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Principles of Reform in the Christian Church

by Stephen Williamson  
2/19/2011 / Church Life


The Church is in crisis. People come only to see judgment and hypocrisy. Some attend church many times and never hear the Gospel. Teenagers go to church with their parents only to drop by the wayside after High School, saying that church is "boring and irrelevant". The Church has lost its passion, and its members are wandering aimlessly.

We need change if we are to ever overcome this challenge. We need radical change. Our whole approach to church needs to be re-examined. The Bible identifies five core areas of spiritual strength: fruitfulness of the mind, true doctrine of belief, the revolving of life around God, humility, and the glorification of God (see below). Each category may be focused by the aspects of growth based on these same principles: personal initiatory, personal advanced, fellowship, instructional, equipping, and advancement (which is a connector tying to the next category). If we are to survive, we must suppress our insecurities, drop the excess, and keep sight of the goal.

These are some verses from which the categories may be drawn (in the NIV).


Fruitfulness of the mind:

1 Corinthians 14
9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.

Colossians 3
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

-These verses show that fruitfulness of the mind provides for the development of proper mindset and earnest worship. True earnesty of worship is the focusing of the mind on earnesty toward purpose, and the goal of worship is to bring others closer to the worship of the LORD.


True doctrine of belief:

Colossians 2
2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

Titus 1
9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

-Understanding and wisdom are shown here to be the bane of deception, and the wisdom of the Church must be centered on and emphasize its message, which is the good news that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins.


The revolving of life around God:

1 Corinthians 15
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Peter 5
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

-We must seek to improve all areas of our lives and actively center them on Christ, knowing that our work for Him is not in vain and that we are not alone.


Humility:

1 Peter 5
5 All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble."

James 4
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

-Humility is shown here to be something that strengthens our relationship with God. Perhaps almost as importantly, it is also something that people notice. Before we may speak face-to-face with God, we must first clothe ourselves in humility.


The glorification of God:

John 5
44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Matthew 5
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Romans 15
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 10
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

-If we are artists, then bringing glory to God is our art. If we are students, then may we study how to bring greater glory to God. If we are scientists, then bringing glory to God is our most rational law. And if we are sculptors, then the form we envision is the light of Jesus, the testament of God's glory.


Now, here are the challenges.

Fruitfulness of the mind:

Encourage us to be more involved in prayer.
Hold us accountable for regularly reading the Bible and listen to how familiar we are with it.
Actively challenge us to ponder our singing and spread the word of what really happens when we do.
Listen to us in teaching by provoking, giving examples, using shockers, asking questions, using symbolism, and allowing us to learn.
Speak out and encourage us to discuss the attitudes about the form of all church openly.
Actively explain how the spiritual world relates to the physical world in interesting ways to strengthen our heads.

True doctrine of belief:

Regularly teach us about scriptural salvation.
Regularly teach us about scriptural answers and purposes.
Regularly teach us about scriptural discipleship.
Regularly teach us about scriptural science.
Regularly teach us about scriptural apologetics.
Regularly teach us about scriptural ideals.

The revolving of life around God*:

Strengthen our willingness to be separate from the world.
Strengthen our willingness to get involved in our families.
Strengthen our willingness to get involved with other believers.
Strengthen our willingness to get involved with unbelievers.
Strengthen our willingness to be bold for God and bold for Jesus.
Strengthen our willingness to make sacrifices for God and His Son, Jesus.

Humility:

Humble us, making us transparent in our turning to the wisdom of the world.
Humble us, making us transparent in our manufacturing of personal truth.
Humble us, making us transparent in our judgmentalism and pride.
Humble us, making us transparent in our irreverence for God's Word.
Humble us, making us transparent in our lack of initiative to the gospel.
Humble us, making us transparent in our lack of awe for God's power.

The glorification of God:

Focus our imaginations on God, by encouraging activity in the community.
Focus our earthly endowments on God, by showing us how our community needs us.
Focus your(my) heartbeats on God, by helping us to form positive relationships.
Focus our heads on God, by having a presence in the community.
Focus our community's attitudes around culture on God, by making your standard known in the community.
Focus all hearts by our relationships renewed in their roles according to the Holy Spirit on God, by spreading the good news in the community.

* Ideas taken from Camp of Faith Church; used by permission.

By an ordinary writer who wants people to know the truth.

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