Saturday, November 04, 2006

Reformation Required Again

It’s only been a few days since the anniversary of Luther’s nailing of 95 theses onto that famous castle door in Wittenberg on 31st October 1517 declaring a challenge for change to the Roman Catholic Church and birthing of the Reformation. This was a much needed opposition to the indulgences and effrontery with which priests and the church licensed themselves. It was a transformation that was needed. A redefining and reforming of biblical principles that had been disregarded or manipulated over the years. Now we see those biblical principles degraded yet again. Evangelicalism is in need of a serious overhaul. It has become a self-grandizing, over indulgent glutton devouring the hearts and minds of many. If evangelicalism started to get back to proper principles of being an evangelical by re-examining themselves and thereby seeing the need for reformation.
The deepest doctrines of Christianity, the ones which are not on the surface of the scriptures but lie waiting in its depths, were quarried through disciplined theological meditation and patient discernment. It was not academics or aesthetes with too much time on their hands who did this work, but busy pastors, suffering martyrs, and bishops overseeing the evangelization of entire cities. As they preached and taught and suffered for the gospel, they worked out the deep logic of the revelation of the Trinity, the incarnation, and redemption.

The more seriously they took the life-changing power of the good news, the more concentration they devoted to the details of sound doctrine.

J. I. Packer once defined evangelicalism as “fidelity to the doctrinal content of the gospel,” taking care to not to bypass the “doctrinal content” in the rush to get to a gospel. Fidelity to the gospel requires recognition of doctrinal content, and those who would preach the gospel must make use of the tools of theology.
There is too much emphasis on being pragmatic and following the herd of market driven fads of being popular and entertaining when inside they are morally bankrupt instead of standing for the doctrines of Christianity. For a sad classic example of this is the latest revelations of the downfall of Ted Haggard.

Haggard has since resigned from the presidency of the National Evangelical Association which also issued a rather generic statement without many details and reads pretty lame as though they are making excuses for him.
Yesterday, National Association of Evangelicals President Ted Haggard submitted his resignation from NAE leadership when serious allegations were made on a Denver radio talk show. In response to Rev. Haggard’s admission yesterday to church leaders in Colorado that there were some indiscretions, the eleven-member Executive Committee met today via teleconference and unanimously accepted his resignation with regret.
We can only hope that the subsequent investigation is timely, accurate and truth tolerant. Naturally every accused person is innocent until proven guilty however, he has admitted to some of the allegations but some of the response are reminiscent 'Clintonesque' in their truth and one would hope Haggard is vindicated (if only in part) after being so publicly vilified.

May this be a valuable lesson to all ministers and preachers world wide of the need to follow sound doctrine, biblical principles, obedience to God's trusted word and above all else the truth.


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