The entire series of posts I wrote on Reconcilable Differences is at HisScribbler.blogspot.com, September 24-27, 2011.
I intended to go into other doctrines which Protestants and Catholics hold in common but it has been too long since I did the research.
Now, to be honest, I need to deal with the IRreconcilable differences.
A big deal breaker is, of course, authority. The leaders of the early, yet unsplit, church, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, determined which books were part of the authoritative canon of Scripture. All Christians agree with that.
But the significance of making that determination was understood differently by those who became Roman Catholic/Orthodox and those who would eventually become Protestants. If I understand the Roman/Orthodox view correctly, the fact that the church leaders (Magisterium) decided what books constitute the canon shows that they–and the tradition proceeding from this and their other decisions–are of equal authority with the Scriptures and in a practical sense, even greater authority because the Holy Spirit gives right understanding of those books to them alone. The interpretation of the Magisterium trumps any other interpretation a reader of the Scriptures believes is from the Holy Spirit.
Protestants believe that the Holy Spirit enabled church leaders to recognize those books which were inspired (“God-breathed”) and that by so doing they were acknowledging the authority of the Scriptures over them, that all other authorities are subordinate to, and are to be corrected by, the written word of God. Leaders and laypeople alike have no authority in themselves to “rightly divide” (interpret) the Scriptures, but, conversely, they have equal access to the Holy Spirit for the true interpretation.
This was one of “five solas” which led to the Reformation:
- 1 Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”)
- 2 Sola fide (“by faith alone”)
- 3 Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)
- 4 Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”)
- 5 Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”)
The Reformation was an effort on the part of the devout Roman Catholic Martin Luther (apart from his anti-Semitism) to draw his beloved church back to the foundations of the faith as given in Scripture. In 1577 he publicly posted 95 Theses, not on his blog or on Facebook but on the door of the Wittenburg Church. These were 95 points of opposition to what he saw as unbiblical doctrine and practices–abuses–that had developed in the Church.
Rather than focusing on his message, the Church responded by excommunicating the messenger.