For too long, just like her fore-runner Israel of Old, the Church has been comfortable in her idolatry & adultery! Adultery may seem too strong of a term & according to most evangelical Christians, blasphemy, but let's face it, with Her reliance on the Power of the State, the Church, institutionally speaking especially, is nearly as guilty as Israel of Old of spiritual adultery! The State has all but taken the place of the Creator God in the lives of many Christians; if we want to endeavor anything, even something our Lord commands, more often than not, the first place we seek permission & blessing is from the State. When the State commands us not to do something that our Lord commands most Christians will cry 'persecution' or either justify their failure to follow their Lord's command! On the other side of the coin, if the State commands us to do something that our Heavenly Father commands us not to, many Christians will just shrug their shoulders and chalk it up to the end times; 'Jesus is surely coming soon', they exult!
The Time for Reformation is ripe! In many places & to whatever extent, the New Reformation has begun. Many within the Church are beginning to seek other avenues, even taking some cues from those outside the Church because they seem to have more plausible answers than the Church has been able to provide! Blame it on feminism or whatever 'ism' you wish, what it all comes down to is the version of the Gospel, or Good News that the Church has been preaching, especially of late! When the Gospel of Jesus the Christ becomes nothing more then making sure one goes to 'Heaven'' when one dies, when it offers no solution to our earthly difficulties, it has become a dangerously weakened Gospel! Something has got to go & what needs to go is the sort of theology that Christianity has clung to for the past several hundred years!
Scripture clearly states that Jesus paid the price, that He took vengeance on His enemies & that He raised up His Body! Most Christians believe that He will ( must ) return again to save His People yet again & take vengeance ( again ) on His enemies; then He will raise His Body from the grave, or more succinctly, their graves. Here we come to one of the most insidious worms in the apple, 'individualism'! Individualism is of course, not a Scriptural notion; Scripture never tells us of an individual salvation or resurrection except as a picture of the corporate salvation & resurrection of the People of God, or Israel.
Like Israel of Old before Her, the Church ( who is Israel Renewed ) was given a job to do: that job was/is to propagate the Gospel of Jesus the Christ & to pour out streams of Living Water for the healing of the nations! The Church was designed to influence ( in a good way ) the Culture around Her, but instead, it's the other way around. The recent Supreme Court decision in favor of homosexual marriage licensing is simply the latest symptom. Another symptom that shows how the Church has failed to righteously affect the culture is the widespread acceptance of abortion! Just like the Church in Germany in the thirties & forties failed to stand up for what was right & stamp out what was wrong, the Church has failed to have any real effect on the cultural plague of infant murder!
As always, the best place to begin is the beginning! We who seek to foment the New Reformation, nay Revolution do not have all the answers, but we do know where to start! The Narrative, usually called the Bible or Scripture, is where one must begin to make any sense of History. The Creator God lowered Himself to first, redeem & second, to commune with His Creation. He first made a covenant with Israel of Old to be His Priests in that endeavor, then, when Israel failed in their Mission, He sent His own Son to be His Priest, to redeem Israel & to commune with His Creation! As the Body of His Son, the Church has been given the task of spreading that Good News, but She too will ultimately fail in Her mission if all she can offer is some future hope of 'Heaven'! If She continues to let the culture follow the lead of evil men & women rather than affecting the Culture around her with the Good News of Jesus the Christ, then She should not be surprised when She begins to feel the weight of the evils of the culture She neglected!
Viva la Revolucion!
The Church must repent of both her adultery & idolatry; She must stop relying on the Government of Mere Men to bolster Her economy & She must divorce Herself from the love of all that is not Her Creator! To accomplish this, there must needs be Reformation & the sooner the better!The New Reformation is happening as we speak; it may not be a sudden as the apostle Paul's experience on the road to Damascus & it may not be as emotionally charged as the 1st & 2nd Great Revivals, but it is happening nonetheless; it starts with the Story, for a correct understanding of the Story helps us to realize our true place in History & our true Status as the Church, the Israel of God & a Nation of Priests!
Charles Haddon Shank