Semper Reformanda Beyond Morals?

Following the Protestant Reformation of the 16th-century, we evangelicals have been given an important heritage. Many will be aware of the five of sola’s:

  • Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone)
  • Sola fide (by faith alone)
  • Sola gratia (by grace alone)
  • Solo Christos (Christ alone)
  • Soli Deo gloria (Glory to God alone)

These were, no doubt, important foundation stones in the midst of some rather nasty things taking place in the Roman Catholic Church of the west in those days. Martin Luther also championed a very important phrase, semper reformanda, or in longer fashion, Ecclesia semper reformanda est. This Latin is best translated as, ‘the church must always be reforming.’

That’s our heritage as Protestant-evangelicals, and I recognise it as a very healthy and biblical heritage to pass on to us.

But this would be my bone to pick with some evangelicals.

While, in the vein of our Reformation fathers, we might give lip-service to the ever popular phrase of semper reformanda, I think some might only accept this bedrock of an expression in one important area of our lives rather than two. Continue reading

Old Paradigms Must Change

As Christians, we have a very long history of faith, one that even exists well before the “New Testament”. To deny such or be blind to such is a dangerous thing, no doubt. I’ve shared on this before and really don’t need to reiterate a whole lot at this point.

But, at the same time, Christ is still preparing his church, his ekklesia, to be what he called us to be. You can see something of this in an all-important passage like Eph 4:11-16 – certain ministries helping the body of Christ move towards unity and maturity. And so, our lot in life is change, continued transformation. That is our call whether we like it or not.

I’m am always astounded that Jesus did not arrive on the scene to simply maintain the status quo. The people of God at that time held to certain beliefs and dogmas and models that were paradigmatic for them, even part of the faith tradition carried on for centuries, if not millennia. But they were not the end all, be all, do all. A new paradigm was about to be set in motion by God’s anointed Messiah-King. The normal status quo amongst God’s people could not remain if God’s greater purposes were to be accomplished.

And such set a precedence for the rest of this age. Continue reading

Too Cautious For Our Own Good

Risk is not easy. Change is not easy. Finding a particular mold, a set way to do something, provides comfort to our souls.

Now let me preface this by saying I do believe that there is a true ancient path in which we are called to walk. I love these words of Jeremiah:

This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls. (Jer 6:16)

But I am also convinced this ancient path is not intricately wrapped up in a kind of static mold. Even the ways of God carry a dynamic to them, meaning they are not simply motionless and immobile. Continue reading

Stop Thinking Like Peter

Something significant took place about a third of the way through the book of Acts.

Oh, God had been trying to get across a message for a long, long time. It started in that thesis statement we find in Acts 1:8 – a Spirit-empowered people would see the kingdom expand beyond the border of Jerusalem and Judea, on to Samaria and to the Gentiles that were scattered even to the ends of the earth.

But they still weren’t getting it.

So God somehow providentially organises persecution to be the tool for sending them out into Samaria:

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. (Acts 8:1)

Yet, did you catch the detail? Others were scattered further abroad into Judea and then into off-limits Samaria. But the apostles stayed at home base.

Puzzling, right? Continue reading