claims about the authority of the pope along with other teachings in light of Scripture and history. To set the stage, we present an interview with leading evangelical scholar Mark Noll, professor of history at Notre Dame, along with a number of important book review articles.
There is nothing more critical than a solid grounding in the basics of the faith in order to distinguish biblical truth from manmade religion. So also in this issue, Michael Horton compares the old Heidelberg Catechism with the New City Catechism, an instructional venture undertaken by Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. Further, and as an expression of our desire to help you know what you believe, Orthodox Presbyterian minister Zach Keele offers the first in a series of reflections on the big-picture story of the Bible.
Some may be ready to throw in the towel, but in this important issue we want to help you understand what is at stake today in the ongoing Reformation debate over the authority of Scripture. We have two choices, Adriane Door insists, either pretend that the Roman Catholic threat isn't on the rise, to our own peril, or "confess the faith even more robustly." We hope you join us in encouraging our churches to do the latter in 2013.
Ryan Glomsrud (D.Phil., University of Oxford) is Executive Editor for Modern Reformation and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the History Department at Harvard University. He earned his M.A. in Historical Theology from Westminster Seminary California and B.A. from Wheaton College, Illinois.
Issue: "Is the Reformation Over" Jan./Feb. 2013 Vol. 22 No. 1 Page number(s): 4
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