If We Were to Have A New Reformation …

John_CalvinWhen John Hus, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John Calvin and  many others sought the reform of the church, their initial intention was not to start a new denomination. In fact, Hus and Wycliffe died in the church in which they were born. The dominant  issues they were confronted by, and in turn confronted, revolved around the primacy of the Word, the Papacy, doctrines added by the church, and corruption. Half a millennium later there are some of the old issues but also many new ones as well as old issues dressed in new clothes. The other day I asked if we needed a new reformation. If we do, what would need to be reformed? Here are some thoughts in no particular order except the first:

  • KJV-King-James-Version-Bible-I believe there needs to be a return to the understanding of the inerrancy of Scripture. Too many churches and believers now treat the Word of God as a “guide” rather than God speaking to His people. Does that mean there will no disagreements? Not at all. We still need to understand what is said, however, we will begin from a common understanding.
  • There may be some churches who, quite rightly, claim that this is their current position. But that leads to a second area of reform. There are some churches that need to stop reading Scripture through the lens of their historical confessions. I am not saying these confessions are unimportant, but a confessional obsession can blind us to Scripture’s intent for this age. A confession is a historical and cultural document ( as well as a religious one) so there are always elements that are out of place or balance with era in which we now live. Some of the anti catholic rhetoric would find new targets in the C21st. Then again, may be the rhetoric was misplaced in the beginning. Many issues the church needs to consider were never contemplated centuries ago.  The environment, the nature of mission, social justice and the place of women and children in society are just a few.
  • For Western Christians a reformation of values is required.  I believe the time has come  to confess our addiction to materialism and the C21st lifestyle. Today we are in the world and of the world.
  • Another Western blight that needs reforming is our understanding of the family – why are family breakdowns occurring at the same rate as society as a whole?
  • The Word in Hand

    The Word in Hand

    From the time of the Edict of Milan in 313 there has been a steady and unwavering progression of the church from organism to organisation. The Reformation didn’t deal with it but now, more than ever in our disintegrating social fabric, the church needs to reveal the power of community – the body of Christ.

These are a few random thoughts on the need for reform. We, particularly in the West, need to confess our failings, our wandering from God and His Word and humbly seek to start afresh. What do you think?

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Categories: christian, Christianity, Church, Reflections | Tags: , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “If We Were to Have A New Reformation …

  1. Peter,
    All valid points and great thoughts.
    But I can’t help thinking these are symptoms of Christlessness.
    I propose we emphasize Christ above all else. Above the five solas, for though Christ is in them, none of them are specifically about giving Christ preeminence in all things. As you said, the reformers wanted to differentiate the reformation from the Catholic church.
    Sola Christus Enphinaim. Emphasize Christ Alone. Not just salvation is through Christ alone. But all things are of Him, through Him, and He holds all things together.

    • I agree they are symptoms. That is why I started with the Word first. The Word will rekindle the 5 solas and enable us to understand the symptoms and be reminded of the cure. However a reformation requires soul searching. We need to confess how far we have wandered from God (in the West). We need to confess our spiritual poverty – in faith and practice.

      • Amen.Godly repentance is what we need.
        Repentance that knows we have been loved through Christ’s cross, and don’t deserve it, that He knew that, and loved us anyway.

  2. nbiser

    Agreed! Good post! My ideas for reformation are outlined below…..

    Has anyone heard of the Solemn League and Covenant? I think that this is the biggest area that needs reform, because it is a broken covenant, one that hasn’t been kept for centuries: God won’t bless us until they are renewed and held by. Covenants in the Bible were held binding for all generations. Thus, even though it has been broken, and hasn’t been thought of or used for hundreds of years, it still binds the descendants of the nations, and the people, who signed it and held by it. The original nations were England, Scotland, and Ireland, while almost everyone within those nations signed their names to the covenant, thus binding their descendents. If you have any English, Scottish, or Irish blood in you at all, you are more than likely bound! However, I don’t think that England, Scotland, and Ireland are the only nations bound to these covenants: their descendants, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are all bound by them. Why? Because almost everyone in those nations are descended from the original signers, because we see that when Israel split into two kingdoms in the Bible, both Judah and Israel were still bound by the covenant made with God at Sinai, just the fact that that one nation broke from the other doesn’t mean that the breaker away is released from the covenant that it is engaged in, because the nations of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada still hold the King and/or Queen of England to be their ruler, thus, they are bound, as being ruled by the Queen, who is one of those bound to the covenant, in this case.

    My point is, we are bound before God to uphold the Solemn League and Covenant, and we aren’t doing it. God won’t bless the church until we uphold the broken covenant and return to the old paths our covenanting forefathers laid for us. Here is a link that will provide you some more materials on this topic, it also provides the Solemn League and covenant. http://www.truecovenanter.com/

  3. mickqhs

    You asked what I think so I might as well start with your first proposition. You say we need to begin from a common understanding,, this being an understanding of the inerrancy of scripture.
    Do you really think such an understanding is possible among a diverse group of Christians and psychological personalities.? i don’t even know what Pieter Stok’s version of scriptural innerancy looks like let alone whether it has anything in common with mine. For example whether the “innerancy” occurs at the time of writing, at the time of interpretation, or at the time the individual reads the scripture.

    • Hi Mick, the doctrine of inerrancy states that the original manuscripts were without error. I am sure we have added inaccuracies through translation and etc. I am also sure that interpretations will differ. However inerrancy I believe is Scripture’s own starting point and should be the Christian’s as well.

      • So what your saying is that the starting point has to be a leap in faith concerning both the understanding of the definition of “innerrancy” and how the understanding of that word applies to scriptural interpretation. I am trying to establish from you whether you think all Christian individuals must have the same relationship with scripture as Pieter has in order for the “new reformation” to happen?

      • You may have noticed I am not the pope. I am simply stating what I believe to be correct and make no judgements on others. And yes, it is a faith position. Historically, the further we have moved from God and His word, the more chaos we have created – C21st Western society being a case in point.

  4. Yes I have noticed the pope does not have a beard and I respect your return to subjectiveness,
    Was the mention of “His word” deliberately without the “W” ?

    • The w was a mistake. :(. Infallibility is still but a distant dream for me. But not as distant as it was on a grassy hill at qhs even if I did declare myself God! 😉

  5. Well I guess if we toss the old dualism out the window and we agree about the omnipresence God then God is both within you and outside of you so in that sense maybe you were/are God only without the extra tricks up your sleeve!……………how come I am wasting so much time today on this silly dialogue?

    • I was going to say, you are interrupting my report writing – then again that might explain why I am easily distracted.

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