A Sidekick's Blog

My Journey: Semper Reformanda (Part 1) | August 5, 2012

Semper Reformanda!

That is one of the cries of the Protestant Reformation. It means, “Always Reforming.” That’s my theme, my narrative, the single phrase that describes my journey best. Long after the Reformers had set down their beliefs into single great Confessions of Faith – the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Augsburg Confession, the Belgic Confession, the London Baptist Confession, the Canons of Dorcht, etc., beginning with the great Creeds of the Christian faith – they always continued to seek more truth, greater clarity, a more Biblical faith, practice, and experience.

That’s why there are later editions of most of the Confessions and Statements of Faith. Even the Nicene Creed was amended for clarity by a second Council of Nicea. So this isn’t just a Protestant thing. It has held true in every orthodox expression of Christianity since the book of Acts. Whenever a church body departs from this quest for greater truth and greater clarity and purity of the faith, they end up betraying the larger Church and departing entirely from the faith. In my short little life I have seen this take three forms:

1. – We have arrived:
This is where a church or a minister declares the end of the journey; that he or they have finally surmised the purest, truest, most unassailable fortress of absolute and final perfection in doctrine, practice, polity, liturgy, and righteousness. And it always quickly follows that all others are false churches, false Christians practicing false worship with false faith in false religion. I always imagined that such arrogance was so rare I’d never see it other than in newspaper stories like those about Westboro Baptist church. I was wrong. It is very common! I have confronted such Pharisaical snobbery multiple times in my short journey thus far, and it never fails to sicken me. I can just imagine how God feels! Maybe I can’t know that, but I’d bet that Christ and His Apostles wouldn’t stand a chance in a church like that. They’d be condemned as heretics and excommunicated if not burned at the stake.

2. – Starting from scratch: This is where a church of minister throws away all previous study, debate, research, church councils, and starts all over again with absolutely no presuppositions other than “that God is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).” This is not unlike part of my own journey, where I determined to accept as true only what I could find fully supported in Scripture, not counting church history, tradition, the decisions of previous councils, authors, theologians, linguists, and fellow disciples. Such a search is always a dead end though, since the Scriptures are full of warnings against abandoning the traditions and journeys of our forebears in the faith. They are examples to us, and we are not to proceed as if we are alone and not part of the Body of which Christ has made us a part. He is the Head of a body, the Church, as well as all of its members. These are churches that love to say, “No creed but Christ; no Book but the Bible.” It all sounds so noble, but it’s dangerous and has only tragic results. Besides that it’s circular. Because you have to answer the question, “what is the bible?” And that question cannot be answered without taking into account how we got our bible, why there are different bibles for Eastern and Roman Catholic churches and still another for Protestant churches.

3. – It’s beyond me, I give up.
This too, sorry to say, has been part of my journey. But I’m not alone. Scripture itself declares these things “unsearchable” and “past finding out.” It really is beyond us! And we shall not “arrive” until we sit at His feet in the world to come and have all eternity to perfect our knowledge of Him. But just because we know we’ll never achieve it in this life doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try at all. We have simply just begun a journey that is a reward in itself. It is the struggle against sin that yields its own unique rewards and treasures we would never know if not for the lifelong battles we fight. Angels will never knew the joy of having been redeemed; the gratitude of having been rescued from death; nor the satisfaction of the indwelling Spirit of God in our hearts, taking greater shape over the course of our lives as we are “changed from glory to glory.”

My journey has elements of all three of these rabbit trails. I write it in the hope that others can avoid some of the same pitfalls and traps that the enemy of our souls has set in our way. In Part Two I’ll describe how my journey began.

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3 Comments »

  1. It is scary at times how our two journeys coincide at more points then I can count.

    Comment by keachfan — August 5, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

  2. Please share them here! It helps to know we’re not alone. In Part Two (of how many I don’t know yet), I’ll share how mine began – in eternity past, before the foundation of the world!

    Comment by Robin — August 5, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  3. Okay maybe a quick synopsis. Started out in a liberal protestant church heard the gospel preached by a Baptist preacher. What he was teaching was totally different from what I was hearing in church. After I was married I went to a Community Church that was one of the “we’ve arrived/starting from scratch combos.

    I bounced between those types and the combo until I read something about Church history and the development of the protestant reformation (I always considered myself a protestant until I read about who they were and realized I wasn’t) and everything changed.

    Comment by keachfan — August 5, 2012 @ 10:17 pm


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