Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Reformation Needed

Five hundred years ago the Reformation was in its beginning stages. It began with the teachings of Wycliffe, continued through Hus, and was brought to a head through Luther. These were men who were willing to go against the grain and call sin, sin. They were men who were not afraid of what others thought or gave any thought to how many people would show up for worship on Sunday. These were men who preached what they believed the Word of God to teach.

Today in many churches the pendulum has swung. I think these two pictures show the great gulf that exists between what these men sought to accomplish through preaching and what is taking place in some pulpits today.

Hus preached that the cup of the Lord's Table was even for the laity. Because of it and other stands he took for truth, he was persecuted and in the end counted a heretic. When facing execution unless he recanted, here is what he did as quoted from The Foxe's Book of Martyers:

When the fagots were piled up to his very neck, the duke of Bavaria was so officious as to desire him to abjure. “No, (said Huss;) I never preached any doctrine of an evil tendency; and what I taught with my lips I now seal with my blood.”
As seen above there are pulpits today that clown around with the Lord's Table. Such men have nothing to preach, and would certainly seal nothing with their blood. Most preachers would not go to such extremes as to put on a clown suit, but there is certainly a need for a reformation in the Church. The Reformation that is needed today is one that has needed to be repeated throughout history; it must be a reformation of the preaching of the Word of God. I was talking to a brother today about the state of the Church here in Europe. Where are the men drawing lines in the sand who say, "here is what the Bible says, and here is where I stand?"

Instead we have people seeking unity rather than purity, people seeking peace instead of truth, people seeking love instead of righteousness, and people seeking to build their self-esteem instead of building the kingdom of God. For change to come about it must begin with fearless, truth-preaching, non-compromising, God-seeking, holy, devout, bold, unashamed men of God. That is how the Reformation 500 years ago began, and that is what it will take for another one to return the Church to a proper worship and exultation of God.

Such men as Wycliffe, Hus, and Luther weren't preaching to bring attention to themselves and build a large congregation. They were preaching from the heart seeking to see the Word of God go forth. It was a selfless pursuit, in fact it was a God-pursuit.

Five hundred years ago the need was for a reformation of the corrupt Catholic Church, which brought about the growth of the True Church. Today we need a reformation of the Protestant Church. A reformation amidst those who call themselves evangelical. To say that you are a Christian is not good enough. To say that Jesus died and rose again is not good enough. The devil believes that. We need preaching that calls men to deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him (Christ).

We need preaching that is not afraid to confront the errors that are plaguing the Church today. Preaching that calls sin, sin. Preaching that is not afraid to confront the evils of the culture. Preaching that is God-centered, God-exalting, Christ-filled, and preaching that lifts the heart to heaven is the crying need of our day. Preaching that lifts up Christ and shows God in all of His glory as seen in His holy Word. It is not a negative preaching, it is a God exalting preaching.

Let's pray that God would raise up such a generation of preachers!