As a convert, I spent a lot of time studying the history of the Catholic Church and in that process encountered Hilaire Belloc’s book, The Great Heresies, which, in a mere few hundred pages, taught me about the history of the Church from the perspective of its heretics, chief among them Martin Luther, the once Catholic priest who violated his vows and married a nun while building his heresy, which is now disintegrating, as this article from Catholic Culture notes.
“I intended to give the poor Protestants a break, but now I read that the Lutherans are imploding or exploding, depending on your point of view. It seems that the two largest Lutheran “churches” in America have broken up, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).
“The first split occurred in the 1960’s and 1970’s after a long battle between resurgent conservatives and liberals, the latter including especially the faculty of Concordia Seminary. The liberal losers in the LCMS moved on to help shape the ELCA in the late 1980’s, but they crafted a self-destructive mode of governance. Insisting on disproportionate minority representation in all governing bodies and committees, the ELCA ultimately shifted power to special interest groups, hastening an inevitable disintegration in the last few years. Meanwhile, the more conservative LCMS seems doomed to be locked in constant theological squabbling, encompassing spiritual, social and political concerns….
“The whole matter depends on the basic principles of what we might call Religion 101.Any Revelation which God discloses to us must necessarily include details of the ongoing authority by which that Revelation is to be transmitted and implemented over time. Without this, God has no means of making His Revelation effective; His Word would return to Him void (Is 55:11). The ultimate structure and authority of a Church, if it is to be taken seriously as something which can achieve God’s purpose despite human weaknesses, cannot be drawn from human imagination or fashioned through human debate and compromise. In other words, to avoid being irremediably flawed and inherently self-destructive, the mechanism of authority in a true Church must come from God Himself.” (italics added)