In his column of April 13, Cal Thomas, a spokesman for what some like to imagine is uncorrupted Christianity, lamented the rash of newspaper and magazine articles that turn up every year at Christmas and Easter calling this or that Christian doctrine into question. He asks: What is responsible for all this skepticism and outright denial of the biblical record? Well, how about the endless and insoluble disputes among Christians themselves over the interpretation of that record?
You name it, virtually any doctrine proclaimed by one church as true is proclaimed by another as false: the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, damnation, the necessity of good works for salvation, the papacy, the veneration of Mary, the total depravity of mankind, the penal substitutionary atonement, indulgences, the rapture, supernatural merit, purgatory and so on. I’d call such profound disunity ample reason for skepticism and even disbelief.
Five hundred years ago, John Calvin, one of the fathers of Protestantism, addressed these words to his fellow reformers in exasperation: “It is indescribably ridiculous that we, who are in opposition to the whole world, should be, at the very beginning of the reformation, at issue among ourselves.” Indescribably ridiculous? He hadn’t seen anything; in our day, Christian groups number in the tens of thousands, all of them claiming fidelity to “the Word of God.”
So much for the Apostle Paul’s dictate that there be no divisions among believers (1 Corinthians 1:10) since there is only one faith (Ephesians 4:5).
William LaRochelle, Lewiston