This insightful book addresses the “Protestant dilemma” in ecclesiology: how to build lasting Christian community in a world of individualism and transience. Gerald Schlabach, a former Mennonite who is now Catholic, seeks not to encourage readers to abandon Protestant churches but to unlearn lessons that are no longer productive. He explains that what may have been virtues in the early years of the Protestant Reformation have now become vices that corrode community life. For example, Luther’s courage to stand on conscience has become, in our individualistic age, an excuse to avoid the hard work of living together in community.Unlearning Protestantism encourages readers to relearn certain virtues that all Christian communities need to sustain their communal lives.
Schlabach offers a vision for the right and faithful roles of authority, stability, and loyal dissent in Christian communal life. He tries to make sense of the yearning for a new kind of catholicity that Christians of multiple denominations are demonstrating through liturgical renewal, the recovery of ancient Christian spiritual practices, and other alliances and crossovers.
This book will be useful in theology and ecclesiology courses. It deals with issues that transcend denominations and will appeal to all readers, both Catholic and Protestant, who are interested in sustaining Christian tradition and community over time.