Change is in the air. The church has a window of opportunity to move into lock-step purpose with God. Finally, the devil is under siege in America and he hates it. Those who fight the good fight against him will find new strength. We are at the edge of a new beginning, so fresh vision and extraordinary faith are required. It is time for reformation in the Church. Our leaders must be courageous because people will not embrace change unless their leaders do. Scripture teaches that the kingdom of God suffers violence and violent men take it by force and win it as a prize (See Mt.11:12 AMP). There will be resistance to reformation because many have no idea that it is needed. From now on, however, God will extend little grace for resisting the Holy Spirit, resisting His word, resisting the blessings of God for Israel, or resisting heaven-sent apostolic leadership. A house cleaning is underway. If apostles and prophets are self-serving or money-grabbing, they will face resistance from God. Also, legalistic or controlling pastors will be resisted by God. Reformation begins with a shift of vision and style. Leaders can no longer focus on personal agendas, political correctness, greed, or the status quo. They also need to embrace a victorious eschatology. Worldwide victory starts with a reformation in the church.
Church reformation means being re-formed until we return to the ways of the New Testament Church. It involves change and that begins with a shift in theology (our understanding of God and His people). Although I come from a long line of amazing pastors and preachers, (the most well know being Derek Prince), I have challenged everything I was ever taught. Most of what I learned I retained, but some rudimentary doctrines required a shift after I had studied and sought the Lord. Then, I owned God’s word for myself and could preach and proclaim it with added conviction. It is time, once again, to contend for the faith and wrestle with the word of God. I am convinced that the evangelical church needs more than a minor tune-up. We need a major Bible-based overhaul. We must, once again, challenge what we know. We must put everything on the table and ask the Lord for fresh biblical understanding.
Most folks trust their pastors to properly present the word of God to them. This is proper and right, but it is double-sided. It is a provision for Godly guidance, but it can be a closed system. By and large, the people of God will not move past the revelation of their pastor and if the pastor is stuck in wrong theology, the people will be as well. Major shifts in doctrine usually do not come from pastors but from apostles. That teaching is passed on to the pastors and the people. Reformation comes from apostles so we must first see an apostolic reformation.
Theology determines philosophy, and philosophy determines attitudes and behavior. The church needs an attitude and behavior shift, and that starts with a change of theology. Only apostles can lead this charge. It will be an up-hill climb, but that is one of the main reasons why God commissions apostles. They must find each other and courageously face areas of wrong emphasis in the church. The need is enormous and only the Holy Spirit can orchestrate such an undertaking. The first order of business is an apostolic reformation. Then a more inclusive reformation can follow.
A Holy Spirit Reformation
Not every church denies the present-day gifts and power of the Holy Spirit, but many do. This is more than a denial of God’s word, it is biblical disobedience (See II Tim. 3:5). Every truth can be mishandled, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are no exception, but that does not give pastors the right to reject the teachings of the Bible. We must have faith in God’s word and then look for the genuine moving of the Holy Spirit. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the work of God is incomplete. Reformation in the church leads to revival, but it cannot happen unless we embrace God’s Holy Spirit.
A Five-fold Ministry Reformation
Along with apostles; evangelists, prophets, and teachers must emerge. The pastor’s office is necessary and well-received but the others are in short demand and short supply. This leaves us with pastors trying to do everything, much of which they cannot do. Pastors are shepherds and care-givers. Without the other 4 ministers, we experience little growth, insufficient vision, and little power to partner with heaven. These ministries train and equip God’s people. The evangelist reaches the lost, the prophet gives us direction, and brings the much-needed fear of God. The teacher methodically presents the profound counsel of God in simple terms. Some pastors do some of these things because they are not just pastors. It is clear, a variety of gifting. This reformation is essential for fullness in the church.
An Eschatology Reformation
Eschatology is the study of the end-times. From my study, I conclude that this subject is really messed up in the evangelical church. Many think that our understanding of the last-days is not important. Some think the book of Revelation is too difficult to understand. Pastors teach it from a popularist perspective. Then, taking part of a verse from here – and an out-of-context verse from somewhere else, they form an end-time doctrine. This theology has lulled the church to sleep with escapism and inactivity. It has rendered us ineffective and put us largely outside of the assignments of God. Erroneous teachings have been so reinforced that any suggestion that it is not sound, is quickly marginalized and ignored. Pastors have invested so much in this teaching that abandoning it might constitute a congregational / pastor crisis. An old proverb says, “He who rides the tiger finds it hard to dismount.” Because our theology is intricately connected with our activity, I believe the doctrine of a pre-trib-rapture is one of the most dangerous teachings in the evangelical church. I know this may sound crazy to some, but it is time the apostles take a deeper look at the scriptures concerning this matter. An eschatology reformation will not come easy, but without it we will not see the powerful end-time church emerge. Therefore, an eschatology reformation must come, because the powerful end-time church is coming. We read of it in the Bible. (See Isa. 60, Rev. 7)
The Israel Reformation
This part of the reformation is already underway. More and more believers are understanding God’s purpose with Israel. Yet, there are churches that never speak of Israel or God’s end-time purpose with His chosen people. Some, because of a lack of knowledge, even side with Israel’s enemies. They do not realize that God’s eternal plans are woven together with Jerusalem and her people. His design to rule from a throne on the temple mount includes provision for the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, whoever blesses them is blessed. Those who resist Israel will find themselves resisting God. The church cannot be in step with God, without being in step with His end-time purpose for Israel. A good friend of mine calls for a Messianic Reformation in the church. It requires the church to recognize Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, and to embrace her Jewish roots and blessings. Without coming under the Law, which is forbidden in the New Testament, the church should reclaim her Jewish family heritage and the details of Israel that connect us with the mission of Jesus Christ (Jesus the Messiah).
Is This Reformation Possible?
The subjects in this article, and others besides, require reformation. Change like this is impossible in our present church climate. Only God can make it happen. When it comes, however, revival will spring forth. In God’s time, impossible things happen quickly.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isa. 43:19