Friday, February 8, 2008

Experiencing Genuine Reformation

Amidst the market-driven mentality, and our churches being run like coorporations, and amidst all the unorthodox doctrines being masqueraded as genuine, authentic, biblical Christianity, it is true that we need a modern reformation. Many of today's Christians go to churches to find entertainment rather than eternal life. Some friends of mine have left my church, which is firm in sound doctrine and biblical exegesis, and have went to a church in town that is not that. In fact, this church, the sixth largest church in Louisville has had Joel Osteen present on numerous occasions, and the church is a fan of Rob Bell. But, they can't tell the difference between our church, and that church. The lack of discernment of today's Christians proves to me that we need a modern reformation. Today's Christians have never read the Bible all the way through. If we are live on every word that comes from the mouth of God, then certainly we must be familiar with every word. Yet, that is not the case with Christians today. The lack of discipline shows me that we need a modern reformation. With the lack of sound doctrine, the lack of serious discernment, and the lack of spiritual discipline, how can we experience genuine reformation?

I believe we can gain our answer from the godly men who walked before us known as the Puritans. For one of my classes, I am reading J.I Packer's book, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life. In this book, Packer's notes that the puritans used the word reform in the way that we use the word revival. Today, when we think of the word reform, it carries the idea of an external, visible change of something. When reforming a particular local church, that might include reforming the church's style of government, reforming various doctrinal positions, and other things. When the puritans used the word 'reform' they did not mean just an external change but, and inward change. They realized that for any authentic reform, or purification (as they sought to purify or reform the church), their must be inward revival. Their must be an inward renewal of zeal and passion for the Word of God, for the glory of God, and for the salvation of lost sinners.

Believers, if we want to see genuine, authentic reformation, we will have to be committed to an inward renewal of our minds and hearts, reviving every fiber of our being. Only then will we experience genuine reformation. We can change the externals, but then we are only like the pharisees. Only when we are being inwardly revived and renewed will we experience genuine reformation in our churches!


Mike Y said...

I think a clarification should be made between revival and revivalism at this point. When we talk of the reformation during the puritan times or the revival of Edwards' day, we're talking not of mere repentance on the part of wayward Christians and a renewed commitment. We're talking about professing, non-Christians, who became saved.

This stands in stark contrast to the revivalism of the 2nd great awakening, which sought and observed a temporary change of heart on the part of the greater Christian population.

One produced a lasting effect that was deeply spiritual. The later merely produced a psychological change.

True revival comes from the new birth, not from zeal. We don't want to fall into the trap of the Oberland College and New Measures.

rpavich said...

Mike Y,
Well said; good point.

External changes are just that; external gloss that is temporary. The new birth is the only real lasting change of a man...sadly, we lack this type of change these days. We are not content to preach the word and let God do the changing...we want to affect outward change by our own methods...that's not going to work.

Mike Y said...

rpavich: Unfortunately, I am stubborn and don't always remember my own experiences until it's too late. But through the years I have repeatedly preached hard to bring about changes, only to hang my head in defeat afterward. And after each defeat, that's when God has done a miraculous work.

I preached the gospel to my parents for 3.5 years when I finally gave up, convinced they would never be saved. It was that same day when God caused my mom to begin asking questions and then gave her comprehension and belief.

I lost family trying to bring them over to Calvinist doctrine and out of fundamentalism. I tried in the flesh for years until I finally gave up on them ever coming over. And in an act of desperation, did irreparable damage. Now, they're all calvinists and actively shun the fundamentalist errors they used to cling to.

I could go on with so many examples. I am sometimes convinced that God simply waits for me to fail miserably, just so he can show his true power. And while I know this to be the case, it's only a matter of time before my next stubborn spell.

rpavich said...

You are not alone my brother...I'm the same way...and everytime I tell myself that I won't forget that...I plow ahead like a bull in a china shop!

If I could just learn each lesson only once I'd be all set!