October 30, 2012

9.5 Theses in Honor of Reformation Day


In honor of Reformation Day, I offer 9.5 indications of a need for reformation (both personal and corporate) and a challenge for each of them.

1. Prosperity theology
Our God owns all things and we can confidently trust him to supply our needs, but we are not called to confess a theology of health, wealth, and comfort, but rather a theology of humility, suffering, and faith, where an abundance of joy in Christ will overflow in a wealth of generosity even in the midst of severe affliction and extreme poverty.

2. Worldly priorities
As citizens of another kingdom, our priorities should be those of our King, and this involves a restructuring of life, schedule, and finances around the goal of seeing the name of Christ magnified in the obedience of faith among all nations.

3. Unworldly priorities
Christianity is not a faith of seclusion that provides us an escape from this world or addresses part of our lives, but one that brings us to the understanding that the Christian is a whole person, that all of creation is to be redeemed, and that faith drives activity in every area of our lives, and this culminates in a recognition that all work is God's work and should be pursued as such.

4. Fleshly pursuit of change
We must acknowledge that a society is only as wicked as the hearts of its members, and that a Church is only as effective as the purity of its gospel and the sincerity of its prayer.

5. Not speaking on behalf of all oppressed
We are responsible for being a prophetic witness on behalf of all who are oppressed by systemic evils, silenced by violators of conscience, or slain for the sake of wars of power or idols of convenience.

6. Compromise for the sake of relevance
Rather than compromising on the truth and the power of our confession to fit in with the crowd, we need a willingness to be the oddball, faithfully bearing our Master's shame, while blowing up every false stereotype in the process.

7. Prayerlessness
A life and community devoted to adoring God in prayerful worship, and persistently interceding on behalf of one another and the entire community is the calling of the Church.

8. Abandoning Biblical authority
We must be vigorously defending the authority of Scripture as the sufficient and sole rule of faith and life, and the final arbiter of all disputes, advocating sound principles of interpretation and application, rejecting both the hermeneutical tricks of those who would undermine its authority while still pledging allegiance and the non-contextual proof-texting of those who by their misuse bring Scripture itself into disrepute.

9. Not being explicit about the Gospel
May we never assume or presume that Christ's perfectly obedient life, substitutionary death for our sins, and new creation launching resurrection and exaltation are an unspoken understanding, but always attempt to make it explicit and endeavor to find new ways to apply that reality to life.

9.5 Not being explicit about the whole Gospel
We must commit to avoid reducing the gospel to a timeless, abstract truth about sin and forgiveness, conversion and personal salvation, four spiritual laws and a sinners prayer, by divorcing the story's climax from the story as God has told it - that story of Adam, Abraham, Israel, Covenant, Sin, the Messiah, the redemption of the nations, and the restoration of Creation.

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