Was The Reformation a Success?

“Was the Reformation a success?” requires a carefully nuanced answer. While the Protestant Reformation unquestionably transformed Western Christendom,  the fuller story of the Reformation manifests many problems, failures, frustrations and difficulties. It proved to be a significant but flawed product, often victor over opposition but also victim of its own weaknesses. In this regard, the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century was much like any other movement or century in recorded history. Without doubt, what transpired in the sixteenth century was momentous. The claim, though, that it was a success — however vigorously asserted and desperately held by subsequent Protestants — is hard to sustain, if the whole story of the Reformation is kept in mind.

Jim Payton, Getting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings, pg. 233.

  • At the least, we did not live up to our own standards. In fact, we still don’t.