Reformed Catholicism, Authority, and Unity

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Peter Leithart continues to write about the need for unity in the church. His latest work, which I have not read, is titled The End of Protestantism.  There have been numerous blog posts with more on the way about this push for unity.  Douglas Wilson has written several posts. Derek Rishmawy has also written one trying to work out some of the practicalities of Leithart’s vision.  Eric Hutchinson asked a basic question: Is institutional unity necessary or desirable? And of course, the indefatigable Leithart continues to write posts as well. As a pastor in the CREC where Leithart makes his home and has tremendous influence, I have tried to keep up over the years on the debates and discussions.

I always learn from Leithart and find his way of writing, his learning, and his insight valuable. However, there are some problems with his ecumenical project. This post is in response to one portion  of Leithart’s “wish-list” for Protestant churches, which you can find it here.  I also read his older post, which contains some of his basic desires for the Protestant Church moving forward. I encourage you to read his list or open it in another tab as you follow along.

Typical of Leithart much of what he says is excellent, including the encouragement to sing Psalms, weekly communion, pray for other churches and denominations, reform church music, and include children in the sacraments and worship.  A couple other points need more explanation. For example, he wants churches to give up “treasured tribal slogans and symbols for the sake of unity.” I am not sure what he means here. What is a “treasured tribal slogan?”  His points about seminaries following Scripture, preachers teaching the whole Bible, and faith without works probably contain some truth. But my guess is that conservative seminaries and pastors believe they already do those things. He would need to explain those points more for them to challenge the status quo.  My focus in this post will be his points about church discipline and his final point about one body.  Here are those points in order. Continue reading