June 28, 2011

What the church needs


hen I was in college, I loved intellectual conversations! I loved to sit around the flagpole in front of Jackson Hall and discuss philosophy and theology with my compatriots. As I look back on my life, I realize that my best friends have always been those who spurred me on to deeper thought and who made me consider things from a new perspective.

In those days I began to read the writings of Francis Schaeffer [Wikipedia | L'Abri Fellowship]. I began to devour the publications of Intervarsity Press. I developed an intentional world-view.

Nowadays I don’t know who is impacting the intellectual exercises of our young people. I love to read John Piper, Voddie Baucham, Alistair Begg, Nancy Pearcey, and others in their style. But I don’t know if young people are interacting with them. The Pyromaniacs blog is another potential forum for intellectual conversation. Hopefully, these conversations are taking place.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite early intellectual mentors, Francis Schaeffer, more true and important today than it was when I first read it in college in the early 1980s:

The church in our generation needs reformation, revival, and constructive revolution.

At times men think of the two words, reformation and revival, as standing in contrast one to the other, but this is a mistake. Both words are related to the word restore.

Reformation refers to a restoration to pure doctrine; revival refers to a restoration in the Christian’s life. Reformation speaks of a return to the teachings of Scripture; revival speaks of a life brought into its proper relationship to the Holy Spirit.

The great moments of church history have come when these two restorations have simultaneously come into action so that the church has returned to pure doctrine and the lives of the Christians in the church have known the power of the Holy Spirit. There cannot be true revival unless there has been reformation; and reformation is not complete without revival.

Such a combination of reformation and revival would be revolutionary in our day—revolutionary in our individual lives as Christians, revolutionary not only in reference to the liberal church but constructively revolutionary in the evangelical, orthodox church as well.

May we be those who know the reality of both reformation and revival so that this poor dark world may have an exhibition of a portion of the church returned to both pure doctrine and Spirit-filled life.

Francis Schaeffer, Death In the City, p. 12

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I couldn't agree more. It seems that so much of the youth is busy with what they can buy or how fast they can spend someone elses money. It's sad really. I recently had a strong conversation with a young woman in her early 30's who is totally convinced that God is not in this world and that she has no use for the Bible.I tried to encourage her to read it because there are so many things in the book that are familiar to our lives and things we say. So far she isn't convinced but I believe God was working that day and that she will return. I haven't read the books you mention but I certainly will be looking for them now. thanks for the posting, it was refreshing.


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