Friday, June 8, 2012

It's Time To Finish The Great Reformation

The Great Reformation changed the world for the good in the 1500’s. Today, both Protestants and Catholics acknowledge there was a huge need for change. But its improvements were largely confined to doctrinal practices.

There were massive problems with the doctrine of that era and their thinking desperately needed to be reformed—to return to a biblical foundation. While many of the leaders of the Reformation called us to continually rethink and reform, we pretty much quit after they died. And what they changed didn't go much past the sermon content. They didn’t examine the church practices of their day much at all. Yes, some of the most glaring church practices were stopped, like the selling of indulgences, where people could buy the “right” to sin. But the Protestant church that emerged from that historical turmoil carried with it a structure and strategy that was very similar to the culturally compromised church it had broken away from.

They kept the same buildings; kept the same service order; kept the same financial model (tithing); kept  the same staffing model. They improved the teaching content and kept in housed within the medieval model of church.

And that medieval model of church solidified in an era when being clergy meant being one of the elite who could actually read. The educated few stood in front of the ignorant many and explained the scriptures to them. It was a church model shaped by the cultural forces of its time, not through serious study of the scripture.

I'm glad they started the Reformation. I'm so grateful they were courageous enough to call for sound doctrine. But I'm sad over 500 years later we're still stuck where they started. It’s time to finish the Reformation and return not just our beliefs but also our behavior to a radically biblical foundation.

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