We hear the term Second Reformation often today;
“I use “reformation” because, as I have said, these new wineskins appear to be at least as radical as those of the Protestant Reformation almost 500 years ago. “New” adds a contemporary spin to the name….to a significant extent, (its) changing the shape of Protestant Christianity around the world.” (Source: The New Apostolic Churches C. Peter Wagner)
From a chart at Cross Road created by Sarah Leslie; The Second Reformation – Transforming the Church.
- 1st REFORMATION: Sola Scriptura: Scripture alone. – The Bible is the only inspired and authoritative Word of God and is accessible to all, perspicuous and self-interpreting.
TRANSITION Phase: Promulgating anything NEW: interpretations of the Word, understandings, revelations, a “new move of the Spirit,” etc. Sloppy methods of biblical exegesis; bizarre eschatologies. The Gnostic idea that God is now bringing in “secret” or “new” teachings to the Church because it is becoming properly “aligned”
2nd REFORMATION; New revelation supersedes the Word of God. Vision-casting, goals, strategic plans, mission, vision, values, core goals and covenants supplant Scripture. Either: 1) a complete re-working of traditional theology to incorporate the new doctrines and practices, or 2) more New Age Bible versions, or 3) additional writings added to the 66 books of the Bible canon.
- 1st REFORMATION: Solus Christus: Christ alone – Jesus Christ is the exclusive mediator between God and man. No man or structure comes in between the believer and God. The priesthood of all believers.
TRANSITION Phase: “Emergent” doctrines about ecclesiology, including a broader definition of “church” in the context of the “spheres” of culture. New ideas about “laity,” new structures for accountability, new mediators. Extreme leadership focus, everyone trained to be a leader.
2nd REFORMATION: A new authority structure that is hierarchical… Believers must submit, in the context of a restructured church, to apostolic leadership. Replicating churches by “cellular DNA,” using sophisticated psycho-social marketing techniques and coercion.
- 1st REFORMATION: Sola Gratia: Grace alone – Salvation comes by grace only, not through any merit on the part of the sinner; an unearned gift.
TRANSITION Phase: Salvation becomes a mere decision, a “just say yes” to Jesus. Accelerated “conversion” rates happen as a result of group dynamics, psycho-social marketing techniques, peer pressure or indoctrination. Salvation is measurable.
2nd REFORMATION: Salvation mandatory and externally judged by social ideals. Enforced submission to “Christ” and the “Kingdom” rule on earth. Every one who does not bow the knee to “King Jesus” is guilty of a capital crime.
- 1st REFORMATION: Sola fide: Faith alone – Justification comes through faith only, not good works.
TRANSITION Phase: Setting up criteria and standards to achieve “measurable results” in all “spheres” of Christian living. A holistic Christianity that incorporates good deeds (works) which are monitored and assessed for results. Rewards for good works, penalties for noncompliance.
2nd REFORMATION: Faith and good works combined yield justification. Sanctification is good works. “Fruits” are measurable and assessed. “Whatever It Takes” – i.e., the ends justify the means.
- 1st REFORMATION: Soli Deo Gloria: Glory to God alone- God accomplished everything on the cross for His glory. God is sovereign.
TRANSITION Phase: Believers must assist God. Believers must manifest God’s glory, hasten His coming, build His Kingdom, bring transformation, and take the “blessing” to all nations of the earth.
2nd REFORMATION: Believers are Christ “incarnate,” the manifest sons of God, “co-redeemers” and “co-creators.” Critical mass, synergy and synchrony will usher in Christ. A new world order of peace, prosperity and harmony called “Christ’s Kingdom.”
- 1st REFORMATION: Jesus’ Kingdom spiritual and eternal: (Jn 18:36; Prov. 21:1; Psalm 45:6; 72:8-9; 45:6)
TRANSITION Phase: Church and State “collaborate.” Fulfilling the Great Commission becomes a spiritual/political mandate.
2nd REFORMATION: A Church State. “As in heaven, so on earth.” Nations are corporate persons to be transformed through “discipling.”
What do you see? I see evidence of the Church being somewhere between the transition stage and the 2nd reformation, in most instances.
“Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!… Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar.” – Ezekiel 13: 3, 10