Monday, July 02, 2007

Church Reforming or Switching

semper reformanda, always reforming. It has been said that the church that has been reformed continues to reform.

I have been reading quite a bit on what is happening in the Christian scene, mainly my experience of course is limited to the Evangelical side of things. If you look deep in the bowels of my archive you will see that I have written on several aspects in relation to denominational switching of which I am one denominational switcher myself. What I mean is that it seems that the Christian world is evidently in a crisis. There is no question, the Protestants are, I don't know though if there are RCs who would admit that the RCC is in crisis too, perhaps the level headed ones, well maybe. Ministers and lay people have been making switches and I would cite a few. For example, we know that the Episcopal/Anglican Church (ECUSA) has been struggling with the ordination of female and homosexual ministers. The same is true with the Lutherans like those in the ELCA. There are those that are faithful to the orthodox Christian beliefs and practice in these denominations and they are hurt by what is going on. Most of the moves I have read was a move towards Rome and a very handful to Constantinople.

Now you might say, those are liberal leaning denominations anyway but there are those moves too from confessional denominations like the LC-MS, to either Rome or Constantinople. But the disatisfaction here is not something I understand since I am not in the thick of these things.

In most cases, the move seems to go into this type of reasoning -

1. "they have departed from the faith, we need to jump ship".
2. "they do not have the right faith in the first place, we need to jump ship".
3. "their faith is no different from ours, only much fuller, we need to jump ship".


From what I noticed with what happened to Luther, he believed that his Church, the RCC came from the true faith but has departed from it, and needs to go back. He did not jump ship, rather, he stayed as much as he can until kicked out.

Some reason that because point 1 is present, it must mean point 2 is the case. This is not true. I have seen wherein points 1,2, and 3 have been used to justify with good force the ship jumping. For this reason there are those in ECUSA and ELCA that are trying to reform their church body and have not jumped shipped yet.

Reformation is messy, but it is only taken if point 1 is the case. It is like fixing your car and evolving it to be a hot rod. It is much more expensive and time consuming exercise, so why not simply just buy a hot rod off the shelve? Some have done this to find out that the hot rod they got is not so hot after all.

So what happens if those from ECUSA and ELCA who jump ship see their former denominations repenting? Would they return? Most likely no, because point 2 kicks in already. Is repenting for a church not possible? It is - look at the World Wide Church of God, they have aligned more to orthodox evangelicalism and still in the process.

So what about my relationship with Pentecostals? I still try to be connected with them even though I have been shunned and been barred from their pulpits. I want them to return to the Gospel, I did hear it 25+ years ago even though haphazardly intermittent. We can not be bitter towards the people we are trying to reach. At first that might be the reaction but after a while you get to understand that falling into error is what sinners do. I feel for those in reform groups, they have a tough road ahead. Like the Lord said to Elijah, he still has people who have not bowed down the knees to Baal.

2 comments:

Steve Newell said...

The irony is that many people change churches based on personal preference not theological issues. Many people cannot articulate what their church teaches since many churches have stopped teaching doctrine and instead focus on "favor of the month" issues.

L P Cruz said...

Steve,

I am at a loss and in distress as I see the false teaching I have absorbed and even have propagated thinking that what my teachers taught me are authentic Christianity.

It is a bit of a mess right now what is going on in Evangelia. I see the fruit of Revivalism, some are disheartened, good for those who are ok, but I have spoken to people who have been turned away.