Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Everybody Wants Reformation...
...but who's willing to let "goods and kindred go?"

An Encore Presentation

A earnest plea for a day of prayer and fasting.
No fanfare; no programs; no religious leaders jockeying for media attention; no K-Street e-spin; no DVD's or MP3's to profit from; no books to promote; no CD's to sell; no reformation contests to judge; no personality focused better life agendas to publicize, etc. Just simply God's people taking leave of themselves and from the duties of their daily lives to humbly seek the Lord and His Word (read Isaiah 58) to bring revival, repentance, and reform to His church once again.

We need a new Reformation today beloved; we need another Great Awakening!


"O Christian, never be proud of things that are so transient, injurious, and uncertain as the riches of this evil world! But set your heart on the true and durable riches of grace in Christ Jesus."
-ISAAC AMBROSE

TO A BAND OF BEREANS
October 31st is Reformation Day--the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door at Wittenberg calling a recalcitrant Roman church away from the gross sin of indulgences for legal tender to recapturing the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Today's evangelicalism needs another Reformation--a genuine move of God among His people that calls and returns His believers back to biblical Christianity and the gospel of sola fide once again.

A friend of mine yesterday (Brian H.) made an interesting comment in jest when talking about shopping--he said, "impulse buying is good; it always leads to happiness." Now, a part from the obvious hedonism of those words, here is where they strangely apply and ring true on the wanton state in evangelicalism today. Some foolishly promote the assertions that:

  • Impulse faith is good; it always leads to a more happy life.
  • Impulse contextualization of the gospel message is good, because it always leads to better and more effective evangelism.
  • Impulse secular ownership of Christian music and publishing companies (Word, Sparrow, Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, etc.) is good, because it always leads to more market exposure to mainstream audiences, which means more opportunity for the gospel to be heard.
  • Impulse Emerging Church Movements are good, because it always means that we can be "relevant and sensible" to seekers who don't know Jesus--by appealing to them through pragmatic tactics which result in significant church growth.
  • Impulse Evangelical Co-Belligerence is good, because real morality and family values are sequestered through legislation not regeneration; and with an important election around the corner in our nation, nothing could be more important to deal with the ills plaguing our society than to Christianize the political process through turning the church into a religious PAC or lobbyist group.
What is the solution beloved to this plight?

"OPEN HEAVEN LORD": BRING REFORMATION, REVIVAL AND REPENTANCE TO YOUR CHURCH AGAIN
Beloved, this October 31st let's set out sights heavenward and off our own self-absorbed concerns and ministries to seek the Lord for another Reformation to sweep through His church once again.

Why don't we use our blogs, radio programs, websites, email lists, etc. on October 31st to lovingly, with brokenness, bathed in contrition, but yet with a holy boldness to sound the alarm and make a clarion call for true reformation to come to HIs church once again?
 
Would others that read COT here be willing to commit October 31st as a day of fasting and prayer and humbly ask the Lord Jesus to sovereignly move among His people by His Holy Spirit to revive us, cleanse us, reform us, and embolden us to proclaim His gospel of grace to lost souls right where we live?
 Wouldn't it be tremendous beloved, to be a spectator of God's grace, hear from heaven, and see yet another Great Awakening in our day if the Lord would make it so? It is time to "plow up the fallow ground" and entreat God to revive His people in such a time as this.

Listen to these powerful words from an uncompromised voice of his day. Unlike today's evangelical leaders, he was not for sale and couldn't be manipulated by pragmatic allurements for the advancement of his own name, fame or financial increase. If he were alive today, he would never be found putting his own name on a Bible, charging for the ministry, courting political powers, being part of the cultural chatter of the day, or taking the easy road. Oh for men of God like this to rise up from the ashes of evangelicalism who "do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24).

POUNDING ON WITTENBERG'S DOOR
“Everybody admires Luther! Yes, yes; but you do not want any one else to do the same today.

When you go to the Zoological Gardens you all admire the bear; but how would you like a bear at home, or a bear wandering loose about the street? You tell me that it would be unbearable and no doubt you are right. So, we admire a man who was firm in the faith, say four hundred years ago; the past ages are a sort of bear-pit or iron cage for him; but narrow-minded bigot, or give him a worse name if you can think of one.

Yet imagine that in those ages past, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and their composers had said, ‘The world is out of order; but if we try to set it right we shall only make a great row, and get ourselves into disgrace. Let us go to our chambers, put on our night-caps, and sleep over the bad times, and perhaps when we wake up things will have grown better.’ Such conduct on their part would have entailed upon us a heritage of error. Age after age would have gone down into the infernal deeps, and the pestiferous bogs of error would have swallowed all. These men loved the faith and the name of Jesus too well to see them trampled on. Note what we owe them, and let us pay to our sons the debt we owe our fathers. It is today as it was in the Reformers’ days.

Decision is needed.

Here is the day for the man, where is the man for the day? We who have had the gospel passed to us by martyr hands dare not trifle with it, nor sit by and hear it denied by traitors, who pretend to love it, but inwardly abhor every line of it. The faith I hold bears upon it marks of the blood of my ancestors. Shall I deny their faith, for which they left their native land to sojourn here? Shall I deny their faith, for which they left their native land to sojourn here? Shall we cast away the treasure which was handed to us through the bars of prisons, or came to us charred with the flames of Smithfield?….An ancestry of lovers of the faith ought to be a great plea with us to abide by the Lord God of our fathers, and the faith in which they lived.

As for me, I must hold the old gospel: I can do no other.... It is today as I was in the Reformers’ days. Decision is needed. Here is the day for the man, where is the man for the day? We who have had the gospel passed to us by martyr hands dare not trifle with it, nor sit by and hear it denied by traitors, who pretend to love it, but inwardly abhor every line of it…. Look you, sirs, there are ages to come. If the lord does not speedily appear, there will come another generation, and another, and all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to his truth today. We have come to a turning-point in the road. If we turn to the right, mayhap our children and our children’s children will go that way; but if we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God and to his Word. I charge you, not only by your ancestry, but by your posterity, that you seek to win the commendation of your Master, that though you dwell where Satan’s seat is, you yet hold fast his name, and do not deny his faith.

God grant us faithfulness, for the sake of the souls around us! How is the world to be saved if the church is false to her Lord? How are we to lift the masses if our fulcrum is removed? If our gospel is uncertain, what remains but increasing misery and despair? Stand fast, my beloved, in the name of God! I, your brother in Christ, entreat You to abide in the truth. Quit yourselves like men, be strong. The Lord sustain you for Jesus’ sake. Amen.” -C.H.S.

21 comments:

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

I am with you, Steve, I will call for prayer and fasting on the 31st on FJL. It is refreshing to hear a call for revival from the reformed balcony. Thanks!

Carla said...

You know you can count me in on this Steve. You also already know my thoughts on the state of the modern church.

Good call brother.

SDG...

Jeremy Weaver said...

Okay.
As I attended prayer meeting tonight I was convicted of the 'lightness' of my prayer life. Let's make sure our prayers are good, Scripture-saturated, Christ-exalting, Spirit-burdened, God-glorifying prayers.

BTW, If anyone doesn't know what Carla thinks about the state of the modern church, just ask her.

Des71 said...

While Hell continues to burn, the church of Jesus Christ in America sleeps soundly. Steve, I can think of nothing better than to celebrate this Reformation Day with our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus Christ and our heads bowed in prayer boldly asking our almighty God to revive us.

Hear our cry and revive us, O Lord!

Bryan Riley said...

Great call.

donsands said...

I shall be fasting and praying. It's a privilege to join you and the others. Thanks for the excellent words in this post as well. Edifying and encouraging.

My heart's longing is to see anther Great Awakening.

It needs to begin in the pulpits. If the pulpits become pulpits which proclaim the gospel from hearts of "burning fire", then this fire will spread, and the gates of hell will not be able to stand against it.

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for Me?" Jer. 32:27

SWilson said...

Our fellowship is in step with this call for prayer and fasting. May our prayers be an earnest plea for the strength of His church. This demands open eyes (careful you might be shocked) to the condition of the church today (a daily dose of CAMPI helps here). It demands an open heart (now we're really on dangerous ground) to expose the condition of our own selfish agendas (a daily dose of Matthew 5-7 helps here).

We're calling our faithful to an earnest self-examination excpecting to be cleansed anew by His Spirit's work of grace. One week of "begging" God's grace (beginning the 24th) for today's church and its abiding mission to the world.

On the 31st we're gathering our families to watch "Luther" ... which I trust will not bring an end to our journey toward reformation - - but a new beginning.

Always reforming ... always certain of His grace.

Thanks for the challenge Steve.

Pastor Sloan said...

Not only will I join you. But I have sent this article to every Pastor in our Reformed pastors fellowship as well as others to join with us.

Pastor Sloan said...

This is Walt Chantry on Revival

May churches pray till the earth is swept with powerful preaching of the Word that searches men, breaks hard hearts, and carries with it the Spirit of regeneration, repentance, and faith! Let us petition the sovereign throne of our holy Lord until we receive from him those most magnificent works of the Spirit – the bowing of hearts to his lordship, the renovation of character, and that turning of the world upside down which savours of the abundant fruits of the Spirit! (p 92)

“Oh that he would pour forth his Spirit of regeneration to quicken whole nations by his grace – to the praise of his infinite glory! Oh that holiness to his church, that her purity might glisten and that she might appear beautiful on the earth! Oh that the might Monarch of our world would issue more of his Spirit of truth that understanding might deepen and proliferate through all the earth! Oh that the Spirit of worship would mightily humble assemblies before his face and draw us near to the holiest!

Pray for the Spirit. Pray for the Spirit who makes hearts love the doctrines of free and sovereign grace. Pray for the Spirit who expands hearts with a holy and reverent love for the Savior. Pray for the Spirit who makes men ready for battle against sin, patient in tribulation, zealous for the honour of God. … Pray for the Spirit of solid and Biblical revival.” (p 127)

From Signs of the Apostles: Observations on Pentecostalism Old and New by Walter J Chantry

Joel said...

I'll be praying hard on October 31 as well, that as part of any revival, the Lord leads Protestants back to His Church. (I know that sounds patronizing, but it's not meant to be. Schism is a grievous thing.)

REM said...

I will pray and I will not print T shirts.

SJ Camp said...

Joel

Thank you for your comment; for it illustrates the great need for reformation, repentance and revival in evangelicalism today. One of the great unfortunate perceptions today is that Romanism is a legitimate sect of Christianity, representing a true gospel, and is part of evangelicalism.

It's ironic that you are making a comment on a thread calling people to pray for reformation and revival for the body of Christ, and at the same time, what that means to you is to call people back to the "mother church of Romanism" but not to biblical Christianity.

I fully agree with you Joel that schism is a grievous thing. But there is no schism when you depart from unsound doctrine in obedience to the truth of God's Word.

Hear the words of the Apostle Paul that could be written for Romanism today, "Gal. 1:6 ¶ I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; Gal. 1:7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. Gal. 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! Gal. 1:9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!"

Those are unmistakable words of the most profound warning and consequence for all who preach a different gospel... Rome is a false church Joel, preaching a false gospel, that is led by a false pastor.

I humbly call you today to repentance in Jesus Christ; turn from the false Romanist gospel of faith + works and trust in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone (which is the gift of God) for the salvation of your soul.

Salvation is all of grace... and only found in Christ Jesus the Lord.

I would also ask all who read and post here to pray for Pope Benedict XVIth that he would turn from the dead works righteousness of Romanism, be granted by the Lord godly sorrow for repentance, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and saving faith so that he by God's grace may trust and confess solely in Christ Jesus as Lord for eternal life. Otherwise there is no hope for his depraved, eternally sick, lost soul.

Still pounding on Wittenberg's Door...
Steve
Romans 5:1-2

Joel said...

I appreciate those thoughts, Steve, although I became Romanist because I'm convinced that – far from being another Gospel – it is the same Gospel that Paul preached, and the same Church he preached it in. The church at Corinth, at Ephesus, at Rome, is still there and has been continuously since his time.

I have no doubt of my own salvation, by God's grace. I don't have to earn it either by works of the law or by switching to what I consider unbiblical Protestant doctrines. But that's another discussion altogether. :)

My point in commenting was that while y'all tend to see the Reformation as the triumph of a small "rebel alliance" against the huge "evil empire," to us it looks a lot more like the departure of the Prodigal. Luther had a legitimate beef with the Church in his area, and the sale of indulgences needed to be stopped. A reformation was needed (and eventually came about) but what you call the Reformation we think of as a great apostasy.

However, your reference to "Still pounding on Wittenberg's Door" was a well-placed one. Both Catholics and Protestants need to be vigilant against allowing worldly things to interfere with the Lord's work. We lost half of Europe five hundred years ago because of that worldliness. And I have to admit, that lost half has gone on to produce some of the Lord's most devoted servants. God brought good out of the tragedy. But it was still a tragedy.

Vicki said...

Count me in for prayer on the 31st. To God be the glory!

Bhedr said...

I think Joel Illustrates to us why I don't believe in reformation anymore as I believe the Bible clearly teaches seperation. I respect what you have said here Steve and am glad you have the courage to confront so much hypocrisy, but reformation only seems to be generating more men likeminded as Joel here.

In the end it wasn't the blue vans but instead the mentality of Billy Graham. He is a reformer but at a lower level

Andrew said...

great idea - count me in.

Mark D. Smith said...

I'm in.

cyshift said...

I will be joining you and I have posted an article on my website (http://www.cyshift.com/reform.html) and e-mailed it to my list.

May God be merciful to us all.

GUNNY said...

Amen!

ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est

Semper Reformanda!

Prayerfully,
Gunny

Charlie said...

"One of the great unfortunate perceptions today is that Romanism is a legitimate sect of Christianity, representing a true gospel, and is part of evangelicalism."

I can't believe that you folks still use words like "Romanist." In polite conversation, that would be like using the n-word for black people.

silly old nana said...

Thanks, Steve, for the call for prayer and fasting, which I believe the Holy Spirit is orchestrating.

"Who can say what power a church could develop and exercise if it gave itself to the work of prayer day and night for the coming of the kingdom, for God's power on His servants and His word, for the glorifying of God in the salvation of souls? Most churches think their members are gathered into one simply to take care of and build up each other. They know not that God rules the world by the prayers of His saints, that prayer is the power by which Satan is conquered, that by prayer the Church on earth has disposal of the powers of the heavenly world. They do not remember that Jesus has, by His promise consecrated every assembly in His Name to be a gate of heaven, where His Presence is to be felt, and His Power experienced in the Father fulfilling their desires." from: The Best of Andrew Murray, p.14