Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Reformation, Restoration, Reclamation
For those who are not familiar with church history here is a brief overview (with generalized dates):
AD 33 - The Way starts in Jerusalem
400 - Christianity is State religion of the Roman Empire
1000 - Catholic Church splits from the Eastern Orthodox Church
1500's - The Reformation breaks from the Catholic Church (and creates other denominations.
1800's - The Restoration Movement seeks to continue the work of the Reformation and restore the church to the first century teaching and practice.
Ok, are you still with me? Thanks. So in my school work I've been reading the biography of a guy named Walter Scott (you can find it here). He was one of the founders of the Restoration movement (today the Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, and Disciples of Christ). People of his day were keen on seeing themselves as reformers in the vein of Luther et al; today people are talking about a new Reformation. I used to agree (and I may still, I'm not sure), but now I think we need something different. Luther and Scott and all their contemporaries had the luxury of working to change the church which lived in a culture that was mostly Christian. Today we live in a culture where Christianity is moving more and more to the fringes of society. We don't have the luxury of trying to change other people within the church when so many outside the church are living without any relationship with God.
So here's my plea: let's start a Reclamation Movement. Stan Granberg has said on many occasions that it is the job of the church to love God's lost people, but we usually only love those in the church. We need to work to reclaim God's people from sin and pain and poverty. We need to pour our passion and energy into reuniting God and his people. Reformation and restoration will happen within the church when we focus on Reclamation, but if we keep our focus on restoration/reformation then the reclamation may never happen. So, who's with me? Who wants to join the Reclamation Movement?