Reformations & Touchstone Diplomacy by S. M. Hutchens
Some years ago I was in Geneva on Reformation Sunday and took the opportunity to attend services at the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, the adopted home church of John Calvin, and one of the focal points of the Reformation. The sermon was neatly crafted and celebrated what the occasion called for, not by criticizing anything distinctly Roman, but by making the Reformation a major event in the ongoing work of overthrowing regressive ideas and attitudes that is ever at the true heart of Christianity.
It was my impression that the Genevois, having at present greater spiritual affinity with their native son Rousseau than with the cross-grained reformer from Noyon, have made the best of the Reformation by yoking them together in the struggle for liberation from the forces of reaction and repression. I left that imposing sanctuary—after a performance of some doubtlessly regressive medieval polyphony by an excellent ensemble from the local Salvation Army—thinking of the finger-wagging admonition I had received back in Chicago by an official of the United Presbyterian Church USA. He had told me without blushing that Presbyterians who still held to the Westminster Confession were untrue to their tradition because Ecclesia Reformata semper reformanda, which in this context has a number of interesting possible translations, such as, "The Reformed Church has no form," or perhaps, "You can't step into the same Reformed Church twice." My buddies among the confessional Presbyterians, though, say that it ain't so.
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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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