Of all the special days on the Church’s calendar, Reformation Sunday is my favorite. That’s not just because you aren’t expected to buy other people presents or chocolate, but also because it’s when we remember those men of the 16th century who by their faithfulness won for us the right to hate Roman Catholics in perpetuity.
Indeed, were it not for men like Luther, Cranmer, Knox and Calvin, whose lives were in every way unblemished by sin, as well as other less important foreigners, sectarianism wouldn’t be half as much fun as it is today; the only people upon whom Biblical Christians could legitimately vent their feelings of insecurity would be Knights Templar. And we all know how rarely one of them is handy when you’re irritated.
Nor is popular hatred of Romans the Reformers’ only legacy: by placing theology in the hands of villagers with pitchforks the great witch persecutions of the 17th century were made possible, and by ending the Roman monopoly on abusive religion the foundations were laid for such greats as Joel Osteen and Oral Roberts, or that Canadian fellow whose specialty was kicking people in the head – and no, I don’t mean little David Short.
What’s more, the great Reformers provide the perfect role model for today’s young people. Take Knox, for example, who at the age of 50 married a 17 year old girl. Or Luther, a man so tolerant that his lesser known writings uncannily prefigure those of a later German nationalist. While in denouncing Servetus to the French Inquisition, Calvin established the glorious GAFCON principle of siding with those whom we hate in order to get rid of those we hate even more.
The greatest lesson of all however, that we gain from studying our Reformed predecessors is that valid theological development ceased after 1600. Unless you happen to be one of my Forward in Faith friends, in which case there was also a little window opened in the mid 19th century – a view with which Cranmer mightn’t have agreed, but then again he didn’t desperately need their money to keep Bobby Duncan in the lifestyle to which he feels entitled.
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.