Friday, August 12, 2005

A New Reformation....Purpose-Driven Style

Recently "America's Pastor," Rick Warren, was the conference speaker for the Pew Forum's Bi-Annual Faith Angle Conference. During that time he engaged in a discussion entitled Myths of the Modern Mega-Church with several cultural critics and journalist. You can read the entire manuscript of the discussion at the above link. One of the amazing things Rick Warren said during his time of self-congratulatory remarks was the following:
You know, 500 years ago, the first Reformation with Luther and then Calvin, was about beliefs. I think a new reformation is going to be about behavior. The first Reformation was about creeds. I think this one will be about deeds. I think the first one was about what the church believes; I think this one will be about what the church does.
I find it quite interesting that Rick Warren would suggest a distinction between belief and behavior, between orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Indeed, the Reformers (i.e. Luther and Calvin) would have never seen such a distinction. To suggest that the Reformation was about beliefs is to miss the central tenet of the Reformation: Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone be the Glory). Furthermore to suggest that there could be another Reformation of behavior apart from beliefs is to miss another tenet of the first Reformation: Coram Deo (Before the Face of God). The Reformers knew well that the right doctrine leads to right living. Do you believe Calvin was only theorizing in Geneva? If you do, you know too little about Calvin's Geneva. The problem with the church prior to the Reformation was that awful doctrine was being manifested in the awful living of the church. The glory of the Reformation is that a right doctrine of the Glory of God, lead to right living before the face of God. The Reformation's goal was not simply orthodoxy, it was also orthopraxy. No one, not even Pastor Warren, wants to see a reformation in our day more than yours truly. But I would not be so naive as to believe that it will happen apart from right doctrine. The first Reformation was not that way, and neither will be the second (if the Lord so wills to grant it to us). Belief and behavior are inseparable in the Scriptures and will always be so in God's agenda. Apparently, Rick Warren is looking for a reformation, Purpose-Driven Style (that may be his next book :-). Yet this should not surprise us, what other kind would he know?

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