1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
2 For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you. Proverbs 3:1-2 (NASB)
The Protestant Reformation was not a reforming of Christianity, but a rediscovery of God’s Truth that had been covered up, squandered, perverted, and misrepresented by the Church for several centuries. Christianity has once again reached a point of contention where there are those who claim that the Protestant Reformation went astray and we need another reformation. I agree that the Church is troubled right now. However, the fault isn’t with the Reformers or what they did. The problems seem to be centered on a complete loss of godly wisdom spawned by there being no fear of God. Man is seen as sovereign and God is seen as subservient to Christian leaders.
This environment has been the breeding ground of neo-evangelism that is so devoted to evangelism that it suppresses and does away with Bible Study, discipleship, and all other things that distract from their evangelical push. They do this to such an extent that evangelism has become their golden calf. Admittedly, there has been much wrong with the church since the end of Spurgeon’s time. Aberrations of Christianity has always plagued the Church, but it seems that since the latter part of the 19th Century with the passing of Spurgeon and Broadus and their contemporaries, there has been an increasing emphasis on man-focused religion. The current push into neo-evangelism and the emergent church movements are actually quite natural expressions of rebellion against what these folks see as deadwood religion. If we take a look at TBN, for example, it is clear that something is very wrong.
The answer is not the reforming of our churches into the seeker-sensitive, post-modern, flesh-pleasing enterprises that are run by marketing experts and MBAs. Their solution is to build churches based upon what sells. If we study the ministry of our Lord and the Apostles we find very quickly that they did not use that model for a very good reason. Christianity is not supposed to be an evangelical push. Instead, it is a declaration of the Good News that there is peace available between God and men made possible by the work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and His subsequent resurrection and ascension. The call to this Good News is to those who will believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour as they die to self and live out their lives for Him. That is not a message that will sell well. However, that is not the point. The point has never been about quantity of converts. Instead, it is about quality.
Puritans would never allow people to profess Jesus openly and join their church without examining them first. They understood that the call to salvation could produce false converts. They knew that they did new converts no favor if they indulged any false conversions. That is something to ponder in our time when anyone can claim to be a Christian simply because of his or her religiosity or feelings.
Again, what is the answer? It must be a return to very high standards for Christians that come only from a regenerate heart. Those who are truly God’s have been regenerated. As the Lord circumcised their hearts he also engraved His Law there. Their conscience and will is now His. These are the ones who will trust in the Lord with all their heart.