The Reformation of the 16th Century began when one man reached the end of his capacity to strive. The East African Revival began in 1935 when a black African and an English Missionary knelt and wept before God in one another’s arms. The Great Awakening is counted from the days when George Whitfield and then John Wesley both realized that ordination was not enough, their hearts had to be made new. They were born again of the Spirit of God. The modern movement of the Holy Spirit throughout the world, in the historic churches, began when one Episcopal parish priest knelt and let two non Anglican lay people pray for him to receive the Holy Spirit in power. When Benedict could no longer see a way to serve the Lord, in the ordinary path of the fifth century Roman Church, he headed to the woods. When God took hold of Francis in the twelfth century his repentance was manifested in the public marketplace. As different as all these cases are, they all presaged a mighty move of God.
So it is whenever God begins again to call his people to return to him. Someone first grieves and repents, and is followed by others who do the same. And it always begins with a man called to lead by doing what others are not doing, or will not do. There is always a moment of truth when the hand of God takes hold of a life, and calls that person to a renewed, sincere, deep, and true faith. It requires a kind of death, and there are always tears. But when it happens change begins. Heaven comes down.
Avoiding such moments is natural, however, because it requires a heart desiring above all else to be in cooperation with the living God. The strange mystery is that until that very God moves the heart of a man there is no willingness to be broken. For a drowning or broken person must cry out for the hand of God to save them. It is an act of submission and helplessness, which usually goes against everything in the very being of a fallen man. Especially an ordained man. A man responsible for a parish or a diocese, or a community. But until there is a soul shattering honesty of confession and repentance, the people a man leads will be led astray.
If a new reformation is to come to the Anglican Family, confused and erring leaders, if they are truly servants of the Lord Jesus, must repent. Leaders who are not true followers must be replaced. The discipline of the Lord and the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures must be restored.
How can this not be known by all who lead in the church of God? The Lord Jesus Christ taught that a man must be born again of the Spirit of God or he cannot enter the kingdom of God. The Apostle taught that the man who is truly God’s is not one who can appeal to an outward sign or action, but one with a changed heart. It is always a work of the Spirit. And when this happens to a man he wants only to be found obedient to his Lord. He wants to walk in the truth, as God has revealed the truth. He can not stand by as untruth spreads, false teaching corrupts, and the body of Christ suffers.
Next Week: Right Doctrine Always Matters