Hey, JarrodFirst, I'd like to make a disclaimer: I'm not saying that all of them were actually brothers in Christ. Many of them (maybe most) weren't. I tend to find some grace in my heart towards the Pelagians, Montanists, Adoptionists, and Ebionites, though.
Think about it: How come no one before Luther challenged the authority of the church? Now, they fought to determine church doctrine (especially in the eraMy friend, many many people have challenged the authority of the church throughout its history, from its very inception. You simply don't hear much about them because by and large they have been re-labeled in such a way as to exclude them from the ranks of those who were actually brothers in Christ.
of the ecumenical councils) and who should lead the church but they never denied the church.
Your assumption that those the church deemed heretics were in fact brothers in Christ actually supports my contention that these guys contended to be the leaders of the church. They did not say "you go your way and I'll go mine" It was important that the church not be divided. Luther introduces that idea that some of our guys and some of your guys are in same church, but let's accept separate authorities. I probably wasn't very clear.
Second, I seriously doubt that Luther, or any other Reformer before just this last century ever said, "you go your way and I'll go mine" with the thought that-that would be an acceptable situation. This is why Protestant churches evangelize Catholic countries, and vice versa. Wars were fought over this before...I'm not sure how it suddenly just became ok.
Yeah, Jarrod, you're right. Points well taken.
To the best of my knowledge, Luther introduced no such concept that it would be ok for us both to be the church but recognize different authoritiative hierarchies. He simply threw out the existing authority altogether due to its abuses. That leaves (in theory at least) a gaping hole, which he (rather unsuccesfully IMO) tried to fill with the idea of the Bible as the authority.
I agree with your correction and your last sentence (especially!).
That is, He has not imagined it as multiple valid authorities, as you suggest, but rather as no valid authorities, save God.
I don't think he really developed a practical way of running the church. By re-defining the church as the "invisible" church, I guess he really didn't feel that he had to. I guess my thinking was by default, there must be multiple authorities.
I don't think you've quite understood Luther, or Protestantism anyway.
Uh-oh, you struck an emotional chord here. After being indoctrinated in what I thought was
Protestantism (although it was usually called "Christianity"), I found P leaders kept on changing the bar on me. Example: I thought sole fide (faith alone) was believed by all Protestants. When I was questioning Protestantism, pastors/ministers said, "Oh, that's not really what we believe. Where did you get that idea?" (Being a convert to P-ism, I was an easy target.)
The one thing that all Protestants agree on was Sola Scriptura. But even there, as you imply above, some groups really support it to remove all human authority in the church.
The problems with this are many: the scriptures themselves support spiritual authorities, sola scriptura is not really supported by the Scriptures, and the scriptures must be interpreted by spiritual authorities.
Perhaps you are right, maybe I don't understand Luther or Protestantism, but, if that is true, no one does. Not that I'm an expert, but I know more than most laymen know. A minister steeped in theology may agree with me that Protestants support sole fide, but my ex-pastor would still have to say "No, we don't."
I know (or knew - I've kind of forgotten them by now) the basic doctrines of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. I know (knew) what Arminianism is. Most of my Protestant friends don't, nor do they wish to.
So, I think what defines what a Protestant believes depends on who you ask. That's a faith? But this is what you get when you don't have any spiritual authorities, no councils to decide things, and only a text that not written like a manual to guide one.