The great evangelical divorce: continuing the conversation

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David Gushee in his office at Mercer University in Atlanta. Photo by Alice Horner.

David Gushee in his office at Mercer University in Atlanta. Photo by Alice Horner.

David Gushee in his office at Mercer University. Photo by Alice Horner.

David Gushee in his office at Mercer University. Photo by Alice Horner.

My post last Friday suggesting that conservative and progressive evangelicals are genuinely different religious communities and need to separate struck a chord. I was especially impressed by the searching and (almost entirely) respectful quality of the responses from people in various camps. Here is my follow up.


READ: “Conservative and progressive US evangelicals head for divorce”


Q: You say that conservative and progressive evangelicals “rarely” cooperate and are “headed for” divorce. But they never cooperate and are already divorced.

A: No, there are still a few occasions when evangelicals across the spectrum cooperate. One signal example was the work of the Evangelical Immigration Table, which sought comprehensive immigration reform and brought together a very broad spectrum of evangelical leaders. Also there are numerous institutional settings in which conservative and progressive evangelicals work and worship with each other and have to cooperate whether they enjoy it or not.

Q: You say that there used to be an evangelical center but it has collapsed. On the contrary, it is still there in the Gospel core of our shared faith and just needs to be protected from politics.

A: Yes, the Gospel message ought to be a broad enough platform for shared life in Christian community. And yes, worldly politics has been allowed (disastrously) to infect Christianity. But still, I am not sure the two sides of the evangelical world actually share the same Gospel, at least in terms of what each side emphasizes. Progressive evangelicals tend toward a Radical Reformation type Gospel centered on the justice-advancing ministry and teachings of Jesus, and on his message of the kingdom of God as holistic salvation and social transformation (see Stassen/Gushee, Kingdom Ethics). Conservative evangelicals mainly lean toward a Calvinist/Lutheran Gospel centered on Christ’s work on the Cross for the saving of souls, on biblical inerrancy and pure doctrine, and on conservative social values. Of course, even these different Gospels (and there are other variants) should not make cooperation impossible, but the differences are quite profound.

Q: My long-time conservative evangelical sparring partner Mark Tooley asks “How would separation look? Could avowedly liberal evangelical institutions survive financially?”

A: In many settings, separation probably looks like one side wins and the other side leaves. (Sadly.) If progressive evangelicals keep losing institutional battles, they will mainly be the ones to leave. New initiatives and organizations will develop, such as Red Letter Christians and the OPEN Network. New congregations will be planted by and for progressive evangelicals. I foresee partnerships or mergers with mainline Protestant bodies. Some Christian colleges and seminaries may come under progressive evangelical leadership, in which case the conservative evangelicals will probably leave.

Q: Are the divisions you are describing among evangelicals the same as those found in the historic mainline Protestant denominations?

A: Not exactly. My experience with the mainline Protestants suggests that there are not two but three very distinct groups: conservative evangelicals, progressive evangelicals, and what I call “sure nuff liberals.” Conservative evangelicals often appear to be unwilling to grant that there is any difference between the latter two groups. But “sure nuff liberals” are different from progressive evangelicals. I am referring to people like those in a mainline Protestant Sunday School class I once visited who laughed contemptuously at the idea that any modern Christian could believe in the Virgin Birth. That theology (and attitude) simply is not found in progressive evangelicalism, which makes it different from the liberal modernism that conservative evangelicals so despise. So there is a tripartite division in the mainline that makes the inevitable schism harder, messier, and more confusing.

Q: I wish you wouldn’t say that an evangelical divorce is inevitable, because some of us are out here in the trenches trying to keep the sides together.

A: I get that concern. Besides denominations that contain both parties, there are numerous congregations in the same boat. And the evangelical colleges (like Wheaton) and campus ministries (like Intervarsity Christian Fellowship) are in an exceptionally tough spot. Sizable and powerful conservative, progressive, and maybe even centrist evangelical blocs try to coexist there on a daily basis. I pray for the success of these mixed communities in maintaining Christian unity. But there is a downside to this effort — sometimes it involves trying so hard to avoid controversy that the congregation, denomination, parachurch organization, or college is reduced to paralyzed silence, vague platitudes, and a constant effort not to talk about critical issues (and suffering people) that really demand reflection and response.

Q: Why do the media write as if all “evangelicals” fall into the “conservative evangelical” group?

A: I think this is indeed a major problem, and it is helping to drive many progressive evangelicals to abandon the label altogether. The issue is exacerbated every election cycle, in which news stories talk about “evangelicals” as simply equivalent to “social conservative Republicans.” But there’s a good reason for the confusion. Conservative evangelicals have the majority, especially among white evangelicals. They have been purposefully wired into the Republican Party since the days of Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan. Their institutions tend to be larger and more powerful. Still, my practice from now on will be to always use the word “evangelical” with the modifier “conservative” or “progressive” to distinguish the two groups in America — groups which I think are at least as different as any current denominational distinction among Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and so on.

Q: What is the distinction between fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals?

A: Great question. Let’s say you accept my suggestion that modern American “evangelicalism” was the term given to the strenuous effort in the 1940s to rebrand and redirect old-school fundamentalism toward a less angry, better informed, and more engaged approach to contemporary theology and culture. It may be that conservative evangelical alienation from recent developments in American culture and church life is so profound that the distinction is weakening, that conservative evangelicals are in some cases receding back to their founding fundamentalism. In any case, it is certainly true that the political media this year is totally failing to draw any distinction between fundamentalists and evangelicals. Bob Jones University is fundamentalist. Wheaton College is evangelical.

Here’s a project for the reader: look at the comments on my last post (or this one) and see if you can see a distinction between conservative evangelical and fundamentalist respondents. I think the distinction still exists. But it is fragile.

Q: Are you a progressive evangelical?

A: Having pretty much abandoned hope in the survival of a centrist evangelicalism, “progressive evangelical” fits me — most days. But I do wonder  whether the whole “evangelical” concept is fictional, whether it obscured actually quite important distinctions among Christian intellectual traditions, and whether it is now collapsing. Certainly the politicizing of the term in the US has deeply damaged it. So I will not be going out of my way to use that term any more to describe myself.

I just want to follow Jesus, and be left alone by those who don’t like how I do it, as I will try my very best to leave them alone. Which is what is supposed to happen in a divorce, right?

  • Thomas Hayes

    I think that indeed the whole “evangelical” concept is fictional. Is there a definition that would encompass all who call themselves evangelicals w/o encompassing lots of Christians who simply see themselves as Presbyterians, Catholic, whatever. I have a hunch that a great many people who call themselves “Evangelicals” are just anti-socialist followers of the Reagan dream (although Reaganism too is a Protean concept and all things to all people), with very little reference or practical connection to the actual Evangelium.

  • One question I am trying to sort through in my own deciphering between conservative and progressive evangelicals is: what are the lenses of which each reads and relies on Scripture? Are they different and if so does that impact the way that these groups will or will not work together in the future?

  • Soong-Chan Rah

    I would further distinguish between Progressive evangelicals and Progressive Christians.

  • Tim

    I was raised fundamentalist, but became evangelical in my early 20s. For the past several decades I have been a progressive evangelical. My blog is devoted to addressing the harmful beliefs and practices of conservative evangelicalism. I strongly dismiss those beliefs and practices, but I don’t dismiss the conservative believers; they are my brothers and sisters.

    I read the first post but didn’t comment on it. I will say now that the idea of divorce makes me incredibly sad. I feel that if we divorce from the conservatives we have divided the body further in opposition to Jesus’ desire for us to seek unity. We lose the power to work from the inside, we reject our fellow believers, and lose any influence we have among them.

    My roots are in evangelicalism; my heart is in evangelicalism; my mission is to assist and support individual conservative evangelicals (and fundamentalists)who are on their frightening journey away from the baggage. I will not divorce myself from them.

  • Ingrid Crozier

    A lot of problems are from definitions. A true evangelical Christian in my book must believe the good news of Christs death in payment for out sins. They must believe in the need for this payment and they must be in relationship with God through Christ. I hear a lot of “mushy” theology about “joining Gods story” or Seeking God but they don’t seem to get to the crux of the matter that we are sinners in need of a Savior. From that redeemed relationship of grace flows all else in the Christian life. Whether they are called to fight for social injustice in the world or raise a family of committed Christian kids or called to do any other job in this world, they cannot be considered to be “in the fold” without the saving grace of God. If that is the part that is at variance with other Christian groups, then we are to love them but cannot have true fellowship as they are not really Christians.

  • DL Renollet

    And to further complicate matters. I don’t consider myself to fall squarely anywhere. 🙂 I was raised in what you may term conservative evangelicalism but FAR from anything referred to as Fundamentalist. While my Charismatic church was very gospel centric, they looked (and i still look) with great disdain at the fudmentalist / legalism issues. The dress codes, the military style of raising children. you know the drills. And while i’m personally experiencing a crisis really tired of nearly ALL groups because few if any really speak for me at all. I’m quite pro life – but the media shows me as a ‘hater’. I don’t hate anyone and look quite compassionately upon anyone faced with those decisions. I don’t like how the church tries to make us humble and make us think a certain way – God seems to be a fine instructor in those areas. Politically i actually tend right down the middle, frankly neither side speaks for me. May God grant us grace to live the gospel graciously!

  • Randy

    Divorce is not an option. No matter what, Christians remain members of the same family. And we are to correct those in our family who err, which implies there is a truth by which error is defined. One group treats “truth” as relatively unimportant at best or unknowable at best. The other treats the “truth” as, well, the truth, but sometimes forgets about compassion. God is truth and mercy. Why do we insist on being one or the other?

  • George Hill

    “I just want to follow Jesus, and be left alone by those who don’t like how I do it, as I will try my very best to leave them alone. Which is what is supposed to happen in a divorce, right?”

    But on occasion, like a reformed smoker, the dangers draw me back like the drums of Jumanji relentlessly beating, knowing full well that others are being hunted and trapped in the game.

    A very recent example:

    http://youtu.be/1niqa377TBI

  • I’m not sure you can say draw a distinction between Wheaton College and Bob Jones University anymore after Wheaton’s recent treatment of Professor Hawkins. Yes, we religion scholars were taught this distinction and its genesis in 1942 initially with the NAE and then again with Billy Graham’s NYC Crusade in 1957, but recent events prove a change.

    We scholars have to concede that these categories are supple.

  • Sagrid Edman

    I can’t help but feel that in all these theological and doctrinal discussions, does anyone remember that there is the wind of the Holy Spirit hovering over all of us and our feeble or active attempts to share the gospel? He is still reaching into the hearts of folks and opening their hearts to the invitation to come to Christ.

  • Say more, please.

  • Ewen Butler

    I would consider myself a conservative evangelical with some progressive leanings! My question is two-fold: First, is there really such a stark distinction between both kinds of evangelicals? For example, I am opposed to same-sex marriage but I believe strongly in issues caring for the poor, the environment and certainly that blindly assenting to every action of s secular Israeli state. Would divorce then not be too strong a metaphor?

    An observation: I have become concerned over time that progressive evangelicals are strikingly similar to liberal Protestants in the way they approach the NT and the way they engage the world. They seem to major on Jesus as humanity’s ultimate model but not so much on his salvific work which the gospel writers seem to be focused on and they tend to ignore Paul the Apostle’s interpretation of the same, thus making a conservative evangelical suspicious of what interpretive presuppositions lie beneath.

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  • Dan Boyce

    The church has been divided for a long time… Or the church has branched out in numerous directions with those in each branch suspicious or out right rejective of those in other branches and as the generations pass ignorant of the common root of the church the church thinking that our branch is the tree trunk and not one of it’s branches. In this current discussion are we witnessing a “divorce” or a new branching?

  • Steve Ray Mitchell

    I am one of those ex-evangelicals who left conventional,non-denominational evangelicalism for Eastern Orthodoxy, I know others who have left for Catholicism. Gushee’s last statement is very telling. “I just want to follow Jesus,and be left alone by those who don’t like how I do it”. This is western, individualistic, modernist thinking at it’s core. No reference to historical church practice, tradition, etc. And no reverence for an institutional reference point outside of the self. What’s to stop a million other evangelicals to “follow Jesus” in their own way? What’s to stop them from following a God fashioned in their own image? The Evangelical project was doomed by modernity from the beginning. I would posit that at the core may be a kind of arrogance. What makes so called “progressives” think that they live in such a unique and enlightened moment in history? You don’t think the the early church had to deal with questions of homosexualité and social justice in Rome and…

  • Seth Bobbink

    I once was a Evangelical Protestant. Now I am an a Charismatic Catholic. Yes Catholics are Christians as well in case anybody is in doubt of that. Anyways, Charismatic would be similar to Evangelical in the Protestant World. At least when it comes to Holding firm to the Dogmas of the Catholic Church. I found David Gushee to be an interesting fellow. In his first article on this issue he states: “It goes against the Christian theological confession that the Church is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.” It also goes against repeated New Testament exhortations to unity (John 17:11, Col. 3:15).” First off the theological confession that David is talking about is the Nicene Creed which was formed and ratified at the first first Council of Nicaea. Oh and that was the Catholic Church which formed that. At the end of this post David states: “I just want to follow Jesus, and be left alone by those who don’t like how I do it.” What about the Catholic & Protestant split David?

  • Jack

    On the contrary, Thomas, evangelicals share with each other a high view of the Bible, the primacy of Scripture over church traditions (though not their obliteration), the need for personal faith in Christ via a concrete decision to repent and believe, the belief in salvation by grace alone through faith alone as evidenced by good works alone, etc……

    Now evangelicals, like everyone else, are eminently capable of falling into any number of idolatries. Evangelicals on the left are apt to deify government as society’s everyday savior, while those on the right are susceptible to deifying nationhood. Taken to their frightening extremes, the first can lead to Marxism and the second to Fascism. Evangelicals for Bernie need to check themselves regarding the former, and those for Trump need to do likewise with the latter.

  • Jack

    As politically conservative (for our time) but evangelically centrist, I welcome your perspective and see you as a brother in Christ.

  • Jack

    Catholicism through the magisterium avoids the problem of radical individualism and the almost lunatic organizational chaos of Protestantism, with anyone and everyone allowed to call himself a pastor and set up a new church somewhere. But the cost is too high. There is too much there that flatly contradicts plain Biblical teaching and there are just too many intellectual calisthenics and contortions one needs to go through in order to resolve the contradictions.

    That said, there is still plenty that evangelicals can learn from Catholics as well as vice versa. No one group has it totally right within Christendom.

    One day, that will change, but for now, we’re just going to have to live with the fact that, while God has wonderfully preserved His church through the ages, its outward face remains divided.

    I like the charismatic movement which has cut across these divisions to emphasize our oneness in the Spirit, but that’s really just a start.

  • Robert Thompson

    Let us not shoot ourselves in the foot with convoluted ideology. Differing views and interpretations provide for lively debate. We must focus on the goal and find compromises that permit its achievement. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Biblically true and practically true. Work for the common good. Otherwise, we become another pandering political party.

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  • I have been a longtime reader of your work and used a significant amount in my political studies courses at a Dutch Reformed college that considers itself evangelical, and would likely fit in what you refer to as conservative evangelical. The vast majority of students and faculty are devoted Republicans and link it to their faith because of a handful of issues, limited government, and support of nationalism and US hegemony on the global front. I have considered myself a progressive evangelical (graduated from Gordon a long way back, where I first encountered what might have been described to have a small circle of reformed progressives that believed the roll of government was to promote public justice for all societal institutions (sphere sovereignty more or less). At the time some of the best examples were manifest in Canada (ICS in Toronto and their faculty), Vanguard magazine, CJL at the time, CLAC (labor union), Bob Goudzwaard, Bernie Zylstra, the much younger Paul Marshall.

  • Donal

    Pt. II And some of those involved in the Chr. Democratic Movement in UK.
    For someone like me ending up in Iowa posed a significant challenge over time and broadening understanding from continued study of faith and biblical politics. I agree with most of what you articulate, and got to the point where the “evangelical” label became very difficult though largely necessary. Having moved on, I am a Christian and a progressive who has seen the “divorce” occurring. There is much fear behind the move and self righteousness. I would say that Chr. colleges are more likely to take the Wheaton path & attempt to avoid controversial political issues wherever possible. Scriptural interpretation is used to preserve a divide with “progressives”. Unity is possible with those who have come around on “stewardship of earth” issues.
    How/why don’t most evangelicals struggle with a Third Way in politics, though Sider, Campolo, yourself do well? I seek suggestions for reading.

  • Tim

    Thanks, Jack. The same here,

  • Kirk Leavens

    Very different lens indeed. 150 years of belief Biblical Inerrancy has lead to a calcification of dogma within conservative Protestantism that makes change very difficult, whether it be towards racism, feminine equality or Gay rights. Progressive Evangelicals start with Christ and his teaching as central to understanding and applying the Bible and spiral out from there, judging Scripture accordingly. Conservatives, on the other hand, begin with a de facto assumption as to the nature of Scripture, that it is a solid “block” of Truth and is internally consistent and begin there. A better understanding of the nature of “inspiration” and how Jesus used Scripture is necessary in order to have proper discourse, but I don’t see that happening in the near future.

  • Tim

    Also those who believe in inerrancy tend to consider their own interpretations to be inerrant as well–and why not? The Bible clearly says…

  • Jack

    I think you’re generally right, Ingrid, but we should listen carefully to what a non-evangelical is saying before concluding that the person is not truly a Christian. Take the example of Catholics who were baptized at birth and then committed to Christ at confirmation. They would say they became Christian at birth; we would say that if they invited Christ into their heart at confirmation, that was the point. But what they and we agree on is that such a person is a Christian. And what they and we agree on is that Christians should become committed to Christ.

    Put another way, what makes one a Christian is not whether they have the right doctrine of salvation, although that is what they should have, but whether they have taken the decisive step of saying yes to Jesus, committing their lives to Christ — repenting of their sins, and trusting in Christ alone as atonement for their sins.

  • Jack

    We should not compromise on questions of truth, but there is no reason why, while holding fast to our convictions, we cannot strive to preserve the unity of the Body of Christ, which, while shattered organizationally due to the numerous schisms of centuries past, is still operative organically. Organically, if not organizationally, all true Christians are one in Christ. We are one organism.

    Preserving unity means striving to be agreeable as people, even as we realize that disagreements among us exist. It means giving each other the benefit of the doubt, rather than analyzing every word that each of us utters for any signs of doctrinal divergence.

    It means majoring in the majors, not the minors, in what CS Lewis called mere Christianity. It means doing the things together that we can still do despite disagreements — praying together, breaking bread together, fighting common battles together.

  • Jack

    The problem, though, is when every attempt to preserve unity is viewed on one side as “too conservative” because it doesn’t aggressively address the progressive agenda, and “too wishy-washy” by religious right leaders because it doesn’t do likewise with that agenda.

    As a so-called centrist on this issue, I would say that if we put the Gospel first, we have no choice but to deem these disagreements as of secondary importance. That’s not the same as saying they have no importance…..anyone who’s read my board posts know I have very strong opinions on every issue of the day and am unafraid to state them. But I don’t believe that this is in any way the heart of the Gospel or that good Christians have to agree with me on any one issue.

  • Jack

    Okay, I’ll admit that my deep concern over evangelicals supporting Donald Trump for president crosses my own line at times……but I do try to avoid such crossings whenever possible.

  • Jack

    Good points, Randy. Paul admonishes us to speak the truth in love, which rightly assumes a natural tension in a fallen world between truth and love and a need for constant adjustments in our lives to reflect both.

    I tend toward focus on truth but not enough on love, to say the least. But maybe that’s where different members of the Body of Christ can correct each other. The truth people need to hear from the love people and vice versa.

  • Jack

    Ewen, progressive evangelicalism does tend to move toward liberal Protestantism, but only if the “progressive” begins to take precedence over the “evangelicalism.” It’s called majoring in the minors.

    As to “blindly assenting to every action of a secular Israeli state,” you may have fallen into the trap of evangelicals who are taught growing up that we should support Israel because the Jews are God’s people, and that’s that. Then years later, you’re in college and a leftist professor trots out the modern-day history of Zionism — from an anti-Zionist perspective — and shows you photos of dead Palestinians felled by Israeli bullets — and down goes your pro-Israel position.

    What’s missing, of course, is what should have been part of that childhood faith — a real education on the modern history of Zionism, from a Zionist as well as anti-Zionist perspective. Once you hear both sides and examine the facts, much of the anti-Israel views crumble.

  • Jack

    The danger here is in starting with the political and then reading into the Bible positions that validate one’s politics. While a high view of Scripture is certainly no complete defense against it, it’s easier to fall into this error if one believes the Bible is riddled with errors.

  • Scott Shaver

    News to me that “conservative” and “progressive” evangelicals were ever “married” (i.e. joined together at hip). Will chalk that up as an assumption/theory of the author.

    Progressives may have come through the front door but a lot of them have apparently slipped out the back door and are now deep in the woods chasing butterflies.

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  • Marlene Lund

    Jack, I think Ted Cruz would be the better example of deifying nationhood on a conservative side. Just sayin’…

  • Marlene Lund

    I have to disagree with you there, Jack. I see this problem on both sides, with proof-texting being used by people who claim a high view of Scripture to support political positions that go completely against the teachings of Jesus, in the areas of caring for the poor and welcoming the stranger, for example. I also have seen (and practice myself) that those who are more progressive also have a high view of Scripture. It’s just the lenses we are using are different. We still ask the question “What would Jesus do?”, and look to the Bible to figure it out. We don’t look to our political party to answer that question for us, and then find an Old Testament text to justify not following what Jesus told us to do.

  • Jack

    Marlene, if you said Cruz is “equal” to Trump as an example of deifying nationhood, that would be a point worth pondering or debating. But the fact that you said Cruz was the “better” example than Trump is what is curious, because there are no rational grounds for saying it. It suggests you don’t like Cruz for reasons other than the nationhood issue. That’s perfectly okay, but it’s not okay to hide behind the nationhood issue when the real issue for you is apparently something else.

  • Marlene Lund

    The reason I say this is that he has espoused the Dominionist doctrine that seeks to completely marry Christianity and Americanism, thus making the U.S. a nation under biblical law. In looking at your comment again, I may have taken it in a way that you didn’t mean. Are you saying that Trump puts his nationalism in the place of God? I looked at it as merging the two to an indistinguishable level (“You can’t be a true Christian if you don’t embrace a completely Conservative political position.”)

  • Jack

    No doubt, Marlene, that proof-texting may be found on all sides. As for caring for the poor, I don’t know a single Christian of any stripe who does not care about the poor. I don’t know a single church that doesn’t set aside funds to help the needy. The real disagreement is not whether to help the poor but how best to help. It’s not over who cares but what approach is most effective. IN other words, when it comes to fighting poverty, good intentions are not enough. We need to figure out what actually gets people out of poverty. The left says it’s government and the right says it’s people doing it themselves, but both approaches are demonstrably flawed. There is a third way, and that way is to return power, responsibility and resources to neighborhoods and communities so networks of churches and charities can fight poverty at the grassroots, with each person treated with dignity as a unique image-bearer of God.

  • Evangelicalism has never been a monolith. There have always been ‘conservatives’ and ‘progressives’ in our movement, but polar categories don’t fit everyone. Is Fuller Seminary conservative or progressive? What about the Urbana conference? Or World Vision, Books and Culture, the Evangelical Covenant Church, Eerdmans press, the NAE, and Seattle Pacific? Or Kuyperian think tanks like the Center for Public Justice?

    This whole “divorce” metaphor seems a significant shift for Dr. Gushee, whose bridge-building efforts I’ve admired over the past decade (and still do). Bridge-builders often take a beating from both ends, so I can appreciate why a ‘divorce’ might seem attractive to folks like Dr. Gushee who have labored long hours in the trenches and need a reprieve from culture war carnage.

    Even so, let’s not forget to ask: Who benefits from polarization? Who does it hurt? Evangelicalism’s diversity makes us a hard bunch to pin down, but for now, the e-word is still the best…

  • edward

    Actually the Nicene Creed comes from the year 325, long before the split between the Catholics and the Eastern Church. It is just as much an Orthodox creed as it is a Catholic creed.

  • Seth Bobbink

    I never said it wasn’t an Orthodox Creed. first and foremost it is a Christian Creed since every Christian holds to it regardless of whether they are Catholic Orthodox, or Protestant. All I said was that the Catholic Church Fathers at the first Council of Nicaea were the ones who formed and ratified what we now call the Nicene Creed. Now you are error if you are implying that Catholics and the Eastern Church were different entities before the spit in 1054 which is actually the wrong year. The reality is that there was no single event that marked the schism, but rather a sliding into and out of schism during a period of several centuries, punctuated with temporary reconciliations. The East’s final break with Rome did not come until the 1450s. When the Byzantine Empire collapsed suddenly in 1453. the Turks sacked the city of Constantinople. Under pressure from Muslims, most of the Eastern churches repudiated their union with Rome, and this is the split that persists to this day.

  • Seth Bobbink

    Jack I would like to first thank you that you agree that Catholics and Evangelicals can learn from each other. Yes you are right that that we are one in the Spirit. However regardless of being one in Spirit which is important. Our Doctrinal differences are very grave and also equally important. Being a Charismatic Catholic myself, converting from Evangelical Protestantism, I couldn’t help but notice that you believe that “There is too much there that flatly contradicts plain Biblical teaching and there are just too many intellectual calisthenics and contortions one needs to go through in order to resolve the contradictions.” In using the word “there” I am assuming you mean the Catholic Church. If I am right may I ask you what exactly in your opinion flatly contradicts the plain Biblical Teaching?

    Respectfully,
    Seth Bobbink

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