What Protestantism Needs to Save itself

Gregory I became pope in 590 and effected grea...
Image via Wikipedia

This past weekend, we saw a bunch of post-protestant/evangelicals who are more appropriately called the Third Wave, neo-pentecostal, dominionists, etc… hold a meeting called The Response. Recently, we have seen Evangelicals flock to people such as Glenn Beck who was given a national, prophetic, stage and heralded as ‘saved!’

On the horizon is the Kingdom Theology, in which we are coming to realize what it means to be apart of God’s Kingdom. So, that got me to thinking about what Protestants need in order to save itself from abhorrent and heretical theologies, neo-Messiahs, and the like wherein every wind of doctrine moves them to this or that point.

Christ is our King, but it seems that many of us live pretty close to the edges of that Kingdom, near the border areas which prevents us from attack by the monsters who hide in the Forests of Paganism, but allows us some measure of independence because, after all, the King is far, far away. So, this is what I am thinking. We need a representative of the King, on earth, where we are.

Now, this King needs to help us pull our theology out of the disease-causing muck and mire like Bishop Gregory the Great did for the City of Rome. He and the Church there saved the city, and indeed, one would argue, Western Civilization, from peril. He revitalized the priesthood and the drama of worship. He was well deserving of this title applied to him by history. We need a figure such as he would be willing to flush out the idols of bad theology, such as that which has given rise to the Response, and cause Protestants to realize that they are Christians first, and only divided by whatever potentate’s imaginary lines are drawn around their neighbor..that there is no such thing as a “Christian nation” who doesn’t have Christ as its King. I imagine that over time, this figure would become a great father figure, and one who is given charge for all the bad things that will happen in the church, but in the end, history will judge this “slow moving” person as worthy of honor due to his ability to stave off the ebbs and flows of history which has caused us get to this point in Protestant theology. No doubt, theology will change over time, with new scholarship and moves of the Spirit to increase our understanding, but this representative of Christ on Earth will be able to withstand it, fighting it as Jacob did, until just the last moment, when all things have been proved true, and all things of the past have been purged. That’s when change needs to occur, not like Protestant theology today, which seemingly changes with a new Christian book makes its way to the number one spot in book sales. And no doubt, that this representative could hold the various groups of Protestants, orders or schools we might call them then, together without the constant mudslinging and infighting currently in Protestantism.

I think that’s what Protestantism needs, an vicar of Christ the  King on Earth, sitting on the Chair of an Apostle… we can worry about the title later I guess. But, most importantly, like a shepherd and a father, he has to protect us from the inane theologies which spring up every other day.


Enhanced by Zemanta
Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

14 thoughts on “What Protestantism Needs to Save itself

  1. Joel, do you have any suggestions for a Protestant Vicar of Christ? Michael Kinnaman is General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, but that won’t go too far with evangelicals. No Billy Graham’s in the waiting either.

    I surely don’t want the job!!

  2. I think nowadays the difficulty would come in organizing a body of doctrine that everbody could agree on as definitive of Protestantism – which in itself seems to be a very fluid term….

  3. I should note here that as a Disciple, we’re fairly non-creedal, and don’t like anyone, sort of, telling us what to do. Of course, Kinnaman is a Disciple, as is Dick Hamm, Executive Director of Christian Churches Together.

    But ultimately who would want such a job?

    1. Glenn, I guess we’ll need a college of cardinals. But if so, then who choses them. The Pope chooses his, who then choose the Pope.

      I’d be a cardinal, never the Protestant pope.

      Of course, for many the Bible is the Protestant Pope, speaking infallibly, sort of, until you get to the issue of interpretation.

Leave a Reply, Please!