The New Reformation

This Reformation Day will kick off a year long celebration. It is moving toward the 500 year anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses on the church door at Wittenberg. 

Luther’s biggest challenges to Christianity at that time were the sale of indulgences and papal authority. It was a call to discuss where the Church was and how to get it back to the view of Scripture and proper authority.

It is significant in this year because it would be a good time for reformation in the American Church. We’re not going to get and that has become abundantly obvious to me. However, I offer a few items up for discussion.

First, it is a great time to be freed from the temptation of political power. We’ve had it good for a long time as conservative Christians. Well, as Christians in general. But our ties to one party or the other as the only way to vote has become an exercise in futility and it really should stop.

Second, in regards to the first, just think about these “Vote the Bible” voters’ guides. Please, someone, show me where upholding the Second Amendment is in the Bible. Please, someone, show me where repealing Obamacare is in the Bible. The Iran Nuclear deal?

To the second point, I am simply pleading… could you at least THINK about how this relates directly to the Bible? I’m not saying, “Vote for Clinton” or “Vote for Trump” or “Don’t vote.” I am simply asking… why do we put these issues in the frame of “VOTING THE BIBLE?”  Let us learn to disagree on the merits of the subject and bring valid points to the table rather than trying to pry a verse out of context and paste it onto our issue so somehow we can declare, “That settles it!”

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Third, let us be freed of saying two things I hear constantly: “How can a Christian really vote for a Democrat?” and “How can a Christian really vote for a Republican?”

Fourth, let us be freed of thinking that only the party you voted for has all the worthy ideas.

Fifth, let us be freed from the small thinking that it’s only about a vote. We have actual work we can do between elections to speak life into our communities.

Sixth, let us be freed from the small thinking that leads us to blurt out what we are against. It has come to this, and most conservative Christians are completely unaware of it. I grew up in a day when I was proudly GOP and conservative politicians had the ideas. The Democrats, I was taught (and could observe in that day) were the “party of NO.” Well… the times sure have changed. (And I’m NOT advocating just being GOP and coming up with ideas again.) Let us instead focus on what we are FOR in the Body of Christ and go out and live that.

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Seventh, let us realize that when we live out what we’re for… we’ll sound like Republicans sometimes and Democrats at others. A correlation to that is a lot of people will become confused about what a Christian really is. That will be a golden opportunity for a conversation like you’ve never known in your life.

Eighth, let us walk bravely in a new confusion. Let us sit at a table and hear a Muslim talk to us while we ask questions rather than seeing a Muslim on TV and letting fear rise up in our hearts. Let us sit at a table and hear someone talk about their issues in sexuality rather than sitting home alone in front of a TV and fearing something that may never happen, but that guy yelling on the TV sure makes it sound like Armageddon.

Let us sit at a table and listen. May we put ourselves at the table with people who don’t look like us and talk like us and hear their story.

Ninth, let us PRAY in this new confusing world. Daniel was always found in prayer. It ultimately brought him a night in the lions den with the hope he would be killed. But he prayed anyway. May it be that when things really turn sour on Christians in this culture, the only thing we’re guilty of is the pursuit of God in our lives.

We need a new Reformation in the life of the American Church. Freed from the trappings of political power. Freed from demonizing groups of people we disagree with and looking to lift up the beauty of Christ. Freed from fear and anxiety and filled with hope that what is ahead for the American church may actually be it’s greatest day.

Let this be the opportunity and may the result honestly be quite different from Luther’s day. (It got pretty bloody after that day in 1517. We kind of forget to tell that part of the story.) Friends, let us rise up. Not to “rebellion” but to revival.

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