The Corner

A Scandal…Or Grace?

It is customary for observers of Christianity to bemoan the division of Jesus’s followers into various denominations. The Founder’s own prayer “that all may be one” is often quoted, and the spectacle of disunity among Christians is held to be a discouragement to potential new members. I have read more than my share of anti-Protestant polemics by Catholics, seeking to prove that everyone must be Catholic; and of anti-Catholic polemics by Protestants, seeking to prove that everyone must be Protestant and indeed (ideally) the sort of Protestant of whom the particular writer most strongly approves. These apologetics can rise, on both sides, to very high levels of cleverness; and they can be great fun to read, especially if you enjoy vitriolic abuse (and to be honest, who doesn’t?). But they are, at least to me, far from convincing. In a new magazine called The Clarion Review, Louis Markos—an English professor at Houston Baptist University who came to Evangelical Protestantism by way of Greek Orthodoxy—offers a different, and captivating, way of looking at these divisions. His article is titled “The Threefold Witness of the Church: The Catholic Peter, the Orthodox John, and the Protestant Paul,” and sees in today’s Christianity a parallel to the religion’s first days: There is one Lord and one Faith, but different apostles have different apostolates—which can do much to reinforce each other. I encourage anyone interested in this subject to read the article; it’s available here. (It’s a pdf file; the article starts on page 43.)