Why Reformation Press: Using the full force of our lives to press the mind of Christ into the cultureNovember 28, 2017
Five hundred years ago, people did not read the Bible on their own, ministry was done by a professional class, and it was widely believed that good works were necessary in order to get into heaven. People did not understand that in Christ alone, it was possible to be saved by grace alone through faith alone.
As we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the spiritual realities faced by Martin Luther at the time look and feel much like 2017. A comprehensive study released in 2016 by LifeWay/Ligonier about the state of theology in America reveals the nation is not only biblically illiterate, but theologically confused.
- 58% of Americans say God is the author of the Bible but 51% also say it is open to each person’s interpretation as he or she chooses.
- 61% of Americans believe God is concerned about our day to day decisions, and 65% believe God has authority over all people because He created human beings. But then only 50% believe the Bible (which 58% believe is God’s word) has the authority to tell us what we must do.
Then, PEW Research surveyed US protestants for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and found only half affirm core Christian beliefs. For instance, 46% say the Bible is the sole source of religious authority for Christians and 46% say faith alone is needed to attain salvation (52% say good deeds are needed to get into heaven).
As friends of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, none of this comes as any surprise. We witnessed the erosion of the American Mainline from the inside out. We have stood together for faithful Christianity and declared Jesus as the way and the truth, even as exiles in our own denominations.
And it did not end there. As goes the Mainline, so goes the culture. The same fights we had for decades within the denomination spilled into the culture at large. As we look around, we see the same deception and confusion about who God is and what He declares to be good. Because when the Church forgets her rightful calling, the world suffers too. Compromising with the culture, as some have done, compromises the witness of the Church.
We need a new Reformation. We need a restoration of the Word of God to its rightful place in the life of every believer and the restoration of the church to her rightful place in the life of the culture.
At Reformation Press, we intend to use the full force of our lives to press the mind of Christ into the culture. If that’s a movement that excites you, join me today in this re-newed adventure of speaking The Truth of God’s Word to a culture that literally doesn’t know The Way to Life. Join us in the new Reformation at www.ReformationPress.org
Martin Luther’s rediscovery of the teachings of the Bible ignited a conversation about the nature and work of Jesus Christ, the nature and faith of people and the nature and role of the Church. Eventually Luther’s conversation with church leadership sparked wider conversations and as regular people started reading the Bible for themselves, and the Reformation was born. The principles, which grew of the Reformation are known as the Five Solas: salvation is revealed in the Bible Alone to come by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Alone and all to the Glory of God Alone. These principles need to be communicated anew to a generation in great need of a new Reformation.
When Luther listed 95 points of departure between the practices of the church and the teachings of the Bible, he was challenging the core power center of his day. They are known as the 95 Theses, and it was 500 years ago on October 31 when he nailed them to the door of a Castle Church in Wittenburg. Today it might be likened to posting a thread on Twitter, but it ignited not only a reformation in the church, it quite literally changed the world. What might a Luther list look like today and who might say such things?
While the institutional church may be waning, the potential of an individual Christian to speak up is as powerful as ever. That’s exactly where we are called to be: mobilizing every Christian to speak and live as Ambassadors of Christ’s Kingdom among the kingdoms of the world.
The reason we do ministry is not changing and never will. But the methods we use to communicate must continue to grow and adapt in order to best leverage the resources and platform the Lord provides. If you are motivated to see a renewed Reformation in our generation and the next, we invite you to join us as we launch Reformation Press in 2018.
Let’s change the conversation by changing every conversation.