"The Protest is Over!" At least that is what Anglican Bishop Tony Palmer declared at a Kenneth Copeland pastoral leadership conference on January 21, 2014. "The Protest is over," repeated Palmer, "and if there is no protest, how can there be a Protestant Church?"
It seems to me that the line between Protestant and Catholic gets blurred more and more every year. Attitudes and opinions of the Roman Church by Protestants are softening. A mere 60 years ago the country was concerned about electing a Catholic President of the country. Today, religious affiliation has little or now influence on voters. In fact, according to an August 31, 2017, article by Pew Research, "Most American Protestants now say the two Christian traditions are more similar than different, religiously, and many U.S. Protestants espouse traditionally Catholic beliefs on some issues." In fact, the article went on to state that a full 36% of Protestant Americans do not believe in either sola fide (faith alone) or sola scriptura (Scripture alone).
He talked about how the brothers had money, but no food, so they came to Joseph. It's interesting, in the original story, the brothers came and bowed down to Joseph. The unity the Roman Church has always sought is one where the world church bows at her feet.
What have the last 500 years taught us? Is the Protest really over?
(Thoughts and reflections as I watched the General Conference Annual Council 2017.)
It happened when I was pastoring a smaller church in a large metropolitan area. We had a growing number teens and young adults in that church--but most of them weren't involved in church beyond weekend attendance.
Silvia and I invited this growing group of young people to a social evening. At some point in the evening I asked these teens and young adults why they weren't involved more. They responded that the "old people did everything" and they "felt judged if they did it any way but the way it has always been done."
So I asked them what they wanted. They wanted inspiring music--not just hymns (yes, even in the early 2000s, some church were still singing hymns, and this church was still using the 1941 edition of the SDA church hymnal--not even the 1985 copy!) They wanted to be involved in worship. At that time, my church had two elders and they always accompanied me on the platform. One did the offering appeal--the other the morning prayer. Next week, they traded. And they wanted more social activities. And they had quite a simple list of things that most Adventist churches had addressed a decade before.
"In that case," I responded, "why don't all of you who are baptized come to the next church business meeting and make it happen?"
"The adults won't let us..." one said.
"They will contradict us and overrule us..." said another.
"I don't know," I told them. "Not many people come out to church business meetings."