Thursday, October 31, 2013

Always Reforming...

By Lucas Cranach [Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons
Today is October 31st. In Protestant circles, it's a big day: Reformation Day. On this day we celebrate a German Roman Catholic priest and professor who went rogue back in 1517. On this day, almost 500 years ago, Martin Luther kicked off a domino rally that began another whole branch of the Christian Church. Luther wasn't the only one...folks like Zwingli, and Calvin, and Huss, and a host of others were part of this reaction to the practices of the Roman Catholic Church

The very name "Protestant" indicates a mindset for these early reformers. They were protest-ant; they were boldly speaking out against things they saw as needing change. The history of Protestantism is full of protest of injustice and against heresy. The Reformation is all about reforming--not replacing, mind--what is broken.

If you picture the whole of the Church as a tree (rooted in Jesus Christ), there are several major branches: Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestants. It's good for us to remember this though: we all share the same root. Though we might disagree in details, the central beliefs of all the different branches are the same!

Traveling along the Protestant branch, you'll find many smaller limbs: Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, and the like. Many of these limbs further split into small twigs of unique denominations.

I am part of a limb on the Protestant branch sometimes called Calvinist, or Reformed churches. This limb, like many on the Protestant branch of the Church, has split into many small denominational twigs, but the heart of what we believe is common to all the churches of the Reformed tradition.

In Reformed circles, we sometimes use Latin phrases to describe great truths. (Honestly, I think we do this to give greater gravity to what we're saying, but I wonder if it also might function as a "password" to try and judge who is "in" and who is "out." Sorry...I digress...) One of these great phrases is Semper Reformanda ("always reforming.") I love this--we remember that we come out of a Reformation, and that we are called to continue to reform.

As a Reformed Christian, I'm looking at the whole of Creation, recognizing it's tainted by sin, and looking for places I can play a role in renewal.

Does the political arena need renewal? Absolutely. And believers ought to be involved in it.

Do schools need to be reformed? Clearly. Things are not all hunky-dory. Change needs to happen. Faith-filled people should be invested in this!

How about the Church? Does the Church today need continued reform? I believe so. We're still broken, sinful there are still things to can reform.

All sorts of arenas need renewal.







International relations.




Quite a list? I'm afraid this barely scratches the surface!

My fellow believers, this is my challenge to you today: If you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord of all things and has redeemed all things, look for where you can take your role as a Christ-follower seriously. Where can you work for Christ-centered renewal today? What can you work to reform?

Blessings to you as you live out a semper reformanda calling!

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