Sunday, July 24, 2005

"Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as I trust shall never be put out!"~~
Hugh Latimer to his friend and colleague, Nicholas Ridley, on the occasion of their martyrdom at Oxford on 16 October 1555, at the hands of Mary, Queen of England…

The Protestant Reformation, unlike the times we live in today, was a time of great upheaval for Christians. While we get up each day, eat, do our chores and go to work, the reformers were discussing the prepositional truths of Christianity, often at the risk of their own lives. The Gospel had been let out of the Medieval Church’s closet like a cat out of a bag, and this Holy Word would not return void.

Today, the church is no longer threatened in the manner that it was threatened in those days. Today our perception is based on what our culture is doing, and when the culture encroaches upon our sense of moral outrage, we say we are being “persecuted”. But the truth is, we are only outraged when it is convenient, and the “truth” that we say we have is only as concrete as our meal plans for the day or our vacation plans. God’s word has been reduced to one great big, long proverb; a timeless plan for our lives rather than a specific history of the work of God in his creation, and the revelation of his Son, Jesus Christ. We are jealous of the culture that offends us precisely because we want the culture to like us, much like the ancient Israelites wanted their pagan gentile neighbors to like them. We, like them, hate being a pecular people.

As a result, we tone down the rhetoric of Christianity, hiding the message of truth in psychobabble and fluff, hoping that our neighbors will make that decision to see things our way… When the truth is what they really need to hear. The gospel isn’t about therapeutic claims like the other world religions and mystic new age sciences make; Rather the gospel is God’s declaration that his one and only Son has completed the task of redemption himself in our behalf. To offer one’s life for a message that the world absolutely and definitively hates is utter foolishness.

But a few have stood in the wilderness of error in the history of Christianity and have done exactly that. They were more than “culturally” persecuted. They were tortured and burned at the stake, beheaded, hung… And today’s Christian is afraid of offending thier neighbors.

We absolutely MUST reclaim the truths of the reformation. To do so is to reclaim the apostolic proclamation of the gospel. Only by standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, studied before us, prayed before us… and many times died before us... Only then can we make a difference in this world. May God’s spirit open our eyes and ears again to the truth.


Shelley said...

Great first post Matt! You sound so scholarly!

Glad to see you caved into the wonderful world of blogging! Now, keep up with it so I can have something to read! hehehe

the big test

Since someone, somewhere, has seen fit to deprive the world of Issues etc and take a huge bite out of confessional Lutheranism at the same time, I will not take up the mantle of working to see that those who did it answer for their actions.
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