Now and Then?

I came upon this fascinating blog entry by a Catholic blogger.  In it, he relates how a passage in the Old Testament sounds to him very much like a description of the division between Catholicism and Protestantism.

Basically, the division between the house of Israel and the house of Judah following the death of Solomon is taken as an prediction/analogy for the division of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.  I’m not sure how far this analogy is being pressed by the author (or any other author or theologian), but it struck me as interesting.
I believe that the Church should be one, as we are one in Christ.  That being said, we cannot ignore very significant theological differences – not just between Protestants and Catholics, but amongst Protestants.  Pretending that these differences are inconsequential, or that we should ignore them is intellectually and theologically dishonest.  I’d prefer that we spend more of our time focusing on the work we can do together as co-heirs of the Kingdom of God than squabbling amongst ourselves as though our squabbling was going to earn us a higher place in the Kingdom, but hey, I’m an idealist.  While unity is the goal, it ain’t likely to happen anytime soon barring some major miracles on the Holy Spirit’s part.  Maybe we should all be praying a bit harder for that.  Hmmm…
In the meantime, without going into a critique of the theological shortcomings of the use of 1 Kings 12 & 13 as a metaphor or analogy for the Protestant Reformation (no, I don’t think it’s a valid analogy/metaphor), I saw something that the blogger ignored, and that might bear every bit as much consideration as the analogy/metaphor as it’s presented .
Rehoboam’s refusal to listen to the wiser council of the elders, and instead to listen to the rash council of his friends drove the wedge between Israel and Judah (1Kings 12:1-17).  If we wish to see this story metaphorically, it is interesting that what began as a request for dialog and reform by Martin Luther was met by refusal by the Pope and religious authority of the Catholic Church.  One wonders – both in the history of Israel as well as the history of the New Testament church – how things might have been different if there had been more of an openness on the part of leaders in both situations.
Obviously I think that the analogy that is being driven towards in the linked blog is faulty.  But even a faulty analogy should be applied completely, and that means examining the aspects of it that are less than friendly towards your own position.  

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