WSW: 500 Years After The Reformation, A Call For Christian Unity

Oct 26, 2017

Bishop Paul Bradley (left) and Pastor Jeff Wenke
Credit Gordon Evans / WMUK

500 years after Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses that began the Protestant Reformation Roman Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo Bishop Paul Bradley says there is remorse. Bradley says the sadness is not over issues, but the result that there is “a great divide within the body of Christ.”

To mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation an event called Kalamazoo United is being held to bring Catholics and Protestants together. It begins at 4:00 Sunday afternoon at Wings Event Center. Bradley and Pastor Jeff Wenke with the Bridge Church in Portage joined Gordon Evans.

Wenke says Protestants and Catholics don’t know about many of the common beliefs they share. He says Protestants can learn a lot from Catholics, including the beautiful traditions of the Catholic Church that Wenke says Protestants have missed out on. Bradley says it’s important to acknowledge differences between Catholics and Protestants. But he says there is unity because as Christians they believe Jesus is our lord and savior.

Both men says they have no illusions about what Sunday’s event will do. Wenke calls it a chance to foster dialogue. Bradley says some religious leaders both Protestant and Catholic have refused the invitation to participate. He calls that “perhaps disappointing, but understandable.” Wenke says he would encourage people who are skeptical not to make up their mind without coming to the event.

Bradley says during a visit to Rome he visited the Congregation for Christian Unity. Bradley jokes that it would be great to get a video message from Pope Francis (Wenke says he was hoping for a Papal visit). Brandley says a letter was sent that said Pope Francis is supportive. Bradley says Pope Francis has reached beyond boundaries to proclaim the importance of Catholic faith. Wenke says the Pope’s servant hearted attitude is a model they are going to encourage everyone to emulate on Sunday.