Caleb and Parson Howe suspect that I am either embracing a lowest common denominator Christianity or crossing the Tiber completely and embracing Rome.
They have misunderstood my intention. I remain a Protestant of the dappled and speckled variety and have no interest in Mc-Christianity or Wal-Church.
So what’s with all the Rome love? My intent is not to water down our theology but to help define who are friends our. My thesis is simple: Geneva is closer to Rome than it is to Wheaton (or Colorado Springs, or where ever the epicenter of evangelicalism is found).
First, it has always been my contention that the Reformed Church was part of the catholic church, not a pottage of squabbling sectarians. I have held this position despite all experience to the contrary (but that is a different matter). If Reformed and catholic are two different things, I would prefer the latter description for myself.
Despite my belief in the catholicity of the Reformed branch of Christendom, it appears to me that the Reformed churches are farther removed from historic catholic orthodoxy than they were in the days of Bucer and Calvin. We are more tribal than ever.
On the other side of the coin, when we start talking ecumenicalism, we start talking about evangelicalism. It’s too bad. Evangelicalism is a sad story. A-historical, anti-traditional, generally silly, evangelicalism will, in the long run, either return to more historical forms of the faith or will descend into liberalism. The Reformed churches have an uneasy relationship with evangelicalism. Darryl Hart and others press the thesis that the Reformed are NOT evangelicals. Protests to the contrary, the experience proves that the Reformed churches ARE a branch of conservative evangelism and this is a lamentable historical development.
Not that there have not been attempts to strengthen Reformed roots in greater evangelical soils. A century ago John Williamson Nevin and his partner in crime, Phillip Schaff were about the work. In our own day we find the Federal Vision trying to scratch the itch. Hartian High Church Presbyterianism is scratching the same red spot. I am not sure that either have found the balm that will solve the problem. An honest dialogue with other branches of historic, traditionalist orthodoxy may be useful.
I have not left Geneva… but I can see Rome from my front porch. It does not exactly look like home but it does seem familiar. Wheaton seems a bridge to far.