About five years after the Berlin wall came down and the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe had mostly fallen or been transmuted into something rather different, I had the privilege of speaking at a conference for pastors in one of those formerly eastern-bloc countries. The numbers were not large. Most interesting was the way this group of men reflected a natural breakdown.
Some years ago I was asked what I thought of those whose teaching undermined the Reformation position on justification by grace through faith. While I have no recollection of this, I am reliably informed that my answer was ‘I despise them; for that doctrine is often the only thing that gives me the strength to get out of bed in the morning.’. . .
Is the Reformation over? At first blush, this question would appear to be a rather peculiar one to ask. Of course the Reformation is over—if by that term we mean the particular constellation of religious, political, and social events in sixteenth-century Europe that led to the division of Western Christendom and the renewal of early modern Christianity. In recent years, however, the question “Is the Reformation over?” has served as a placeholder for a different set of issues, addressing the nature of contemporary Roman Catholicism and its relation to historic Protestantism.
Scholars continue to discuss and debate the scope of the biblical canon. At the heart of the dis- cussion is the nature of canonicity, including a vital philosophical division between those who believe that the canon is a community-determined construction and those who believe that the canon is divinely appointed and thus merely recognized, but not determined, by any given community.
The relatively recent interest among evangelicals in engaging ancient Christian tradition is without question a welcome development. However, unlike earlier voices that valued the early post-apostolic church’s theologizing within the context of the reformation’s sola scriptura hermeneutic, recent voices appear to assign categories like necessity and normatively to a “patristic hermeneutic.”
Listening to or reading the reflections of others on preaching is, for most preachers, inherently interesting and stimulating (whether positively or negatively). These reflections then are offered in the spirit of the Golden rule and only because the Editor is a long-standing friend!