In the conventional history of Christianity, first their were Catholics and then there were Protestants. The Protestants are just now giving way, but whether they have surrendered to the Humanists or to the Emergents we cannot yet say. However, the conventional history ignores the Greek Orthodox, fails to consider the indefinable rabble of Christianity before it got organized, and won’t speak of the protestants who failed to join the Reformation.
I wander in that murky post-Protestant fog. One notable has even called it “Beyond Evangelical.” As we exclaim over the dawn of a new age in church history, it is worth noting that this day dawns like any other. The sun still rises in the east. There is not as much new here as we have sometimes heard told. Of course some are quite explicit in calling for a return to history, to the primitive church or the New Testament church; or if you like, the ekklesia. I have suggested as much myself.
Lately, though, and more and more, I find myself distrusting any call to “return.” We are supposed to revive the true church; the longer I think on what the church truly is, the more this amounts to resurrecting Jesus. If Jesus is dead and we have the means to resurrect him, sure it would be swell to do so. But it would not be Christianity, would it?
The longer I contemplate the church the more I reach for an understanding of the church that lasts through all ages–every year and every hour of history. And this leads me, gradually, to resisting the reforms everyone everywhere is calling for. That which they would reform is not the church.
Would you reform the church? Would you reestablish Israel? Would you recapture Eden? Would you resurrect Jesus? You seek to supplant God. Turn away, for God will break your tower and confuse your words.