Medieval Roman Catholicism and the Evangelical Church

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Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
A recent thread cited a blog article by a FV advocate which sought to compare (by grasping at straws) modern Presbyterian worship with Medieval Roman Catholic worship. While that post was very weak in its argument, the article cited below actually makes a strong case for similarities between Medieval Roman Catholicism and modern Evangelicalism. It was written in 2002 and is by Sinclair Ferguson, so you know it's not FV! :lol:

I blog about it here.

I stumbled across this article by Sinclair Ferguson, where he warns about certain tendencies in the modern evangelical church that are remarkably reminiscent to the Medieval Roman Catholic Church. He writes:

...[W]e face the alarming possibility that there may already be a medieval darkness encroaching upon evangelicalism. Can we not detect, at least as a tendency, dynamics within evangelicalism which bear resemblances to the life of the medieval church? The possibility of a new Babylonian or (more accurately, following Luther) the Pagan Captivity of the Church looms nearer than we may be able to believe.

Dr. Ferguson then lists five reasons for this comparison:

  • Repentance -- "Repentance has increasingly been seen as a single act, severed from a life-long restoration of godliness."
  • Mysticism -- "The canon for Christian living has increasingly been sought in a 'Spirit-inspired' living voice within the church rather than in the Spirit's voice heard in Scripture."
  • Sacred Powers -- "Special sanctity is no longer confirmed by the beauty of the fruit of the Spirit, but with signs which are predominantly physical. What we ought to find alarming about contemporary evangelicalism is the extent to which we are impressed by performance rather than piety."
  • Spectators -- "The worship of God is increasingly presented as a spectator event of visual and sensory power, rather than a verbal event in which we engage in a deep soul dialogue with the Triune God. The mood of contemporary evangelicalism is to focus on the centrality of what 'happens' in the spectacle of worship rather than on what is heard in worship."
  • Bigger Means Better -- "The success of ministry is measured by crowds and cathedrals rather than by the preaching of the cross and the quality of Christians' lives."
Ferguson goes into greater detail in the article. It is short and well worth the time to read. We should all be wary and heed the warning.
 

Grillsy

Puritan Board Junior
Thanks for pointing us to this. Ferguson's connection is not hard to see. Sadly, most modern evangelicals are ignorant of history as well as theology and will likely not see just how similar their darkness is to that of the Medieval Romanist.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Finding such a comparison isn't hard to conceive of. The reason there are so many similarities is because man-centered religion will tend to have things like that in common. Different eras will have them manifest themselves in different ways, but when our hearts are far from God, this is the sort of result.
 

Grillsy

Puritan Board Junior
It is even more interesting if you read the history of worship and song in the Medieval Church. We read of composers using extrabiblical and worldly means in order to excite the listener's or build their own reputation.
Of course, we already know how practiced the teaching of true and meaty theology was in Medieval times...it was non-existent save for a select few.
 
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