Christianity has always changed. It is a dynamic faith in a dynamic world. Even before it was called Christianity it was shaped by the Jewish Revolt and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. When the faith was co-opted by empire with the conversion of Constantine, the religion changed. And it wasn’t just politics and power that produced change. The invention of the printing press and the availability of the Bible to greater numbers was certainly critical in the development of Protestantism. I cannot imagine the doctrine of sola scriptura without Gutenberg!
Is change bad? Some make that claim. Selective Literalists claim that there is an unchanging moral code stretching back to Moses, though as the name I use for them suggests, they select which passages to apply literally and which to ignore. I refuse to use the word “fundamentalists” for this group, as it suggests that they have something fundamentally right!
Our understanding of what it is to be human changes. The idea that we could completely destroy life on earth would have never occurred to the Christians of prior centuries. They viewed the world as eternal, expecting a divine act to bring it all to a halt. Today we know that we can destroy the world without God’s help. And the hyper-individualized Christianity that has been created to justify greed and nationalism is to blame in large part for the coming collapse of life on Earth.
It is time for Christians to change the faith with intention, to examine and to challenge constructs like prosperity theology and human dominion over the planet. I only pray we can do so quickly enough to re-order our world and to save it. Christ would expect no less of us.