Buses and Ambulances
"till we all come to the unity of the faith" Ephesians 4:13
"In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity." - Augustine
The high amount of injury and bloodshed amongst the people hurled under proverbial buses has caused great concern to me recently.
I would just make the point that the reformation slogan of â€œSemper Reformandaâ€ or â€œAlways Reformingâ€ is a very good one. The Reformation was never just a snap shot in time, but a desire for all Christians and the Church at large to be mastered by the God-breathed word of God until all thought and doctrine was bibline.
I for one, am so glad that succeeding generations have weighed up some of the things the Magesterial reformers have said and written and decided that they were wrong â€“ plain wrong â€“ on some things. For example, some of the worst things ever said about the Jews, come from the lips and pen of Luther. That indeed is a terrible tragedy.
Luther was a father to German hearts the way Lincoln was and is to the people of the United States. It could be argued that Germanyâ€™s history with anti-semitism could be traced back directly to Lutherâ€™s writings. It gives me no joy at all to say so, but that is a fact. As much as we love these heroes of the faith, only Scripture is the sole infallible rule of faith for the people of God. Yet we embrace these men even though we may strongly disagree with them on some things. Believe me, for a Jew, Lutherâ€™s rhetoric is very problematic, and I have had many a conversation with Jewish people where when the name of â€œLutherâ€ came up, the conversation was basically over. Yet centuries on, I am happy to embrace Luther as my brother in Christ and fellow laborer in reformation and am thankful to God for his ministry.
I say all this because many seem to want to claim the title of â€œreformedâ€ only for themselves. Some Presbytereans seek to outlaw Baptists as not being reformed, and so on. Cessationists want to do that with the likes of Piper, Grudem, Storms, D. A. Carson and so on. Without trying to be funny, I just think cessationists should just â€œstop it!â€ None of these men individually or not even all of them collectively are infallible (just like Luther or Calvin) but I think we are a sad, sad bunch of people if we do not allow these men (and others like them) to be included under the umbrella of â€œreformed,â€ because of our differences concerning spiritual gifts.
The issues are indeed important, but lets keep talking to one another, and not divide over these things, when what we share in common FAR outweighs our differences. If you can look at a D. A. Carson and say â€œI dont want you in our circles because you wrote a book about spiritual gifts and exegeted 1 Cor 12-14 in a way I dont agree withâ€ â€“ be my guest â€“ go ahead.. but you wont find me cheering you on.
I thank God very much for my reformed cessationist friends and am happy to embrace them as co-laborers in reformation. I hope others on the other side of the aisle in this debate can do likewise in reciprocity.