We’re in the midst of an ecclesiastical optical illusion. Mainline denominations are bleeding members. Young people are increasingly identifying as “nones” when it comes to religious identity. But there’s more going on under the hood than we can see. After all, the convulsions that transformed Europe during the Protestant Reformation came unlooked for.
Though our nation was once robustly Protestant, it looks to the eye as if that heritage is withering on the vine. One need only look further afield to see that the legacy of American Protestantism is rapidly taking root in the far east and global south. And in the soil of those nations, tribes, and tongues the Spirit of the Reformation is once again blowing new life into His people.
But here at home, we also see the Spirit of Elijah pouring barrels of water on the altar. Young people are historically irreligious. Churches have closed, or opted for online, disembodied “church”. The world is enticing a generation to serve the weak gods of secularism, carnal appetite, and bland activism. In this moment, it falls to the saints of God to remain utterly resolute in the faith once delivered. We are the heralds of the Good News of guilt forgiven, sins washed clean, shame lifted. We are the ambassadors of Christ the King of kings. We are the laborers sent to harvest the fields which are ripe for harvest.
As in the Reformation, our task isn’t to innovate some new insight into the old, old story. Our task is to proclaim that old, old story plainly, boldly, and joyfully. Christ died in your stead, that your sins might be forgiven and that God the Father might count you freely and forever justified in His sight. Don’t lose heart, God is preparing us for a new Reformation.
Our nation has forsaken the Word of Truth. We have embraced the spirit of this age and we are drunk with its folly, instead of being filled with the Holy Spirit. The truth which those faithful Reformation saints recovered is the same truth which God summons us to lay hold of and proclaim without fear, and with all sincerity. God the Father is the judge and the justifier of all who call upon His Son Jesus. May the Lord renew our zeal for the Gospel, that that blade of truth might go forth in our day and age with the piercing glory of converting power. Our cry to God should be, “Bring the nations home, and forgive us for harboring our sin and our error and our compromise.”
If we welcome sin in the midst of the church that His ears will not hear. So may God grant to the saints true evangelical faith and repentance. A new reformation & revival will only take place by the Spirit; but the Spirit humbles us, and this is one of the marks of genuine revival is sincere confession of sin. If you desire revival, it must begin here at home in your heart, here in the midst of God’s people.