Always Reforming


     There’s a lesson that’s been of real comfort to me during this past year that I hope will be of comfort to you as well. It was first brought to my attention as I studied Corinthians some time ago and then applied it to my life. The lesson is that the church is to be always reforming. Semper Reformanda! As you look around the visible church today there is much to grieve over. It was never any different! If I was writing this in 1610 or 1016 it would be the same. I want to tell you how the truth that we’re to be always reforming can help us to not lose heart.

     If you’re a Christian and you’re honest with yourself you may, like me, be led to feel at times that Christianity simply does not, “Work as advertised.” In many churches there are men and women openly rebelling against God ordaining women as pastors over the men despite the clarity of places like 1 Timothy 2:12 which in light of creation says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” There are metric tons of “Open and affirming churches” boisterously and flamboyantly celebrating sin though God spoke of homosexuality in Romans 1:27 and then condemned them all, “Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them,” Romans 1:32. This is in the church! I’m not talking about Hollywood or the White House. This kind of stuff is going on with people who read the Bible daily. There are people who so neglect study that after ten years “In the faith” they can’t define essential doctrines like justification, the Tri-unity of God, or even articulate other truths like the clear realities of God’s sovereign predestination. On and on it goes and goes. Oh, the madness!

     As you look around you may want to give up. Have hope, however, dear reader and look rightly—we’re always to be about the task of reforming. It wasn’t just a sixteenth century thing. If you’re like me you may feel that the church should have gotten it right by now. Why aren’t we of one mind yet? It’s been over two thousand years we’ve been at it, hasn’t it? We’ve had the Bible. We’ve had our councils; we’ve even had The Reformation. God is our teacher. Why aren’t we perfect? Sure we’re never going to agree on everything, but what’s going on? As a family of families we should be mature by now, shouldn’t we? This is both right and wrong thinking. When the Apostles were still alive and teaching there was damnable heresy in the church. Galatians 5:12; 2 Timothy 2:17-18; 1 John 2:19, etc. Folks, even with Christ Himself there was a Judas and bogus disciples who turned from Him when the truth-going got tough, John 6:66. There are both saints and aints in every generation.

     Paul told the saints in Corinth, “There must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you,” 1 Corinthians 11:19. Remember, we’ve not been at it for two thousand years. The oldest among us may have had eighty years. We must all learn from those before us and be taught of God. God is not the author of confusion. He knows that there will always be contention. Don’t lose heart; we’re always reforming. Christianity works exactly as advertised when we love through it all and proclaim the truth.

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