Why We Need a New Reformation
By Michael Horton - Posted at CCC Discover:
Why do we need a new Reformation? What was so special about the Reformation in the first place that makes a second one so worthwhile?
Through the middle ages, Christianity became entangled with the vines of superstition, ignorance and spiritual lethargy that same thing we see all around us today. When Luther uncovered the theological scandal, the fragile Roman scaffolding began to creak. The essentials of the Reformation were doctrinal. It was part of the Renaissance to call for a return to the original sources, so it made sense that Christian scholars returned not only to the great classics of Western civilization and to the early fathers, but to the biblical text itself.
So, the Reformation was the greatest back to the Bible movement in the history of the church since the death of the apostles. But they went back to the Bible not simply as an end in itself, but in order to recover the essential truths that the Bible proclaimed and that the church had either forgotten or actually rejected. Those essentials were Scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone and to God alone be the glory. Now notice how the modifier, alone, appears in each of these slogans. After all, the medieval church still believed in Scripture, in Christ, in grace, in faith, and in God’s glory. The church had never denied these articles of faith and has in fact forbidden others to do so.
It was that word “alone” that brought Rome and the reformers into conflict. Scripture is the only ultimate authority for faith and practice. Christ is the only mediator between God and sinners. Faith is the only instrument of our justification and God is the only one in this whole business who deserves any credit or praise from beginning to finish. These slogans formed the core of the Reformation. Do you believe that the Reformation got these doctrines out of balance with other doctrines as the Roman church believed? Or do you believe that the Bible teaches that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone to the glory of God alone and that this is the Bible’s central message from Genesis to Revelation?