Continuing Reformation? Yes!


Luther before the Diet of WormsOn Monday, I asked whether we had seen the last reformation within the Church. Many people believe Martin Luther's stand against the evils of the Roman Catholic Church was the last time God sought to reform His Church.

As you can probably guess, I don't share their opinion.

The Church is a living, breathing entity empowered by the Holy Spirit. As such, it will never live out the Faith in a manner that is static. God works His will His way in His time. Even as He raised up Martin Luther, He has and He will raise up others to call the Church back to His purposes.

The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice; but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone having been generated from the Spirit.
—John 3:8 LITV

We do not always know what God is doing, as He has not made us privy to His every action. But as surely as He works, He reforms, not only the individual submitted to Him, but the Church as a whole.

Because modern Evangelicalism has overemphasized the personal work of God in the life of the individual, we've lost the idea that God uniquely works within the Church as a whole. For this reason, too many of us Christians are satisfied with what we see changed in ourselves, rather than being satisfied with what God can change in the Church worldwide. Perhaps we've grown blind to reformation or have even opposed it because our vision has become so shortsighted, focusing on what God is doing in "me" rather than "us."

Still, I believe that reformation has come since Luther. There is a greater awareness of the person of the Holy Spirit and how He works than in some previous ages. I pray that remains and brings fruit within the whole Church. I believe that people are more attuned to the role of worship and praise in the believer's life. I also believe that some parts of the Church have awakened to the fact that the Enemy of our souls is fiercer than we believed him to be in some times past. All these little reformations need to expand and be taken seriously within the entire Church.

Some "movements" are seeking reformation status, but they will not survive unless they are ruthlessly true to the Lord and His Scriptures. All things of worth are tested by truth and time. If anything is of the Lord, time and the Spirit will reveal it. Men and women of God who are true to Him will see reformation in their lives and the life of their particular church.

The Protestant Reformation was one of grace. What reformation still needs to come?

  • A Reformation of Holiness and Consecration
  • A Reformation of Overcoming Faith
  • A Reformation of Prayer
  • A Reformation of the Knowledge of the Word
  • A Reformation of the Lordship of Christ

I'm sure there are more, but those five cannot be argued against. May God bring each of those reformations in our lifetimes!

Good things of God are being birthed. Reformation is ongoing.

Tags: Reformation, Holy Spirit, Church, Faith, Christianity, Jesus, God{Image: Martin Luther before the Diet of Worms}

8 thoughts on “Continuing Reformation? Yes!

  1. Anonymous

    Again, another thought-provoking post. Yet I have a question: don’t you think that the last days will be marked with deception instead?
    And sure, I believe that the true Church can not die. As in the times of Elijah when a remnant of Israel that did not bow to baal was found, it is encouraging to know there are men who do not sell to the world system’s lies and to latest fad church-wide available but are rather discerning.
    And sure, the laodicean Church is in desperate need for leaders who rebuke her with the words of our Lord but that also encourage her to buy refined gold in fire, white clothes and salve to put on the eyes.
    Hope there is only found in Jesus.


  2. Francisco,

    I do not share the positive belief that some charismatics do concerning the state of the Church in the last of the Last Days. I believe we’re going to see increasing apostasy and falling away. Jesus questioned whether He would return to find faith on Earth, and I share that concern.

    I’m not sure how long we have left before He returns and we may have already sunk too low. But that does not mean that God won’t spur on a remnant through reformation. It won’t be the massive worldwide revival that some claim, but pockets of revival that undergird the remnant.

    That’s my take.

  3. Daniel Nairn

    Dan, I think you’re doing a service to the church in reminding us of semper reformanda, and this call seems pretty consistent with the overall mission of your blog. If we believe the individual is always in need of sanctification, how can we not believe that the church as a whole is always in need of reformation until the Lord returns?

    I’m also weary of self-proclaimed reformations. I can’t think of anything in Luther’s writings that indicate he had elevated himself to this historical position. He just believed firmly in his conviction of justification by faith, and followed through with God-given tenacity whenever opposition arose.

  4. The Christian Woman

    Interesting ideas Dan, as usual. The idea of today’s Christians being very “me-oriented” seems so obvious now that you pointed it out. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but I guess we are still products of our culture. No wonder it is so difficult to find community-oriented churches.


  5. Jennifer

    Because modern Evangelicalism has overemphasized the personal work of God in the life of the individual, we’ve lost the idea that God uniquely works within the Church as a whole.

    Well said! As for the state of the church at the end of times, we have no idea when that is going to be. So I will continue praying for reformation.

  6. jennifer king

    hi dan!!
    interesting that you mention a reformation of prayer. i just finished reading gary wiens’ book, “bridal intercession”, and he says the same thing, that the church worldwide is being called and responding to a reformation of prayer.

    jennifer king

  7. Dan McGowan


    These thoughts are great! They totally dovetail (is that a good word to use?) with thoughts I’ve had recently as I’ve been trying to determine WHY so many worshipers in our church just sit there looking more like Stonehenge than Living Humans… and I think it has something to do with this concentration on the individual rather than the community.

    Since we live in a culture that is constantly reminding us how important WE are (and how INDIVIDUAL we are) why wouldn’t we tend to bring that with us into the church – – and this is just one reason why we have so many silly debates in our churches –

    “Do THIS song – cuz I like it!”
    “Do THAT song – cuz it helps ME to worship better!”
    “Stop doing THOSE songs – I don’t like them!”

    Maybe we should turn our head 45 degrees and see who’s sitting down the pew from us – and then beg to do the songs THAT person likes…

    Of course, this would mean we could no longer be selfish…


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