The Reformation and “The One True Church”

But one of the great catholic doctrines which the Reformers declared as loudly and clearly as they could was that of the communion of saints: that all who receive Christ by faith, simply by simple faith, are holy in Him in the eyes of God, and members of Him: saints. They are one holy, catholic church; mystical as a whole, but visible wherever people are gathered in charity around the Word.

The Reformers drew out the full implications of the doctrine of the communion of saints for all of Christian life; it has as much to do with their thought on politics as it has to do with their thought on spiritual matters. So in a way, the Reformation, which preached the truth of what it means to be a saint in that communion of saints, can be regarded as the “eve”, the gate, of the truth of All Saints Day.

For evangelicals, the Reformation was the moment in which the church came to the clearest self-understanding of any time in its history; but its self-understanding includes all that history: Reformation is not a dividing line, it is a clarity and scope of vision, and part of what seen clearly from that vantage point, is “all saints”; the true form of the church of Jesus Christ throughout all times, and in all places. In other words, the catholic Church.

Peter Escalante, “Basilica,” October 31, 2008

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