NEW SERIES – Voices From the Branches


Click here to see all posts in this series.

For the last two thousand years the Christian church has been growing, developing, changing, splitting, growing some more, splitting some more…on and on. Today, we are left with a plethora of traditions and innumerable denominations.

Now, the branches of the mighty tree of Christian history reach out to provide shelter to the world under their care.

Most of us had no say in what tradition we would embrace. We were simply born into it.

As a result, many (including myself) remain ignorant of other traditions. Unfortunately, ignorance can lead to misconceptions…to misrepresentations…to demonization of others. Wedges become fixed between this tradition and that. “Unity” is no longer defined by our common Source—our “trunk,” if you will. It is defined by our commitment to a tradition.

We blindly hack away at other branches in a battle of us against them.

Us on the side of truth. Them on the side of falsehood and deceit.

The only way we can begin to mend the broken branches is to find our unity in Christ rather than ourselves (it is, after all, his body).

We must take the time to understand each tradition’s place and purpose. To understand why these different traditions exist. To respect them for what they contribute to the work of the Kingdom. To be quick to listen and slow to speak. To recognize that we are all attempting to make sense of an incomprehensible God.

In the coming weeks I will be sharing interviews I’ve conducted with scholars, pastors, and bloggers from various traditions. I’ve asked each person six or seven simple questions about how each particular tradition began and what doctrines make them unique.

Recognizing that such short interviews will not settle any issues once and for all, I would be thrilled simply to be a catalyst for dialogue between all of our traditions. In doing so, perhaps we can begin to purge the pervasive fear of the other that clouds our minds and restrains our love. My hope and prayer is that this series will give us all deeper love for one another and a greater sense of unity as we all work to accomplish God’s will on Earth.

We will explore the following traditions*:

Take this opportunity to understand those traditions you never understood and to respect those traditions you never respected.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” –Jesus (Jn 13:35)


*Obviously this isn’t a comprehensive list. I won’t make any promises, but if you have a recommendation for another tradition and/or person to interview for it, then leave a comment and I’ll check it out!


15 responses to “NEW SERIES – Voices From the Branches

  1. Pingback: Dr. Roger Olson on the Baptist Tradition [Voices from the Branches] | Tylor Standley·

  2. Pingback: Kurt Willems on the Anabaptist Tradition [Voices from the Branches] | Tylor Standley·

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  4. Dennis Bratcher would be good to talk to about the Wesleyan tradition. He seems very knowledgeable about it. Sorry I neglected to mention that in my first comment.

  5. Pingback: Nate Pyle on the Reformed Tradition [Voices from the Branches] | Tylor Standley·

  6. Pingback: Dr. Caryn Riswold on the Lutheran Tradition [Voices from the Branches] | Tylor Standley·

  7. Pingback: Fr. Dwight Longenecker on the Catholic Tradition [Voices from the Branches] | Tylor Standley·

  8. I recommend you talk to Dennis Bratcher of the Christian Resoure Institute/Voice. He is a retired professor of the Old Testament, ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene and has recently served at a Methodist church. I think you might be especially interested in an article he wrote titled ”A World Parish and a Catholic Spirit’. There is a link for it on the right side of the CRI/Voice homepage.

  9. Thanks for this. It’s funny how the very word “Protestant” evokes the primary issue that undermines much of the church. The Protestant wing of the church was born in protest and continues in that tradition unfortunately. I am not Catholic but I find it interesting that the Catholic church has had maybe 3 splits in nearly 2000 years and the Protestant church seemingly has 3 splits a week. I believe one of the main keys the Catholic church has is the idea of “family loyalty”. That it’s okay to disagree because the family (love) comes before the doctrinal truth. “Sometimes we will agree to differ, always we will resolve to love, and unite to serve.” – E. Stanley Jones

    • “The Protestant wing of the church was born in protest and continues in that tradition unfortunately.”

      So true. We have a major problem when our doctrine requires us to stop loving our own brothers and sisters. Hopefully this series will help some of us out of that mess.

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