Seven Components of a New Reformation (Part 1)
Were a “New Reformation” to occur, what would it seek to reform in Christianity? Over the past four years I’ve explored in depth what appears to have gone wrong. I could go on documenting the nature and causes of our crisis, but at some point a critic must turn to solutions. In any case, I believe that enough has been disclosed, analyzed and discussed to enable a first cut at possible solutions.
In the figure heading this post I have listed the seven components that could guide the directions of a New Reformation. They are only one man’s opinion. I have surely left out important components. Others may be found to be unnecessary or even counterproductive. However, the point isn’t to get it absolutely right, but rather to get Christians thinking about the reforms necessary to address our current predicament.
I will provide short summaries to get the ball rolling.
1. Unity in Christ alone
The core issue that is driving our societal crisis is identity politics. We have been shattered into warring factions along the lines of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, geography and culture by a political movement that benefits from the ensuing chaos. The Church is internally roiled by this same dynamic.
Christianity offers the one alternative that unites believers — identity in Jesus Christ. In Christ we all meet as sinners in need of His redemption. In Christ we can be united by humility and thankfulness. The newly reformed Church must openly and effectively offer this alternative in identity to our broken world.
2. Return to Biblical authority and theological orthodoxy
We have come to the point in the Mainline denominations at which our most highly credentialed theologians tell us that the Bible teaches things that are quite different than what the text actually says. Nor do they stop at mere interpretive distortion, but boldly proceed on to atheism, heresy and apostasy. In virtually all cases the motive appears to be the alignment of Biblical teaching with a secular Progressive political policy.
This situation has arisen in part due to an abuse of trust by our academics, clergy and theologians. However, these abuses have become so common and obvious that we in the laity must accept responsibility for silently accepting what we know is false teaching.
There will never be total agreement on Biblical interpretation or theological doctrine. However, unless a means can be found to more clearly delineate the boundary between credible and false Biblical interpretation / theology we will never extricate ourselves from the current chaotic, destructive environment.
3. Gospel focused preaching, education and evangelism
If we decide to place our identity within Christ then we must recommit ourselves to following Him. Therefore, we must at the very least agree on what is at the core of His Gospel. This by no means should restrict the work of understanding and applying the Gospel to our lives. However, if we can’t even agree on what Christ’s Gospel is at its core then we will be condemned to unending chaos.
So, when I say “Gospel focused” I don’t mean to limit the scope of “preaching, education and evangelism” to the endless repetition of a rote statement. I do hope that by agreeing on just what the core of Christ’s Gospel is we can more confidently and faithfully live out our calling as Christians.