Books of a Fether

The Reformers and their Stepchildren ©2010 | free PDF

5. Winckler

("those who meet in the corners")

This chapter focuses on the need of the "regional church" for sacred buildings. It was not enough to have taken away the right of every believer to read the Bible or to eat the Lord's Supper without official sanction or oversight; a building that towered above all others in the city was required. Naturally, the "heretics" wanted no part of these "temples" and continued to meet in homes. But because they were outlaws they met in secret— which in turn got them labeled as having something to hide, and it must be evil! And this evil thing of course was the preaching of the Word without the sanction of the state/church, by people who were not endowed with the mystical ability to understand scripture. Yet the allegedly-enlightened clergy feared any debate of scripture with such ignorant "heretics". Again, the great crime of the "heretics" was not false doctrine but separation.

The Protestant tradition has held on to the concept of approved clergy with its term "calling". We hear this word today and presume it has to do with the calling of God, but in practice it means exactly what the Romans and the Reformers meant: properly and officially "ordained" or trained by approved institutions or seminaries. Though, as the book observes, the "heretical" model has proved by its success here in America that it is the right one, it still suffers from an inability to completely renounce the regional church model. As already mentioned, this includes sacred buildings, a clergy class of the "called", altars, offerings, and seminaries. But brazen efforts are mounting to return to the "golden age" of Constantine by means of the blending of church, state, and industry, known as "the three-legged stool". The mechanism of this transformation as they call it is Hegel's dialectic, in which two opposing ideas are made to give up essential elements of their doctrines in order to arrive at a third, blended belief. Compromise is the order of the day, and— surprise surprise— the greatest sin is separation.