Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Cost of Reformation

Would you like to see the Church lay down "Your Best Life Now" and commit itself to the teachings the Holy Scriptures and truly live for Christ? Do you want to see a move of God that brings true revival and renewal in our sin plagued nation?
Do you want Reformation?

If so, are you ready for what it may cost?

I have a booklet entitled Reforming a Local Church. In the booklet Ernest C. Reisinger identifies five things Reformation may cost a young pastor today:

  1. Denominational popularity and public approval. The work of reformation is not the way to climb the denominational ladder.
  2. They will, at times, be in that awful task of tearing down some false super-structure that has been built without a doctrinal foundation. This super-structure was built by cheap, shallow,man-centered evangelism.

  3. They may have to suffer at the hands of a large, unregenerate church membership, and especially, from unregenerate and religiously ignorant deacons and leaders.

  4. They may also have to suffer the pain of being misunderstood by the church leaders, fellow ministers, and more painful still, sometimes by their own loved ones (wives who do not understand their husband's position).

  5. Sacrifice financially, especially in some cases where carnal and ignorant church leaders will use money as a threat to drive preachers from the pulpit.

Reformation has always come with a cost. It cost Luther, Calvin, Tyndale, the Puritans, and a host of others. Some endured persecution; some even paid the ultimate price.

In the mid-1500's, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were condemned for Protestantism during the reign of Queen "Bloody Mary." They were sentenced to die by burning at the stake. At their execution, they were both fastened to a stake with a bag of gunpowder tied to their necks. When the fire began to burn, Latimer called out to Ridley:

"Be of good comfort Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace in England, as I trust shall never be put out."

Dear Reformers, nobody is threatening us with being burned at the stake. No one is burning our homes and torturing our families. I doubt any of us are living with a bounty on our head. Therefore let us study earnestly, work charitably, and pray fervently that God will fan the flames of Reformation in our day!
Soli Deo Gloria!
(picture: Latimer and Ridley execution from Foxe's Book of Martyrs.)

1 comment:

Gordan said...

This piece gives me an idea for a great satire that I wish someone else would write. :)

That is, instead of Ridley and Latimer, what would conversation be like if it was Rick Warren and Joel Osteen being led to the burning stake? I wonder how they'd try to comfort themselves? This may be terrible of me, but I imagine honestly both men crying and whimpering and saying whatever they needed to say to be spared, not to mention offering great sums of money in exchange for their miserable lives.

I am ashamed to say that I would likely pay to see that. (Not their actual deaths, but merely what they'd do on the way to the gallows.)