Reformation: New Understanding of the Church

Valdis Tēraudkalns

This article demonstrates how the Reformation developed a new ecclesiastic perspective. It is a model of the church that is pluralistic and, decentralized and closes the gap between the secular and the sacred. In this model everybody has a vocation in life, not only the clergy. Plurality also has consequences for ecumenism because alongside the striving for visible unity there is also the model of hermeneutics of difference that does not see organizational unity as a necessary goal of ecumenical dialogues There is a historical argument for this perspective because we can talk about early Christianity only in plural, not singular. Also Protestant churches often have not realized their radical roots. Clericalism and support for status quo in society and in the church often have characterized and still characterize many Protestant churches. Some of the customs still preserved in the Lutheran Church in Latvia, like placing the sacred elements of Communion in the mouth of the communicant, are reminders of the inconsequence of laity and turns them into passive receivers, rather than people equal with clergy who differ from them only by having different functions. In fact, both have received their first ordination in baptism.