In studying the Reformation recently I am amazed at the work of God who in His faithfulness kept the church – His bride – on track. Now, historically I became queasy when Christians started talking about brides and bridegrooms outside of weddings. I have pictures of women (and, sadly, men too) thinking that they’re the bride and Christ is the bridegroom, which is just weird. But recently I’ve began to appreciate the idea a little more.
Ephesians 5:25 shows a man how he should love his wife: the same way Christ loved the church (i.e. became man, lived a life of rejection, humiliation, stress, pain and ultimately death). In essence, to man-up is to become Christ-like. A husband is to give his life for his wife, which is what Jesus did for the church. Which, as a side note, is one very good reason for believing in the church and not saying nasty things against it. Because in the words of one my professors, “The one way to really get a guy angry is to start sounding off against his bride.”
And Jesus did give himself for the church. He is in relationship with us, and he cares. So it’s no wonder that we had a Reformation, when we look at it from Jesus’ perspective. From our perspective, it’s nothing short of a miracle that the church could get back on track after doing an excellent job of losing it. But Jesus takes the relationship quite seriously. In his sovereignty he steered us back in the right direction.
Now, the Reformation started almost 500 years ago. Where are we today? I think of England. A once mighty, holy, pious nation that sent out missionaries to the ends of the earth and stood strongly for Jesus. I think of Scotland, which – after the efforts of John Knox – became known as a bastion for Biblical Christianity, in to which men were born that later went on to help shape the theological foundations of the United States. We barely find a shadow of the past alive today. Why? What happened? What disaster took place? Francis Schaeffer says this about the evangelical church in general …
“Here is the great evangelical disaster – the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth. There is only one word for this – namely accomodation: the evangelical church has accommodated to the world spirit of the age.
And let us understand that to accommodate to the world spirit about us in our age is nothing less than the most gross from of worldliness in the proper definition of that word. And with this proper definition of worldliness, we must say with tears that, with exceptions, the evangelical church is worldly and not faithful to the living Christ.”
Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster
Francis Schaeffer wasn’t really accepted in England all that much, from what I can gather. By his time, perhaps, too many leading Christian intellectuals were of a liberal persuasion and had already devalued the word of God and rejected truth.
What we need today is men who aren’t going to cowardly succumb to the age of the day. We need guys to take a stand against all the ridiculous nonsense coming from inside the church and put God back on the throne. The Bible, once more, needs to be elevated to it’s proper authority. Jesus needs to be proclaimed unashamedly and boldly, as King of all – and Christians need to start living as if He really is King of their lives. John Calvin correctly understood that if Jesus really is Lord, then He’s Lord of all. We need to grasp this truth once more. We also need to pray, hard. We need to pray for our nation and for God to move. What we need, is another Reformation.
The last Reformation came at a cost. Many men lost their lives, their jobs and were kicked out of their countries. The cost again will be high. But is it worth it? I suppose the only questions really is: is God worth it? Will we man up and “get in the game” or will we melt into compromise and worldliness?
Sometimes I become depressed. What a job we have before us! But my God is an unchanging God. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. His promises never change and His word is true. When our courage fails, He is faithful. But now is not the time to melt to nothingness. Now is the time to stand up and boldly, loudly, unashamedly preach Jesus, Lord of all. There is hope for my nation. I am still proud to be British. Into this nation I was born, and for it I shall pray. Jesus, come for your bride. Bride, we need to awake and get to it.