Reformation Day – How did we get all these churches?

Fasten your seat belt and put on your grown-up pants, I’m going to talk about nearly 500 years of church history in a few short paragraphs.  Today is more commonly known as Halloween than Reformation Day.  Yet today is widely accepted as the day in 1517 that theologian Martin Luther posted some issues he had with THE church by nailing them to the door of a church.  THE church was the Roman Catholic Church.  Luther primarily questioned the practices of what he perceived as the church gone astray.  Among other things, he said it appeared that the church was corrupt and just concerned about money.  Ouch.

Luther and some others wanted to “reform” the Catholic church, not start a new one.  But the church, which hasn’t changed much, did not take constructive criticism very well.  This led to the church defending it’s  practices and the people leaving the church in “protest” and the eventual formation of the “Protestant” church.  There has been basically the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church since then.  United Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, independent churches, you name it, they all fall under “Protestant”.

A couple of hundred years after Luther, John and Charles Wesley, who were in the Church of England, believed it was going astray.  What do you think happened?  History basically repeats itself, the church defends itself, and Methodism starts.  Nearly a couple of hundred years after the Wesley “reformation”, the Nazarene Church starts from disgruntled Methodists.  Today, independent churches are all over the place (and some would say all the rage).  Most have popped up from disgruntled people who were once part of different denominations.  People even leave independent churches to start new independent churches.

Which has led us to where we are today – with a whole bunch of denominational and non-denominational churches which, on the whole, appear to be concerned about money and survival.

(This is a simplistic view of how we got where we are.  Theological libraries are full of books with opinions.  This blog is just my opinion to try and help common people like myself get an idea of where the church came from and where we are.)

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