Sunday, April 27, 2008

Episode #4: The Reformation

Some questions to ponder:

1. What about The Reformation has been lost even in Protestant Churches today?
2. How does the Reformation art Schaeffer displayed--Durer, Rembrandt--compare to Christian art today?
3. What is the exact meaning of "Sola Scriptura" with respect to knowledge and theological authority? What role does tradition have for a biblical Protestant?
4. Do you think the Reformers should have destroyed the idolatrous art of the Romanist churches?

2 comments:

Daniel said...

I think that a great lesson from the Reformation for today's Church is the idea of the Church "always reforming". It wasn't just a one-time deal. Although it is certainly easy for local churches especially to become static and not continually address recent cultural and theological concerns. But this is to the error and demise of the church.

The most recent Denver Seminary Magazine that has come out is dedicated to the idea of Christianity in America. It is somewhat of a debate whether the Church in America is progressing or declining. I tend to lean on the side of declining.

But nonetheless, the Church in America can take a remarkable lesson from the Reformation in the idea of "always reforming". It is something that we should continually look at as the global Church, the local church, and even the individual Christian.

Doug Groothuis said...

Daniel:

True: "A reformed church always reforming." Part of reforming today is getting back to The Reformations's essentials: the Five Solas, plus the priesthood of all believers and the doctrine of calling.

Emergents think they are "post-reformational" and experiment with Romanist mysticism and even Eastern religious practices. They should repent. Luther said in the 95 Theses that the Christian lives a life of repentance.

I have no doubt at all that the American church, overall, is in steep and deep decline.

1. There is little growth through evangelism.
2. Biblical illiteracy is rampant.
3. Materialism is the status quo. Most Christians spend more on entertainment than on giving to Kingdom work.
4. Fewer are going into missions as a life calling.
5. Worship is more about musical stlyle and popularity that about worshipping a holy God in ways that please Him.
6. The life of the mind is not prized; consequently, outreach at college campuses is not adequate (if it is attempted at all). On this, see Charles Malik's classic, A Christian Critique of the University.
7. Preaching emphasizes technology and the preacher's personality more than deep biblical themes.
8. It is more "sola cultura" than "sola Scriptura" (Os Guinness, Prophetic Untimeliness).
9 Prayer with fasting is almost unknown.
10. The Cross is not emphasized enough.

Sadly, one could go on. On al of these problems, see David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant (Eerdmans, 2008).

But "the gates of hell will not prevail against the church"--the true church is founded on the Rock of Christ himself.

Thank you for posting and thinking.