The Marburg Colloquy - The First Council of 'Protestants'
Reformation Not Protestation - a Touch Stone
What tips a Reformer - a necessary vehicle of proactive change to bring back into 'shape' the purity of a lost truth - into a 'Protestant'?
The DNA of the reforming church has been tarred, and not unfairly, with a pejorative brush, that of 'Protestant'.
If reformation is the goal and the touch stone of this necessary reshaping is the Head of the Church - Jesus Christ, then one must believe if we are all heading toward that focal point, then as we all get ever nearer, our unity (which does not have to be created, only maintained) is strengthened. (Ephesians 4:3) So, what is it that more often keeps an ever dividing schismatic posture in so many? I will not attempt to furnish a full answer, or even a thoughtful opinion, suffice to say, my own internal vanities and foibles are evidence enough of how easily this is done. My Biblical fervour for transforming truth gets disconnected from His Cross of suffering and the undeserved favour it freely bestows to lead us into His Holiness; and instead is harnessed to the 'wild horses' of my triumphalist control and its preferred homogeneity and all the inadequacies that unleashes.
The Marburg Colloquy (a formal conversation) the first council of protestants as it is often referred to, is both encouraging and distressing. The details of this event and what followed have many commentators, I will not attempt to add that here in this vignette. I do, however, want to focus on what is perhaps seminal, in an approach to bring genuine divine truth pursuing factions together to step ever closer to the 'conforming to the image of His Son' (Ephesians 4:13).
This Council, a sponsored gathering (by a politically motivated ruler, whose primary goal was not the pursuit of Divine best-practice in the Body of Christ) was to bring together the Swiss and Germany Reformers into one more unified movement. Zwingli ,the leader of the Swiss movement and Luther, the head of the German Reformers, met to deal with many of the errors of the medieval church, but also come together on key points of doctrine. They essentially achieved all their ends, with only one issue outstanding - the substance of the Holy Eucharist.
It was recorded that Luther was the one who, not only couldn't come to a mutual agreement, but was exceptionally belligerent, even refusing to shake Zwingli's right hand of fellowship at the conclusion.
However, it is the following prayer of Zwingli who sought to return to Father God's best-practice, not the ideologies of men, gives us a real insight into the posture that reformers need to adopt, that can prevent them from becoming just another ego driven schismatic. An earnest prayer to change our hearts to be the people Father God can use to bring His best Kingdom practice to bear.
"Fill us, o Lord and Father of us all, we beseech Thee, with Thy gentle Spirit, and dispel on both sides all the clouds of misunderstanding and passion. Make an end to the strife of blind fury...Guard us against abusing our powers, and enable us to employ them with all earnestness for the promotion of holiness."
S.W. Varcoe - Disciplesplanet