Monday, October 30, 2017

95 Theses for Today

As you know, tomorrow marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation's public beginning. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg door. His theses describe his beliefs about God, the Church, and religious authority which differed from the positions of the Roman Catholic Church. You can see them here. In posting his theses, Luther announced his numerous points of disagreement. He was saying, "Hey, I don't think this stuff is right! I think we should do something about this!"

I, like many others, believe that the Church is ready for another reformation. I have been pondering some areas where the Church today, at least the Church in America, could use some reforming. Here are some theses for the Church to consider today. It's only a start. Maybe I can come up with 85 more to go with these.

1. Jesus calls us to make disciples. Everything the Church does should revolve around making disciples. This should include justice, evangelism, and education.
2. Only a small minority of people in churches today believe that they have truly been discipled.
3. Churches do well to emphasize right belief, but they often prioritize the intellectual framework of faith above the practical living of faith.
4. The books of the Bible were written to people who were the outcasts of society. American Christians are rarely the outcasts of our society, and so the scriptures don't reach us at the heart level so easily. That means we often miss the point of the scriptures.
5. Christians value comfort and safety above applying the gospel to life and sharing the Good News with abandon.
6. Those who need a relationship with Jesus Christ often observe those who claim to be Christians and find their way of life to be shallow, selfish, and boring.
7. Christians consider justice to be a secondary issue, but to Jesus it was primary.
8. Church has been so institutionalized that too much energy goes to propping up church structures and programs.
9. Clergy fail to point out the problems with institutional Christianity, because their livelihoods depend on the institution.
10. The American Dream has proven to be a deception. Many Christians have pursued that dream, equating the dream to the Christian life. They have been tricked by the "deceitfulness of wealth" (Mark 4:19) and are frustrated in their unfruitfulness.