Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A New Reformation Day

Carla posted a very thought provoking list of questions for this Reformation Day. Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Does the evangelical church really need a new reformation?
What's an "evangelical?" In other words, yes!

2. If it happened, where would it start?
Wherever God wants it to ;-) Actually, I think it would start from the ground up. Meaning, it starts with individual Christians recovering the centrality of the Word in their own lives, and it involves putting off those sins and traditions which are counter to God's truth and putting on those things which befit the child of God and the Kingdom. This would affect our churches, and then it would spread to other churches and ministries and institutions from there.

3. What would happen to the book publishing/Christian music/retail industry, as a result?
Well, there would be a greater awareness and push for truth and integrity in those areas. But I would say that there would still be bad literature and music, and there would still be those in it for dishonest gain. The demarcation between the true believers and the false ones would be even more clear. There would be people wanting to get back to expository, exegetical study. They would read the Puritans and current solid teachers (MacArthur, Sproul, White). As for music, there would be a thirst for songs that actually make us think and that, horror of horrors, even convict us (Keith Green, Steve Camp)! There would also be more psalms and Biblically based hymns (Indelible Grace, Red Mountain Music).

4. How would major Christian conferences be affected, if at all?
They would be Biblical, not only in substance but in demeanor. Take the recent A&O cruise, for example. It was solid exposition of the text of Scripture. And it was not only taught, but it was applied. It was not only applied to us as individuals but it was used as a means to better give an answer to those who ask about the hope within us. As far as demeanor, there would be greater focus on Christ and His Kingdom rather than on ourselves and our own self-promotion. Also, there would not be such a dichotomy between "the conference week" and "returning to the real world." You have a bunch of Christians together at once, and like it or not the world is watching. Conferences are not a break from our witness, but rather they (should be) a great witness.

5. Who might be the leading men & woman to spearhead a new reformation?
Hard question. I could guess, but I'd probably be wrong. I am not sure anyone would have guessed Paul, Athanasius, Luther, Calvin.

6. How would it affect you personally, to see a wave of solid, outspoken men and women in the church, calling for a Sola Scriptura approach to Christianity?
It would greatly encourage me, but it would also remind me that I have my own traditions and that reformation may mean giving up those things. Like in the Great Awakening, there was great confidence and joy in the Word, but there was also great sorrow and repenting over sin. Also, it would cause me to pray more earnestly, as with reformation comes opposition, but inwardly and outwardly.

7. Did the first reformation go far enough?
I would say no, because "enough" is totally reformed, and we will never arrive there in this life.

8. Does Evangelicism 2007 really look like Biblical Christianity?
No. Just look at the Evangelical Theological Society, the vast majority of cemeteries (aka seminaries), churches, etc.

9. How would a new reformation change local church ministries (Sunday school classes, youth groups, music ministry, Bible studies, etc.)?
There would be a much greater devotion to the ministry of the local church. The Bible would have central place in matters of doctrine, life, and practice. Church discipline would be recovered, and pastors would actually shepherd. The church would act more like a body, and the fruits of the Spirit would be more greatly evidenced, particularly our love for one another.

10. Would Christian blogging have any kind of impact on such an idea?
I think it just did... :-)

Tim Challies' list of Reformation Day blog posts:

Two messages by my pastor that you may be interested in listening to:

Biblical Picture of a Reformer- last Sunday's SS lesson on Hezekiah

Reaching Our Generation- last Sunday's morning sermon


At 10/31/2007 11:35:00 PM , Blogger Carla Rolfe said...

Dear Marie,

first, thanks for the link at challies, I appreciated that.

What you said about #6 really hits home with me personally, because it's something that has actually been happening over the last few years. You're absolutely right in that the deeper into the Word we go, there is much joy but there is also much more repenting and sorrow over our own sin.

Excellent thoughts all the way around, and I've downloaded your pastor's Sunday school lesson to listen to in the morning with my coffee. I'll be downloading the other one tomorrow as well. You're blessed to be under good teaching and preaching the way you are, and I appreciate you sharing those messages.


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