Taking the “Protest” out of “Protestant”: The Protesting and Reforming Spirit Within
While there are certainly many negatives to the forms of Protestant Christianity, some lasting and important tendencies also emerge. In one sense, Protestants harbor a spirit of rebellion at the core of their theological outlook. Considering its’ birth, there is little question that the protesting spirit against authority and doctrinal conformity is well attested within these local church organizations. And certainly this is the reason the church in America is so fractured and isolated.
However, there is indeed a very important quality that seems uniquely Protestant—the continual effort for reformation. Rethinking ones theology and the things one was told from their parents, pastors, and elders (while rebellion in a sense) is also a spirit of reformation. The two are often intertwined. And when separate, they are very hard to distinguish. Theological rebellion may indeed be a reformation and not a rebellion. But over lesser issues, like music or how one does “church”, a deeply rebellious and arrogant spirit can indeed take over. Moreover, in most churches there are some who, though having come to some real theological truth, rebel in arrogance—in many ways robbing the opportunity to teach new truth in love.
The same might be said of the transformation that I have gone through and why I have been so absent from writing. I have indeed been incredibly busy with a new job but in truth, I have had my foundations rocked to the deepest core. I have rethought all that I have every believed about Christ, Christianity, the Scripture and what it actually teaches, and how I am to think and live now.
And now, having worked through the restructuring of my theology and how one ought to live, one central prayer has been on my heart—
That I would be a drink of fresh water to thirsty souls, preaching the Gospel and finished work of Jesus Christ through love, patience, and joy—not through a rebellious arrogance.
In truth, we should all want to be continually reformed. If this desire does not rest within us, than arrogance is at the core of who we are. All of us have a little heretic within. We have all believed error, mingled with truth, and will continue to do so until we have fully understood. Confusion, misinformation, and the mysteries we wrestle with will melt away when we are enveloped by his glory, and see him as he really is.
“But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will rob you of your joy. In that day you will not ask Me anything.” John 16:22-23
May we continually seek reformation—not just rebellion.
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