Friday, April 12, 2013

A New Reformation

It seems painfully obvious to me that the Church (in general) is in need of a new Reformation, or, perhaps better said, a return to the first Reformation, which is the catholic faith of the Scriptures, passed on through the apostolic succession of doctrine from the Fathers of the Church to these days. The state of our Church appears to me to be in very bad condition, similar to the state it was just before the Reformation in the 16th century. The problems are many but I believe that if we commit to the following three things, that God will bring about a Reformation in His Church:

1. Commitment to the Holy Scriptures as the Supreme Rule of Faith

I cannot stress enough the centrality of the Sacred Scriptures for all Christians, but especially Anglican Christians. Our Articles of Religion are clear of the role of the Holy Scriptures in the life of the Church as the supreme rule of faith, by which all things must be judged. First, the Tractarian movement withered away at the Church's commitment to the Scriptures by attempting to put the traditions of the Church on the same level as the Scripture in authority and power. While the traditions of the Church are important and should be trusted, they must be in conformity with Holy Scripture, and nothing that the Church declares which is contrary to the Scriptures must be followed by Christians. The modernist progressives have equally eroded the authority of Scripture by placing human reason on an equal authority with it. The tendency is also to deny that the Scriptures are the supreme rule of faith by imagining some list of problems with the Bible.

I think an excellent way for Anglicans to show their commitment to Scripture is to simply read them. The easiest way I know of beginning to do this is to commit to the original Prayer Book lectionary of 1662 (or even 1789 if you wish). This lectionary commits to the serious reading of Scripture. Four (or more) chapters are read each day. The lectionary follows the civil calendar so to be able to read more of Scripture. The majority of the Old Testament and Apocrypha are read through in the year and the New Testament twice (except Revelation).

Above all, the Scriptures must be understood as God's Word to us and not something we offer to God. The Scriptures are a means of grace, equally as the Holy Communion and Baptism are, it is high time we take advantage of this great gift we have been given.

2. Commitment to a Renewal of Our Faith in God

The second thing, I think, we must do, is to renew our commitment to God. It seems  that, at times, we have lost our faith in God as Ruler of the Universe. We must never forget that God controls all things and will work within His time. This point is more of a call to renewal of personal holiness and piety. It seems that renewal and revival go hand-in-hand with Reformation, especially if one looks at the history of the reformist movements of the Church. To me, it seems that the Reformation really began in or around 1000 A.D. with the advent of the call to reform the Church, at first morally, but later doctrinally. The public morality of the clergy and laity speaks directly to the credibility of the Gospel offer. Clergy must strive to represent the Gospel for which they have given their lives. However, the laity more so must remember that they publicly represent the Gospel of Christ everywhere they go. When Christians take the moral commands of the Bible seriously, then the doctrine of the Scripture is subsequently taken seriously.

3. Commitment to the Propagation of Historical Knowledge

This last point pertains specifically to the Anglican Christian. Unfortunately, public knowledge of the nature and history of our Church is just now becoming publicly available for study. The advent of the "information age" could be a divine provision for the Reformation of His Church. You see the problem, especially in the US, has been that since the Tractarian takeover of our Church in the latter part of the 19th century, most information has been filtered through that faulty logic. The public knowledge of our Protestant Church had nearly disappeared. Now, the information age has provided a wealth of information and resources which were previously unavailable. The wealth of knowledge that we now have should be utilized to point the churchman to the rich history of his Church but, most of all, to point him to the truth of the Scriptures. False doctrine has been presented as truth and as "Anglican" for over a century in the Protestant Episcopal Church and elsewhere. It's time for churchmen to stand up and resist Tractarian and Modernist errors. The renewal to the Scriptures will lead us to question the doctrines presented to us as Scriptural and Anglican. Our renewal to our faith in God will lead us to trust him anew with the vigor we had in times past. The renewal of our minds will lead us to a new future, shedding the errors of the past, exchanging them with the truth of the Scripture, the catholic faith, of the Fathers, Doctors, and Divines of the Church, that which our Reformers died for, and which desired to passed on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I pray that God will reform every church again especially the Anglican Church back to the Scriptures! May God have mercy on us!