Can the Church Schisms be Reversed? Should They Be? (With Dr. Stephen Nichols)

In my last video on this channel I sat Down with Dr Stephen Nichols who's the President of Reform Bible College and Has written a ton of stuff and has a Great podcast called five minutes in Church history and I asked him to Explain to me like a child how the stuff Went down surrounding the great schism The division between the western church And the Eastern Church that happened in The 11th century and that effectively Persists to this day and I thought he Did a great job I learned a lot made a Ton of sense if you haven't seen that Video I'd love it if you'd go and check That out but then I had a follow-up Question for him that was quite a bit More practical and I'm just going to Summarize what I asked him and then We'll just bounce it right over to his Answer I I want to know where we go from here What do we do next in light of the fact That we did have two big giant splits in The history of Christianity that being The great schism between east and west And then the Western Schism if you want To call it that the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century I for one am very optimistic about the Way the history of the church is Unfolding I think it makes sense and I Think it's a good thing that I've got Two separate groups of historical

Creedal Orthodox allies who can speak The gospel and speak truth to different Pockets of humanity they're positioned Well to to do Church do historic Christian faith with different groups And even the groups within protestantism That I don't really feel a ton of Resonance with I'm also grateful that They are there because they seem to be Able to articulate the message of Historical Orthodox Christianity to People where maybe the way I talk about It it wouldn't make any sense to so I'm At peace very much with how the history Of church is unfolding but I'm also Really interested in where it goes next There's my disclosure of biases I'm Enthusiastic about the idea of a Convictional Unity where we lean into Our differences to advance Christ's Kingdom and the church together even if There are certain places where we just Have to agree to disagree the question I Want to ask Dr Stephen Nichols is is This convictional something that is Doable if so how should we do it and is It something that is worth our energy to Pursue here's what he had to say Huge question uh I think You know we speak of the church In an Orthodoxy in terms of what was True for all Christians in all places at All times So you could say well that's creedal

Christianity and that and by Credo you Know we mean the Apostles Creed the Nicene Creed the calcedonian Creed As a Protestant and specifically within The Protestant world one who leans Reformed uh very heavily leans reformed I'm going to say I think the Creeds Don't delineate clearly enough a Doctrine of salvation So I'm interested in the doctrine of Salvation that I see delineated in the Reformation confessions So not that the early church did not Have a doctrine of salvation of course They did but the issues were not the Pressing issues that come in the 16th Century that sort of force the Theological clarity So all that to say if you're asking me Is there such a thing as Unity is it Worth putting it together And is it worth striving for it I would Say absolutely In this context of unity not just you Know as Christ's Mark that we all love Each other as disciples which is clearly Got to be there and that's something That factors into how we conduct Ourselves on the internet and also how We conduct ourselves as churches towards Each other it We go back and look at the Crusades Um and then we can point the finger at Ourselves in the 21st century

I think there's there's the mark of Truth Um and and I think that truth is also Part of the church's identity it's it's Truth and love love and truth that are I Uh are our identity so now the question Becomes well what are those guardrails What are those parameters of Truth And in my world I like the Creeds and The confessions In other words Heidelberg Westminster Yes the consensus of reference of I'm Fine I don't need you to be a Presbyterian you can be a London Baptist 1689 guy you can be a book of Um 39 articles Yes uh so but I do think we need to say Something about the doctrines of Salvation and and I think that's what What I love about Luther's Fundamentally the question the church Needs to always get right is how can we Be right with God And I'm not sure the early Creeds give Us enough there to Define that and again It's I'm not saying they never thought About it and the early church never had A doctrine of salvation but there's not A dark a robust doctrine of salvation That emerges out of those three creeds There's certainly a view of God in Christ that emerges out of those so Anyway I am all for putting it back Together I'm all for the unity of the

Church and I'm all for us standing Together especially The enemies are great secularism Islam like we are up against significant Challenges in the 21st century we need Each other but I think I want to ask What are we centered around and so for Me it's it's Creeds and confessions uh Reformation confessions I think for Other people they'd be just as fine with The Creeds and so they're going to be a Bit more well now Protestants can come In Catholics can come Roman Catholics Can come in the Orthodox Traditions Can't come in and so all of that is Christian because we're just gonna focus On these Creeds yeah so I would go in a Little bit of a different direction but The impulse to say hey is it worth it uh Putting ourselves back Humpty Dumpty Back together again and I think it is uh And I think we need each other but You know what what what is at the center Of what holds us together I think it Does seem like the confessions they're Trying to accomplish more specificity it Could maybe even be argued by some too Much specificity for the purposes of Putting the church back together but I Get the impulse and what I love about Using credilism as a basic boundary for What is historical Orthodox Christianity Is that you're talking about the exact Same deity those cappadocian fathers the

The Eastern leaders put so much work Into saying Nope not quite my Tempo that's almost The god that we see in the Bible and That we're talking about but try it Again five six seven eight not Quite my Tempo and they sat there and Refined and refined and refined until That language was pin pointed so Pinpointed that in in my estimation it Almost didn't translate to an Egyptian Greek hybrid among the cops by the time You're into the fifth century and Calciton proves to be that there's Enough of a linguistic barrier that it Was difficult to specifically name the Exact same deity and that has had Massive consequences for the Eastern Church as well so all the evidence Points to the creeds Really drilling down on Luts make sure We're talking about the exact same God And with respect to lots of people Who believe a lot of the same things I Do and whose expressions of Faith Overlap a lot with a ton of things that Are historically Christian I I viewed The boundary markers of Christianity as Being along the lines of the Creeds if You're talking about a different deity One who has a god figure who created a Jesus figure well that's a different Religion that has a lot of overlap but It's not historical Orthodox

Christianity so I I love that as a Starting point for who to talk to But I think you raise a great point in Terms of okay the very next question is We have this deity we have humanity and Whether people would embrace the notion Of total depravity or not all Expressions of Christianity would Acknowledge we have a problem and it's a Problem that you need the deity side of The equation to solve so the next Logical question is well what are all These different Expressions take on how You put it back together not first and Foremost with each other but the Individual and God and and I think what I'm going to come away from Our conversation really wrestling with Here is What degree of specificity is needed on That To have a functional Unity again not Gather under the same organization or File the same paperwork but a functional Unity of being co-ambassadors of the Gospel and the kingdom do I need other Expressions of Christianity to go beyond There is a God who is Flawless humanity Is flawed through the work of Christ on The cross and the resurrection somehow Salvation is made possible is that Enough Do I need more of that Reformation Language to say that we have enough in

Common that we can represent this Together and I'm not sandbagging here my Friend I really don't know the answer to It and I just need to wrestle with it a Little bit more so thanks for letting me Process out loud a bit here well I'm Totally tracking with you and I and I Think a lot of people uh think through This and and Um well if they're not they need to and I think the way you're articulating it Is very helpful uh for people to think Through I've enjoyed the conversation Very much yeah me as well thank you First for the expertise and just getting A baseline of facts is so incredibly Helpful for the conversation and second Thank you for the insight and you get The knowledge first and then the wisdom Comes and to have the time to chat with Somebody who's put in the work to have Both is a really huge help It's been a real pleasure man thanks for Having me on your show all right if People want to go and draw on what You're working on more connect with you More would be a great starting Point but also anywhere you can get a Podcast I think one of the best podcasts Going is the five minutes in Church History Podcast am I saying that Correctly yeah and it's the number five The okay number five uh whereas mine you

Spell out ten t-e-n in a Bible hour it's A constant point of confusion yeah every Time I'm scrolling through the podcast Charts I'm like ah before I knew you I Was like who's this dude with like it's A five minute thing it's literally half The commitment but you still get all the Knowledge and the experience why did I Think of five that's a good play and It's good content so I hope you all Check it out thank you a ton Dr Nichols I really appreciate the time My pleasure thanks I know I've said it probably three times Over the course of this video in the Last video but I continue to be Optimistic looking forward in terms of The effectiveness of the church and What's happening in the global church I'm also optimistic about what I see Looking backwards I don't view it as a Series of calamities I view it as a Series of beautiful victories with Gajillions of people going from a state Of being separated from God and as the Scriptures say dead in our sin and then The message of the church even if it was Delivered by flawed people and flawed Institutions it shows up in the message Of Christ transforms people by the work Of the Holy Spirit as people go from Being Outsiders to the kingdom to being Sons and Daughters children and Heirs of The kingdom of God that is so exciting

To me the very fact that you and I are Even here means a ton of people got Stuff right even in the midst of their Flaws and weaknesses over the last Couple thousand years it's an amazing Thing that is unequaled in all of human History so I'm pretty excited about it And I appreciated those elements of Optimism that I was hearing from Dr Nichols as well I would really love to Know in follow-up to this video down in The comments what's your orientation It's okay if you think I'm out to lunch On that and that I should have a more Sober view maybe even a more critical View of the history of the church I Would love to know what tradition you're From and whether you view the arrow as Pointing up as I do or whether you're Very troubled as I know some people are And if you do view the arrow as pointing Up I would love to know what the next Steps are where do you think we go as a Global Church in terms of a unified Front to whatever extent that's possible If you're one who thinks Sierra's Pointing down and we're in trouble and We got problems I would like to know why And what you think we ought to do as Christians from across the boundaries of Different historical creedal Traditions To put our heads together to make that Stuff more effective I'm all ears I Really appreciate the Good Will with

Which you think about this kind of stuff With me and I really appreciate Dr Stephen Nichols jumping on here again That five minutes in Church History Podcast is something that is easily Accessible that you can go and grab I'll Link it down in the show notes I think You might really enjoy it as well cool This was a lot of fun oh one more thing That podcast I mean you know this YouTube channel used to be called the 10 Minute Bible hour and then I had a Podcast of the same name and I think That just got confusing for people so Now this YouTube channel is just named After me because I can think of the the Another way to sum up the stuff that I Want to talk about here with you so we Just got this YouTube channel that's Just my name but that podcast where we Do talk about the Bible every single day Is going strong I have a blast with that I record that's sitting right here right Now I'm wrapping up a series where we're Going through the entire Bible one book Per day and I'm working on Revelation And let me tell you that is intense but I'm just about reaching a point where I've got all of that recorded and it's Just about all published and I would be Honored if you would consider going and Checking out that podcast as well so I Guess the the take-home thing here is I'm inviting you to go and check out a

Podcast that starts with five minutes And a podcast that starts with 10 Minutes and I guess whatever your Schedule allows means that's probably The one you ought to pick okay now That's everything I wanted to say I Appreciate you I'm Matt thanks for Hanging out with me on my YouTube Channel let's do this again soon

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