A Call for Reformation
by W. F. Bell
There is a heart hunger in the true people of God in our day for a new and thorough reformation of the church. We firmly believe that many Christians and preachers of various denominations and churches are earnestly beseeching Almighty God to send a vital, spiritual awakening within the present generation. We thank our Lord that we have personal acquaintance with several preachers and brethren who are sincerely and regularly meeting for prayer to pray for this very Reformation!
There are many reasons why we need this new Reformation and Revival. The following are listed as a few of the major ones, which we ask you to consider carefully:
1. The widespread coldness and indifference in most churches. No one with any spiritual comprehension about them at all is going to deny this. The average church service in our day (anywhere in the world) is as dry, formal, and unspiritual as a May Day parade in Communist Russia. The churches we have attended through the years have largely convinced us that the chief elements in the lives of religious people are "pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness" (Ezekiel 16:49). How stuck-up is the average church-goer: no friendliness, and no vital holiness, but plenty of worldliness; no real attentiveness to the preaching of the Word (if indeed the Word is even preached). What pretence and sham is in the average church. We can't wait until the last "Amen" to get to our dinners, view a ballgame, or do some other frivolous and idle thing. For those who think this too strong, this just proves what we are saying! We need and must have a change - a Reformation.
2. The unscriptural and God-dishonoring preaching of most preachers. It seems as if the modem preacher does not even know what he believes, listening to his sermons. Someone has said, "If you hear a man preach several times, and still do not know what he believes, either you did not listen carefully or the minister doesn't know himself what he believes." Is not this the sad case in multitudes of churches across our world? The churches are fed constantly on a diet of man, man, and more man. But, what of God? Who declares that God Almighty is Who He says He is: "the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy" (Isa. 57:15)? Where are the declarations thundering forth from modern pulpits that God is absolutely Sovereign: "All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?" (Dan. 4:35). This is indeed a strange and unknown God to most modern religious people.
3. The denial of Christ's Lordship. Well did that great prophet of the Lord put it more than twenty years ago: "We modern evangelicals need to learn the truths of the sovereignty of God and the Lordship of Christ. God will not play along with Adam; Christ will not be used by any of Adam's selfish brood. We had better learn these things fast if this generation of young Christians is to be spared the supreme tragedy of following a Christ who is merely a Christ of convenience and not the true Lord of glory after all" (A.W. Tozer). Have not the prophet's words come true? With great sorrow we say that the "Christ" of modern religion is not the Sovereign Christ of Scripture! The Lord Jesus Christ is not a beggar, but a King. Christ is not trying to save men, but actually saving "His people" (Matt. 1:21). To preach a defeated Saviour is to preach no Saviour at all. The Bible declares Christ to be King, Lord, and Prince (Luke 23:2; Acts 2:36; Acts 5:3 1). James A. Stewart hits the nail on the head, "So great has been the perversion (of the Gospel) that many congregations are astounded when they hear the true Gospel of the Lordship of Christ. They believe that we are preaching a new Gospel."
4. The appalling disrespect for God's name, His church, His word, and His people. This is heartbreaking, to say the least. Where once many were restrained in their language of filth and cursing, now the world curses God publicly. National television spews forth blasphemy daily. Radio stations across the world belch out hard rock around the clock, with its cynicism and mockery of God. We even hear many preachers (yes, the devil's ministers) telling off-color jokes and "tickling the ears" of people with the world's smut (which makes these preachers ever so popular with the worldlings). Pornographic literature is rolling off the presses in incredible numbers. Oh, it is time to sound an alarm! "Set the trumpet to thy mouth" (Hosea 8:1). "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand" (Joel 2:1).
Let us cry to God! Let us weep! Let us confess and truly repent of our transgressions and sins! If we have no burden to do so, this is all the more cause to weep. May God grant that we can pray in our day as the early church did: "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word, By stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy child Jesus." And if God does indeed deign to send us a Reformation, this will undoubtedly be one of the results: "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness" (Acts 4:29-3 1).
"It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they (the wicked) have made void thy law" (Psa. 119:126)."
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