Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Winds of Next Reformation

Some of us sense the winds of change in the church, a second reformation. From my side of reading church history it looks like the first reformation accomplished some good.  There were also some negative results.  If we are entering a second reformation how can we navigate the good and the bad that may come?  What might it look like?

Some good from the first reformation:
  • The Bible was put into the hands of common people. It was translated into common languages, and people were encouraging each others to read it for themselves.
  • Believers began to question the authority and infallibility of the Pope.
  • Believers rejected the past practice of the church selling indulgences.
  • Believers rejected the past practice of buying and selling church positions.
  • Clergy were allowed to get married
  • Believers rejected the idea that they received some special grace simply by participating in the sacraments of confirmation, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony.

 Some negative results of the first reformation:
  • Believers began to accept the idea that the church was divided. Thousands of denominations or sects have emerged.  The understanding that there is one universal church was for the most part lost.
  • Christians tortured and killed each other to protect, defend, or promote their preferred system of beliefs.  Some of the hatred and mistrust has been past on for hundreds of years, Ireland's conflict comes to mind.

It was a painful time for the church, yet 500 years later, for the most part we are thankful for the results of the reformation.  We should recognize that the Catholic church has also undergone reformations of it's own.

Some good I believe may come during the next reformation. These are some common themes I keep reading in other peoples books and blogs:
  • Priesthood of all believers.  This was one of the rally cries of the first reformation.  But I don't believe the generations that followed have fully understood what it means.  For the most part we still have a church that is run by a special class of clergy.  There has always been a belief that Christ is King and Lord over every member of His church.  But sometimes it seems other men have placed themselves in positions above others, between the church and God.
  • I believe it will become increasingly clear that Christ is the head of His body, which we call the church.
  • Good news of the kingdom of God.  I am impressed that many in this new movement are starting with the message of Jesus as King and Lord.  There is a growing understanding that Jesus did preach the gospel, and that He was the gospel.
  • I believe denominations, sects and divisions will fade away.
  • Believers will be more interested in making disciples than running programs.  There will be a shift towards building relationships over putting together the best show.
  • More believers will become active participants in all aspects of the faith. They will be obedient in caring for others, teaching others, loving others, baptizing others, serving others, and admonishing others.
  • I believe there will be an increased obedience to the command to go out into the world to make disciples.  There will be a shift from come and see, to go and tell.
  • I believe there will be a shift from teaching others to follow us, to teaching others to follow Christ. At times there may be some overlap. The need to control others to become like us will be replaced with a desire to love and encourage others to become more like Christ.
  • Our time and financial resources will shift from investing into buildings, programs and staff, to sharing and caring for people.

Concerns during this reformation:

  • Some people will get hurt.  There will be pain, and misunderstanding. At times it may seem like a battle both for those defending the current systems, and for those promoting change.  I pray it won't be as messy as the last reformation.
  • There will be some bad ideas and false teaching (as has always been the case).  We will need to rely on each other, the Holy Spirit, and our Scriptures to navigate the Way of truth.

Am I just imagining this movement taking traction?

Am I missing any key currents of change?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


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2 comments:

Steve Martin said...

Jon,

I wish I had your optimism for a second Reformation.

I would love to see it happen, but I think that the old sinner in us just won't allow for that kind of real freedom in the church.

Jesus said, "when the Son of Man returns with His holy angels, will He find faith?"

I do believe there will be plenty of self-focused, ladder-climbing religion. (there has always been lots of that).

But faith...that's a whole nuther matter.

We have been preaching the sole sufficiency of Christ, alone, for close to 50 years in our church. And we have always struggled to keep the doors open. Meanwhile, the mega-churches around us who are all about a cooperative venture with God, are filled to the brim with thousands who LOVE the religious project.

William Floyd said...

I don't really see a reformation as much as a restoration. I'm thinking that the talk against the ic, the various books put put about, and other messages are simply birth pangs, A precursor sent to prepare people for something God's going to do.