We were delighted to launch our [re]FRESH project on Sunday afternoon. The rain poured down but couldn’t dampen our excitement – nor our BBQ – as we considered the great privilege it is to carry on the tradition of our spiritual forefathers and go on reforming the church.
We considered that famous Reformation slogan – ‘ecclesia reformata et semper reformanda secundun verdum Dei’ – The church Reformed and always reforming according to the Word of God.
It is perhaps that final element, so often missed off the motto, which will be key to our [re]FRESH project. We are not looking to change our fellowship in accordance with personal preferences or society’s values. Instead, we want to prayerfully evaluate and refine who we are and what we do in accordance with God’s revealed Word.
In this, we are reminded of that motto used by the Apostle Paul to ensure churches don’t become slaves to personalities:
Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, ‘Do not go beyond what is written.’ Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. (1 Cor 4v6)
We will not go beyond what is written since we are confident that God’s Word is sufficient for us:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3v16-17)
And if all these slogans are new to you, why not read articles by Anna Case-Winters explaining the meaning behind that reformation drive for change:
Our Reformed motto, rightly understood, challenges both the conservative and the liberal impulses that characterize our diverse church today. It does not bless either preservation for preservation’s sake or change for change’s sake.
In the 16th-century context the impulse it reflected was neither liberal nor conservative, but radical, in the sense of returning to the “root.” The Reformers believed the church had become corrupt, so change was needed. But it was a change in the interest of preservation and restoration of more authentic faith and life—a church reformed and always to be reformed according to the Word of God.