Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Own Personal Reformation Day

Three years ago today was my final day as a professional pastor. I still find it somewhat ironic that my last day in that capacity falls on Reformation Day. I didn't plan it that way, but I'm glad it happened.

Reformation Day, of course, celebrates in particular the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany. It's also a day to celebrate the Reformation in general.

My own reaction to the Protestant Reformation is a mixed one. On the one hand, I'm thrilled that the Reformers were willing to take a stand for the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a dangerous time that required much courage in their part. We owe much to them. On the other hand, I can't get past the thought that the Reformation didn't go far enough. While the Reformers did much to promote a biblical understanding of salvation, they did not do so for the church. The Reformation model of church life remains very similar to that of Roman Catholicism.

Regarding the church, I'm sort of a protester against at least some Protestant ideas. That should be obvious from reading this blog. However, I don't want to be all about protesting. Despite its faults, there is still a great deal of good that stems from churches that function according to the Protestant model.

My resignation signals a bit of reform in my life. It points to a time when God opened my eyes to what his church can be. At the most basic level, I read in the bible about what the church looked like. I saw the apostles, as part of the early church, giving approval to certain church forms and practices. The Holy Spirit showed me that God has given us a plan for church life. This unavoidably led to my resignation.

I imagine you have had moments like this. I'm guessing that God has from time to time brought about reform in your life when it comes to the church. This probably looks different from person to person, but in the end it comes from the Spirit's conviction. You may not have had a personal Reformation Day, but you likely have had times of reform in your life.

The main reason my last day as a salaried pastor was October 31st was because the local church asked me to stay that long. I actually announced my resignation in mid-September. They asked me to remain to help with some of the transition. I decided to stay another month and a half because I loved them and wanted to serve them as best I could. I'm happy to say that our family departed on good terms with the church body.

Each year as October 31st rolls around I'm reminded of God's great grace in our lives. He gradually reveals to us what his plans are. It marks a crossing of the Rubicon for me. After all, once you resign from being a pastor because you can't find any biblical evidence for it (and tell the church this), it's not likely that any other church will hire you at a later date.

Do you have a personal Reformation day, week, month, year, moment, etc.? I'd love to hear it.

1 comment:

kierkegaard71 said...

My own point of reformation, it seems, has been to re-think the function of the Lord's Supper within the church gathering. Grew up in a church where the Lord's Supper was a primary, weekly activity, and where we felt like we were having the Supper "in the appointed way" according to Scripture. The more I did read of Scripture (especially Luke/Acts/1 Corinthians), the more it seemed that we were simply one more church tradition among many others. Still have questions, but this discovery has been a turning point.