1. In the year we remember the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the great schism that gave birth to our vision of Christianity, some United Methodists are fighting tooth and nail to maintain the status quo.
2. As children of the reformation, our reluctance to consider schism (regardless of your theological perspective), seems disingenuous. Our ancestry.com results are conclusive: we are schismatics.
3. Protestantism is the product of painful division. It’s who we are. We’re not above it, too good for it, or beyond it. It’s in our DNA.
4. Perhaps, every 500 to 1000 years, it’s time for Reformation. It’s happened before. It will happen again. Why should history stop with our own generation? No one now believes Francis Fukyama was correct with the grand pronoucements about the “End of History” following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Why is the church immune from what’s happening to the rest of society? It’s not. To believe any different is the height of arrogance. Instead of saving us, it may mark our downfall.
5. United Methodists are as related to Martin Luther as to John Wesley. Both men were schismatic revolutionaries. Wesley’s writings, while calling for unity, led to the greatest rupture in the Church of England since the English Civil War. Words are one thing; actions are another. You can’t call for unity in print and do everything in practice to start a new movement.
6. Reformation is great; as long as you’re reading about it in church history books. (Or a tourist in Wittenberg or Oxford.)
7. When Reformation becomes a real possibility and sources of ecclesiastical power are threatened, you’d be surprised the lengths the church will go to shut down debate, name so-called heretics, and reclaim its authority.
8. Reformation is not a conservative or liberal issue. It’s a holistic call for systemic denominational change.
9. Neither Martin Luther nor John Wesley sought centrism within Catholicism or Anglicanism. They created their own path. Europe’s not 100% Roman Catholic. Methodism is alive in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Had either man been a centrist, I’d be an Anglican, America would still be British, and Angela Merkel would still be a Communist Chemist in a formerly Catholic country.