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It’s Still Good News (via Michael Reeves)

The good news proclaimed at the Reformation in 1517 is still good news in 2017 and beyond.
Which is why the Reformation will never really be over, or a thing of the past.
From Michael Reeves on why the Reformation still matters:

Almost certainly, what confuses people into thinking that the Reformation is a bit of history we can move beyond is the idea that it was just a reaction to some problem of the day. But the closer one looks, the clearer it becomes: the Reformation was not principally a negative movement about moving away from Rome and its corruption; it was a positive movement, about moving toward the gospel. And that is precisely what preserves the validity of the Reformation for today. If the Reformation had been a mere reaction to a historical situation five hundred years ago, one would expect it to be over. But as a program to move ever closer to the gospel, it cannot be over.

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Reformation Preaching: The End Of Misty Questions And Sweet Stories (via Michael Reeves)

If you’re attending Christian worship expecting to learn something from the Bible, that’s a fruit of the Reformation.
From Michael Reeves:

By the 15th century, only a small percentage of people could expect to hear their priest preach to them regularly in their local parish church. The English reformer Hugh Latimer spoke of “strawberry parsons” who, like strawberries, appeared but once a year. Even then, the homily would often be in a Latin unintelligible to the people (and, perhaps, to the priest).
As for the content of these rare delicacies, they were highly unlikely to go anywhere near Scripture. The vast majority of the clergy simply didn’t have the Scriptural knowledge to make the attempt. Instead, wrote John Calvin, pre-Reformation sermons were usually divided according to this basic pattern:

The first half was devoted to those misty questions of the schools which might astonish the rude populace, while the second contained sweet stories, or not unamusing speculations, by which the hearers might be kept on the alert. Only a few expressions were thrown in from the Word of God, that by their majesty they might procure credit for these frivolities.

As a result, ignorance of the Word and gospel of God was profound and widespread.
n eye-catching contrast, the Reformation made the sermon the very focal point of the church’s regular worship, and emphasized it architecturally through the physical centrality and conspicuousness of the pulpit.

Read the rest of the article here.

Well, at least you shouldn’t be hearing misty questions or sweet stories if you’re attending a church with a Reformation heritage.


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The Reformation And The Enjoyment Of God

Gleaning through a plethora of posts about the Reformation, this point from Michael Reeves is one that stands out.
If you’re a Christian and your attitude toward God is not marked by fear, uncertainty or anxiety, that’s a fruit of the Reformation.

Consider these words, written by a team of scholars in Westminster, England, in the 1640s: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
Those words capture the heart of the Reformation. For Luther’s discovery made abundantly clear that God is glorious: beautiful, good, kind, and generous. We can therefore actually enjoy God. Not hate. Not avoid. Not appease. Enjoy.
This was all quite different to what so many had known before. As a monk Luther had confessed he’d come to hate God; doubtful of whether he’d made himself worthy of heaven, he shook with fear at the thought of how God might judge him on the last day.
Yet armed with his new discovery, Luther realized he could face such fears like this:

When the Devil throws our sins up to us and declares that we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: “I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made satis­faction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also.”

And so the horrifying doomsday became for him “the most happy Last Day.” The gospel had so transformed Luther’s life that he was able to look to the future with unshakeable hope and assurance that he would enjoy the living God forever.

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