It’s amazing to me that the Church has always been redeemed from within. This is constant throughout its history and I can’t think of another movement for which this is true.
The Hebrew revolution was started by a Hebrew and his Hebrew disciples. You might try and make a case that the Christian Church has nothing to do with the Old Testament, but the Old Testament itself would prove your wrong without much effort. The corrupt Medieval Church was overthrown by churchmen like Tindale and Luther. The printing revolution started with the printing of the bible, not some other manifesto.
All through its history there have been excesses, errors and travesties committed by the Church equalled only by its awakenings, corrections and revolutions all started from within the same body.
Surely this should make the neutral observer suspicious that there is more going on here than sociological evolution? The trouble these days is finding a neutral observer. They are few and far between.
Perhaps the only other organization with a similar kind of self-righting system is Science. But there are a few key differences:
- The scientific method is not very old, you could make a case for it being a few hundred years old at a stretch. It has not had the time to be tested against real revolution yet.
- The science revolutions have not really come from within science itself, apart from a few. By definition and practice Science has attempted to include anyone and everyone in the process. So when Einstein or Faraday or Hoyle come along they become part of Science by their contribution; but they were not before except in the broadest possible sense; which, in my opinion, is not a very clear demarcation. It’s a bit like going to the races and putting everything on ‘the horse that will win’.
That’s OK, I guess, if you can find a willing bookie.
- The major difference between Church and Science though is that Science was built to be self-righting. Self-righting has been hard coded into its constitution. Church was not, the self-righting has happened, it seems, by accident. The right kind of courageous people at the right place and time at precisely the right moment. The Church movement, which lends itself to human domination, gets righted by the unlikeliest underdogs without any or very little Church authority. Unlike Science which is designed to challenge the dominant position (I’m not suggesting that it is successful in its design, just that it was designed so). This surely must make us at least ask what, or who is behind the Church? It’s like Family, that most ancient institution which has been tossed aside, ripped appart and abused in every conceivable manner and yet is still the binding fabric of society.
I can’t think of any other worldview with a built-in self correction facility, can you?