Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reformation, Transition, Transformation

The single most profound effect the church has experienced over the last five hundred years is the Reformation. After all, all the denominations of the protestant world are the result of the Reformation. It is interesting that during that time, that is the beginning of, and formation of the reformation was a time of upheaval. Families and friends were divided over what they believed to be true. People were labeled heretics, and sometimes killed. The Reformation was not a smooth transition. No, the people involved in it paid a real price for change.

I believe that we are in the beginning of another change in Christianity. This change will be even more profound than the last one. It is definitely a transition period, and that is obvious wherever one looks these days within the ranks of Christianity. For some reason, people do not readily welcome change. It is disquieting to say the least. Institutions provide a stability of sorts, and they do not relinquish power and control without a fight. The fact remains that Christianity, the church is in transition, and the very heart and soul of the kingdom is at stake. Transition is an action and for every action there is a counter reaction. Evangelical Christianity has a large reactionary element these days and for a time, it will grow even more intense.

This is obvious as you look at the various battle grounds with lines drawn in the proverbial sand. Marriage, gender, social justice are the areas where the battle rages. These are the areas of action and reaction. However, the real change is happening at a more basic theological place. This is the only area where the change that comes from transition will find its ultimate fulfillment in transformation. What must and will take place is a change in how one views the scripture and the gospel. The root of the current transition is doctrinal. So many want to avoid this but, alas it cannot be done.

As a blogger, I have a modest but larger than average amount of Facebook friends. I am asked to add a few weekly. What I see as I look at my news-feed is a fundamental divide that seems to be widening and growing more and more toxic. Of my Facebook friends, I dare say that 80 to 90% are there because of Christianity and my blogging about it. Because I have a definite belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord, I realize that my writing, at times, attracts both sides of this divide. Yes, I have the outspoken action oriented people, and I also have the outspoken reactionary  individuals. I am confident that many, probably most of both sides, are very sincere and have sincere faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, they are in every way polar opposites, and if I were to get them together in a room, no doubt a fight would break out that would not bring surprise if it turned violent. 

So what is the key for this period of transition? Is it still more reformation or is it something quite new, is it transformation? I think it may be beneficial to define the three terms in the title, Reformation, Transition, and Transformation. They are defined as follows:
Reformation; the action or process of reforming an institution or practice.

Transition; the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

Transformation; a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance; a metamorphosis; the induced or spontaneous change of one element into another by a nuclear process.
Reformation does not work because it does not change the underlying structure. It merely reforms it. The change that we face, and the necessary characteristics of that change is transformation. It has to change at the most elemental level. It is nuclear. The main premise of this blog is that Christian doctrine as we know it today is fundamentally, elementally flawed. It is flawed in the following ways:
  1. The view of scripture is flawed. It is viewed as a legal constitutional document when it should be viewed as the story of redemption.
  2. The doctrine of Christ is flawed as it does not see Christ as the all in all.
  3. The doctrine of atonement is flawed as it is viewed in a penal substitution way and not as Christ being victorious.
  4. The doctrine of last things is flawed as it does not see that all things have already been made new and that the new heaven and earth, the New Jerusalem, is a current reality to be apprehended by faith.
  5. And most of all, the doctrine of the actual transformation is flawed because it does not acknowledge that grace and justification are the sole ingredients to the ultimate change. 
If one were to take the time to read in depth the articles on this blog it would be easy to find out that the above points are correct and that Christian doctrine is so flawed that nothing outside of transformation will correct it. I challenge you to thoughtfully read this blog from beginning to end and allow the scripture itself to speak to this. There is more than enough scripture cited in this blog to make up for the lack of it in this post.

As for me, I will settle for nothing short of total transformation!

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