Thursday, October 31, 2013

Stanley Hauerwas on the Problem of Protestantism

Duke Divinity School theologian Stanley Hauerwas is a Protestant, but he does not like having to preach on Reformation Sunday because, as he puts it, "it does not name a happy event for the Church Catholic; on the contrary, it names failure."  Here is a taste of his sermon:

Reformation names the disunity in which we currently stand. We who remain in the Protestant tradition want to say that Reformation was a success. But when we make Reformation a success, it only ends up killing us. After all, the very name ‘Protestantism’ is meant to denote a reform movement of protest within the Church Catholic. When Protestantism becomes an end in itself, which it certainly has through the mainstream denominations in America, it becomes anathema. If we no longer have broken hearts at the church’s division, then we cannot help but unfaithfully celebrate Reformation Sunday.