Monday, 30 November 2009

A History of Christianity

I've been fascinated by Diarmaid MacCulloch's majesterial TV series 'A History of Christianity'. It is very much his own 'take' on the historyof the faith and one that not all would agree with. Nevertheless, he has explored some areas that are usually overlooked in western Christianity, such as the expansion of the eastern church into China in the 7th century, long before Marco Polo and later Jesuit missionaries.

In the latest episode about the Reformation he made a very interesting point about the nature of protestantism being one which questions authority, and in that questioning are the seeds of protestantism's fracture into many different groups. It made me think about the way protestant Christians think about and debate contentious issues such as human sexuality. It is hardly surprising that, given protestantism's questioning character and background that there are many different views all claiming some authority - whether of the bible or modern reason.

Which is better - to be part of a monolithic church that stifles individual thought, or to be part of a church that is divided? It's not easy, but I suppose God has given us enough wisdom and the gift of his Holy Spirit to know when to agree and when to differ, and how to carry on together. I, for one, would rather live with a few grey areas than be in a church that tries to be so black-and-white that it becomes yet another protestant sect.

No comments: