My dear friend Kate and I had a wonderful discussion and debate this morning about the church, the reformation, and life. She is one of the most gracious and humble people I know. Her perspective always makes me better. In between catching up on kids, marriage, and dogs, we talked about the ways that we as the church have and have not lived out the implications for which Luther and his co-laborers strove.
Our conversation reminded me of something Doug, Kyle, and I worked on a few months ago. We were dreaming about what we believe God wants to do in the Western Church to purify His Bride. We were considering these things in light of God’s desire to enjoy every single day with us that is the heartbeat of the book Doug and I are writing. This is a bit long for a single post so I’ll put it up in several parts. What would add, remove, clarify or shout an old school ‘amen’ to?
Grace, peace, and truth,
The first Reformation breathed life and grace into the Church. Key doctrines corrected in this time were God’s sovereignty, understandings of sin and grace, the priesthood of believers, and etc. Many of these need to be resurrected and renewed among believers today.
People need to know, for example, that sovereignty does not apply only to the moment of salvation or the harsh judgment of God. It is a joyful and grace-filled doctrine that God is simultaneously good, affectionate and sovereign in every single circumstance of life.
We need to know that God does indeed hate sin but is patient with our immaturity and process toward righteousness. The way to honor Him is has more to do with living life with Him than a living by a list of rules. We must not allow a view of sin to eclipse God’s pleasure in Fathering us or understate our value to Him made in His image.
We desperately need to be reminded that all believers are saints according to Scripture. Clergy or staff should equip the saints to do the work of the ministry rather than doing the bulk of that work themselves. Those who serve the Body need the grace to remember that while they have a holy calling, so does every other person in the Body. We need to live as though men and women are equally eligible to serve the Body according to their gifts, callings, and maturity because they are.
We have largely lost the mainspring of growth—seeing and responding to the glory of God in the word, in creation, and in circumstances. We become part of God’s family in a moment but live out that reality over a lifetime journey. Sanctification is an adventure that at times is wonderful and at others is heart wrenching and painful.
We have gone to one extreme or the other, missing a proper perspective on the role of the Holy Spirit to illumine, lead, pray for, comfort and instruct the believer.
To be continued…