In the Fall 2016 issue of Fulfilled! Magazine I had an article titled “Reformation Now: End Time Views Matter” which was basically outlining the importance of the annual conference we hold at The Blue Point Bible Church in regards to eschatology. In that article I detailed our mantra at The Power of Preterism Network, “There is power in Preterism, and it is a salvation matter”. The phrase “salvation issue” is frustrating to me and more recently I realized I had expressed those issues in another article published back in 2012. In that article I explained it like this, “It’s not a salvation issue’” is a phrase that has caught on because it makes some people feel good in their error but such a statement isn’t the result of clear thinking”, instead it serves to “…“blur our vision, dull our minds, render us incapable of discussing and analyzing complex matters”.
On the heels of such articles and much of the reformational work being done through The Power of Preterism Network, Reformation NOW, and The Blue Point Bible Church some have come to question the reformation. One brother recently honestly critiqued my work by asking what exactly we are reforming and therefore bringing clarity in that regard is the goal of the rest of this article. Well… as with all of our reformation work – clarity, healing, and strategy.
This past Sunday I spoke about our attitude as Christians moving forward with reformation especially in a time and culture as we see in the United States of America. I utilized the wisdom and some quotes from Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer who ministered during the time of Nazi Germany. You can listen to that sermon at the following link, http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630/471761-wise-as-serpents-gentle-as-doves
In the 1500’s speaking to the crisis of the German Church, reformer Martin Luther remarked, “Farewell to those who want an entirely pure and purified church. This is plainly wanting no church at all”. Speaking to the church 400 years later, speaking again to the German Church (in this case the Protestants that emerged from Martin Luther’s efforts), Pastor Bonhoeffer noted that the church was in shambles, but he would answer the call to reform it. A look through the history of the Christian Church which found its origin as those who followed the teachings of Jesus Christ in Antioch (cf. Acts 11:26) and as the called-out ones (the literal definition of the Greek word for Church – ecclesia) who survived the Roman – Jewish War in AD 70, will show that there has always been an inherent need to gather together to build one another up and remind each other of our duty to follow divine revelation, what we essentially called “christian reformation”. Later wisdom that came through church leaders building upon the wisdom of one another throughout the generations identified this in Latin as, “ecclesia semper reformanda est” (which literally means “the church must always be reformed”).
The church which means “called out ones” highlights there is always need for reformation within God’s people, since the calling out is always amongst them (e.g. “Not all Israel is of Israel (Romans 9:6)”). Reform means to bring back to original form. When we talk of Christian reformation we are speaking to God’s people and their influence on the world (missio dei) and how that needs to be continual back to its original form and purpose. Let’s take a look at a couple of Scriptures that highlight this.
“See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?
“Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children. (Deuteronomy 4:5-10)”.
Honestly I would attach Genesis chapters 1-3 to this as well to highlight the calling out of the Adamites and how this falls into the narrative of Israel. God’s people are called out from among the formless and void world to be a world in and of themselves- a world that demonstrates the truth, wisdom, and Spirit of the one true God. This demanded no idolatry which unfortunately an innate idolatry humanity has within itself (wickedness) works against. This is revealed in Genesis as well as the narrative that follows Deuteronomy 4:5-10 from above.
So the prophets spoke of the latter times when the Messiah would come. Jesus Christ came speaking to the lost and scattered tribes of Israel who were stuck in idolatrous worship. He demanded worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24), listening to His words and teachings (Matthew 7:24-28), and a love for thy neighbor (John 8:31-47). He established His Church upon His Name (Matthew 16:13-19).
“…so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10)”. I would strongly urge a reading of Ephesians chapters 1-3 to get the full understand of what the Apostle Paul is explaining. However, it is all established so that the Church would make known the manifold wisdom of God. In 1st century Ephesus the “rulers and authorities in heavenly places” spoke to religious authorities and the unfortunate idolatrous attitude of the culture. The role of a minister as made known by the Apostle Paul in Titus 1:9 is to encourage the church in sound doctrine and rebuke those who oppose it. We see the same reality today in most of the cultures and societies around the world thus highlighting the need for just the same to be evident in Christ’s Church.
Finally a favorite point of mine is that exactly what Israel was called to be in the Old Testament (Exodus 19:5-6) is what the Church is established in Jesus Christ to be in the New (1 Peter 2:9):
“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;...”
In speaking to reformation the main question should be, “What does God want to see established in the world” and “What is the best and effective way we can work toward that”. Prayerfully, through your observance as a Christian and looking at a world in decay and the Scriptures presented above, I have demonstrated that the church is called to bring forth healing, proper worship, and the knowledge of God. Sadly, the people of God are in dissaray which simply highlights the need for “semper reformanda ecclesia est”, especially in areas of obedience to and knowledge of Jesus’ teachings. Reformation NOW is a ministry designed to encourage the truth of 1 Timothy 1:5 which the Apostle Paul highlighted as “the goal of our instruction” – the maintaining of a good conscience toward God and man, love from a pure heart, and a sincere faith – all of which come by way of knowledge of Jesus Christ and His teachings.
The Power of Preterism Network as mentioned above, otherwise coming to be known as The Preterist Pastors Network is an effort to highlight the truth of Preterism (which surely is a much needed reformation effort) and bring power to that movement. We aim to be on the front lines of reformation and revival offering clarity, healing, and strategy to the people of God. Discerning these realities we are moving forward with a focus on planting local fellowships, churches, networks, and conferences enabling the people of God to be effective in their mission to heal the nations (moving humanity away from idolatry both innate and outward by way of the calling out of the Elect). Prayerfully coming to a neighborhood near you. In Jesus’ Name.
P.S. – I have spoken and written about the power and reformational effort of the local church. Here are some resources I put out.
For His Glory,
Pastor Michael Miano