This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation which began in the 16th century in the year of 1517. It is synonymous with the 95 theses that Martin Luther nailed to the Wittenberg College doors that sparked what is still going on today. Yet there has been many people who say that the Reformation is not a big deal anymore and that we just need to leave that alone and move on. But when we look at the theological climate of our time in the church, excluding those who have no interest in the church, what we begin to see is that a Reformation is gravely needed and that that Reformation needs to be done in the Protestant church.
In the State of Theology Survey which was done by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research, there were some startling revelations that signaled a grave ignorance of the Bible, God, Christ, and truth in general. Here are some of the findings:
- An individual must contribute his or her own effort for personal salvation. In 2014, 40% agreed with this statement. In 2016, 50% agreed with this statement.
- By the good deeds that I do, I partly contribute to earning my place in heaven. 52% agree or somewhat agree with this statement.
- A person obtains peace with God by first taking the initiative to seek God and then God responds with grace. 83% agree or somewhat agree with this statement (this is appalling).
- Abortion is a sin. 48% of those who attend church once or twice a month agree with this statement. That means the majority do not.
This is simply incredible. On the one hand, it is very despondent. People are not becoming more biblically sound with the wide amount of access to the word of God but they are becoming more and more biblically ignorant. One of the reasons for this is that there is a widespread belief among evangelicals that church attendance is an option. The survey also found that those who attend church on a regular basis tend to answer those questions in a biblically Orthodox manner.
Why has the state of theology taken such a downward turn? I don’t think that you can point out just one thing that is the reason but there is an amalgam of many things from the deification of science, to the acceptance of deviant behavior, to the jettisoning of the study of the Scriptures themselves. I found that the more I encounter and talk to people about the truth of God and what the Bible actually says about things, the more I know that there is a lot of work to do. It is quite true and especially more so today that the harvest is plenteous but the laborers are few.
The Reformation is still going on and we still need to shout from the rooftops who God is according to his word. We are living in a time of famine for the word of God and God himself has told us that this is what was going to happen:
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. (Amos 8:11-12)
The reason why there is a famine is not because there is no word of God but because there is no love of Him. People are running to and fro looking for the God of their choosing and not the God of Scripture. People run around creating their own Jesus idols, not getting acquainted with the Jesus that has been laid out for us in the everlasting, eternal, unchanging, infallible word of God. Everything else is more important. All of the many things which vie for our attention are ever encroaching on the priorities that we set in our lives. It’s no longer important to read the word of God daily. No longer important for us to spend time in prayer. No longer important for us to read the word of God with our family and discuss what are within the heavenly pages of godly doctrine. No, it’s more important that the kids get to soccer practice. It’s more important that we catch the latest episode of Dancing With the Stars. It’s more important that we watch the latest YouTube videos. There are 1,000,001 other things that are more important. And we see the results of this being played out in our society when surveys like this are taken.
We need another Reformation. We need to protest not only against Roman Catholicism but we need to protest against Protestants and we need to reprove those who are masquerading as true Protestants. We need to have our minds renewed and come back to the original Orthodox teaching that the Reformation revealed at the very beginning. We need another Reformation. We don’t need a new Reformation, we in another Reformation based on the old Reformation.
On this 500th anniversary of the Reformation —which is on October 31— don’t go out pounding on doors with children as they say silly phrases that mean nothing and celebrate darkness. Spend that time celebrating what really matters. Celebrate the ultimate knocking on the door of Martin Luther and the nailing of the 95 theses to that door at Wittenberg. Educate people on how important that is because it’s needed. It is sorely needed.by