Is the Reformation over?
I’ve heard this question asked a lot recently in many places on social media. There’s been a couple things this week in my own life and experience that tell me unequivocally that the Reformation is not over. Not by a long shot. And not only is it not over, we have much need for continuing reformation within American “Christianity.”
There were two things this week that happened that illustrated this to me. One is the idea of observing Lent. Now, in fairness, there are some protestant traditions that observe Lent. But not many. In fact, I can only think of two Protestant traditions that observe Lent: Methodists and Anglicans. If I’ve missed some, sorry about that.
As an aside, I’m a big fan of the reformed movement among the Anglican Church these days and I hope and pray that it bears much fruit.
Back to my rant…
So I expressed confusion as to why Protestants would be observing Lent; not criticism, merely confusion. And I got blasted by all these “Protestants” for my statement. It illustrates yet again to me that we, even “Christians”, will happily be offended by other people’s opinions and also that most modern day evangelicals have no idea what is and is not biblical.
The second thing that happened this week is what I really want to focus on. In a meeting this week at work, while listening to a sales presentation, I heard something that I hope is not a common belief but I fear that people believe it.
Here’s what happened. This dude was sharing with everyone how he “came to faith” and his life since. He said, “I’ve heard the audible voice of God twice in my life.” It was all I could do not to laugh out loud. But then I saw that everyone around the table was staring at him intently and several people were nodding their head.
To say I was stunned is an understatement. I was around a table of people who claim to be Bible believing followers of Jesus and it looked to me like everyone was buying this load of crap.
The audible voice of God?!
I want to be really clear here.
This dude has never heard the audible voice of God.
Neither have I.
Neither have you.
God no longer speaks in an audible voice. He has spoken and He continues to speak by His Word. You don’t need to hear the audible voice of God.
You need His Word.
This was one of the most important rallying cry of the Reformers; Sola Scriptura.
What has happened to Protestants? How have we allowed ourselves to fall back into “traditions” and the mysticism of Catholicism?
The apostle Peter addresses this also in 2 Peter 1. Here’s what Peter said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
“For we do not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:16-21, ESV)
What was Peter saying there? Read it carefully. Peter was saying, ‘Hey, I was there. I heard the very voice of God. But we’ve got something better: the Bible, the prophetic Word.”
What does that mean for us today?
You don’t need to hear the audible voice of God.
You have the voice of God. It’s called the Bible. If you want to hear God’s voice, read His Word. Carefully, faithfully, and in the community of God’s people.
He has spoken; of that, make no mistake. But let us be careful that we hear what He has said and is saying by His Word and not what the voices in our own heads say to us.
Let us give thanks to God that He has spoken a sure word to His people by His Word.
Soli Deo Gloria!