Core Beliefs and Strategy
A New Reformation
Sola Scriptura Sola Discipula
The Scriptures Alone The Disciple Alone
A New Reformation
Our Evangelical Churches, Denominations and Seminaries favor Bible reading and study. The Bible is God's Word. However, they do not, in general, consistently promote chronological cover-to-cover reading of the Scriptures. Members involved in chronological cover-to-cover reading usually need to use resources outside of our Churches and Denominations to help them with the reading through the Bible journey (Our Team uses sources outside the Church and Denominations to obtain the Reading Plans we use).
The New Reformation will seek to make chronological cover-to-cover Bible reading a primary emphasis in our Evangelical Churches, Denominations and Seminaries. This will be done by:
o Building commitment to cover-to-cover reading of the Scriptures chronologically through a growing comradery in the local Church
o Building commitment to cover-to-cover reading of the Scriptures chronologically through a growing comradery in our evangelical denominations.
o Building commitment to cover-to-cover reading of the Scriptures chronologically through a growing comradery and support in our evangelical seminaries.
o Building a website and establishing a media presence with a focus on cover-to-cover chronologically reading of the Bible.
Specifically, we propose that Churches more actively promote chronological, cover-to-cover reading of the entire Bible. This could easily be done by endorsing the cover-to-cover read-through with an occasional mention from the Pulpit, a mention in Sunday School, or a note in the Church Bulletin. Links to Bible reading plans could be added to Church websites. The New Reformation will have little impact on Sunday services - remember, the Bible reading will be done outside of the Sunday worship service with the believer alone - and His Holy Scriptures alone.
On a Denomination level, we propose that documents of church governance (denomination bylaws, books of church order, etc.) be modified to specifically address and promote chronological, cover-to-cover reading of the Bible. This effort, (potentially a major and lengthy task in view of the size of many of our evangelical denominations) will normally reflect an agreement by the Denomination to address and promote this effort.
In our Evangelical Seminaries, we propose that curriculum be modified to contain a distinct emphasis on the chronological, cover-to-cover reading of the entire Bible effort for future Pastors and Teachers as they lead their flocks. The seminaries can also provide help in developing reading plans and with doctrinal guidance.
Goal and Strategy: Chronological and Cover-to-Cover
The goal is to read the entire Bible directly - chronologically and cover-to-cover. It has been our discovery that by reading through the Bible cover-to-cover chronologically you actually can obtain an understanding of the flow of God's Plan of Salvation.
In the first Reformation Luther fought the Roman Catholic Church that controlled access to the Bible. He translated the Bible into German so it could be read by the common people. We have a different situation now but the results are the same - the Bible is not being read cover-to-cover.
Many of those who are interested in the Gospel focus on reading and learning about the Bible - but not by reading the Bible directly. They read books on theology, they listen to podcasts from Christian teachers, and they access related websites - and this is all proper and edifying - but our main evangelical Churches Denominations in general do not directly and actively promote direct chronological cover-to-cover reading of the Bible.
The New Reformation addresses this issue. Reading directly through the entire Bible chronologically is the focus of this Reformation - a New Reformation.
Why Chronologically? Why not Read the Bible in Order from Genesis to Revelations? What Difference Does it Make?
The Team recognizes that our emphasis on "chronological" reading will be a challenging point for many. Hear our apologetic on this approach:
Chronological is defined as “starting with the earliest and following the order in which they occurred”.
“In the Beginning” introduces the concept of “chronological” in the very first words of the Word. This is followed by a chronologically ordered day by day explanation of merely all of creation. Soon following, chronologically, occurs the fall. This is followed, chronologically, by the promise of a Redeemer. Events march forward - chronologically. A nation is formed. Judges rule. A King is chosen. The kingdom splits. One kingdom falls, then the other, chronologically, as both nations succumb to idolatry. Then, at the appointed time, chronologically, our Redeemer arrives, incarnate and born in a stable. His ministry is measured, chronologically, between months and years when “His time had not yet come” - and, chronologically, when “His time had come”.
What “time” was it when "His time had come"? Passover! An event which occurred millennia prior, chronologically.
Our Creeds outline the work of Christ, chronologically: "I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead."
Chronologically, our Creator's Plan of Salvation is revealed in His Word, from the fall, until the Cross, and finally, to the empty Tomb. Chronologically - starting with the earliest events of creation and following the order in which they occurred - is how the Holy Scriptures reveal the Plan of our Creator to save His people - and Chronologically is how His Word will be read, preferably, in our New Reformation.
His Word is One Story. It reveals itself over time - Chronologically - and, practically speaking, the Story is much easier to understand if it is read chronologically - as it reveals itself. Much easier.
We will read, that is, until such time in the future, chronologically, when the hands of all clocks are frozen on eternity - in accordance with His Plan put into place, chronologically, before the foundations of the world - and we will worship Him in His presence forever.
Aren't you Saying that the Book of Amos is as Important as the Gospel of Matthew? How can this be?
The Holy Scriptures are the divinely inspired revelation of our Creator to covenant and provide a Plan of Salvation for His people through the Redeemer Jesus Christ. These Holy Scriptures include the Gospel of Matthew as well as the Book of Amos.
Having said that, The Team is not in the position to assess the relative importance of one Book in His Holy Scriptures over another. We will not address these questions.
Why is Repetition Important?
We have found it to be life changing to read the Scriptures cover-to-cover chronologically every year. Through this year after year journey, the progressive revelation of His Plan for our salvation has become real, upfront and personal. Our experience with the Scriptures through our annual journey is the main reason why we have undertaken the New Reformation project.
Repetition accomplishes three things at the same time. Repetition informs or conveys a message. Repetition results in effective teaching so that a message is understood and is remembered. Finally, repetition is usable for emphasizing a point. We accomplish these three things s we read the Bible each year.
Consider the use of repetition in the Bible. There are 4 Gospels - and much of His Story is repeated within these blessed books. That there are 4 Gospels... allows for the conveyance of His complete and intended message of our Redeemer. That there are 4 Gospels... which repeatedly convey His Word - the Words of Jesus can be understood and remembered. Finally, that there are 4 Gospels... provides emphasis to the fact that through these blessed books we are now addressing the central point of redemptive history - the coming of our Redeemer.
So to do we employ repetition in this document - which conveys our New Reformation. We use repetition... to clearly inform our readers of the our subject and direction of our New Reformation. We use repetition... to teach our views on the subject and direction of the New Reformation so they are understood and will be remembered. And finally, we use repetition... to repeatedly emphasize that the teachings of the Church, the Bride of Christ, are needed as a compliment to the New Reformation journey - this is not a "go it alone journey". To this point let there be no doubt. Repeatedly we mention and emphasize that the teachings, guidance and instruction of His Church, the Bride of Christ, are an essential complement to the New Reformation.
Not an Easy Journey
Reading through the entire Bible cover-to-cover chronologically is not an easy journey.
We live in a part of the Nation that is hot and dry during the summer. This is also the time of the year, in our annual journey, when we are reading through the major prophets. They convey the frustration and anger of our Creator at the continual, continual, continual fall into idolatry of His people. The heat of the season parallels the tone of the reading. This makes for a long, hot summer. We are thankful for the oasis, sprinkled throughout these books, of the coming of His promised Redeemer and Savior.
But the seasons turn and the cooler temperatures of fall welcome the Gospel of Jesus!
Even so, developing an understanding His Plan of Salvation through reading of the entire Scriptures is not an easy task. We continue to learn. We are thankful for the allied and essential teachings of the Bride of Christ - His Church. We will continually emphasize the importance of the help from His Bride in understand Scriptures as we continue in our annual journey.
We also want to emphasize that a one-time read through of the Bible was not effective for us in teaching His Plan of Salvation. It took years, doing a chronological read through each year, to come into a more solid grasp of His Plan - and we are still learning. And so we start our read anew each year on Jan 1.
Local Church Strategy - The New Reformation
How would the Local Church implement the New Reformation?
- Sunday School or Home Fellowship Group Mention
One approach would be to develop a brief talk to introduce the tools for reading through the Bible to be presented at the opening session of Sunday School. Another approach would be to introduce the New Reformation reading approach in Home Fellowship groups. Both approaches are low key and won't take much effort.
- Brief Pulpit Mention- and/or Mention in Announcements/Bulletin
Make a brief, periodic pulpit mention - or mention in the announcements or bulletin - like this; “by the way, for those of you that are going through our read through the Bible program, we will be reading the scriptures that we are covering in today's sermon on August 27th.” Very little change to Sunday services are suggested. Maybe 12 minutes a year pulpit time. Alternatively, a mention in the bulletin and/or announcements would work.
The goal is not to change what believers do in the worship service - but what they do outside of worship on their own time. This is no small consideration by the way. There are so many options and "entertainments" available to those made in His Image. What can be more profitable for a day-to-day activity than reading His Word?
- Sermon Selection and/or Sunday School Curriculum
Collaboration between the New Reformation effort and the Sunday School curriculum and/or Sermon selection would be helpful. A curriculum of related teachings could be developed. A church should say, “since we are supporting the cover-to-cover Bible reading effort, we have developed these sermons and/or classes to provide guidance to our members”. This curriculum might include sermons and/or classes on (1) the Confessions - to provide doctrinal guidance during the read-through - and (2) the various Covenants - since the Bible is all about our Covenant keeping Creator. Who will develop this Curriculum?
- Church Website Link to Reading Plans
Add links to Bible reading plans in the Church website.
Denominational Strategy - The New Reformation
Start up a Study Committee within each of our evangelical denominations. Consider how the denominational books of church governance could be revised to mention chronological cover-to-cover reading. Explore how cover-to-cover reading can be brought into the Denominational worship strategy.
Seminary Strategy - The New Reformation
Our Seminaries can lead in the New Reformation effort. They can provide significant well considered theological and doctrinal support. They can help develop the reading plans. They can also start teaching our new Pastors how to include the New Reformation effort into their worship services and teaching.
Website Strategy - The New Reformation
The New Reformation team will use this website to convey the basics of the New Reformation. It will be updated from time to time as we run into new thoughts or issues. However, it is our belief that the message in this website will not change much. The message is simple and focused:
Specifically, we propose, at the Church level, that Churches more actively promote chronological, cover-to-cover reading of the entire Bible. This could easily be done by endorsing the Bible cover-to-cover read-through effort with an occasional mention from the Pulpit - a similar mention in Sunday Schools and/or in the Church Bulletin. Links to Bible reading plans could be added to Church websites. The New Reformation will have little impact on Sunday services - remember, the Bible reading will be done outside of the Sunday worship service with the believer alone - and His Holy Scriptures alone.
On a Denomination level, modify documents of church governance (denomination bylaws, books of church order, etc.) to specifically address and promote chronological, cover-to-cover reading of the entire Bible. This effort, (potentially a major and lengthy task in view of the size of many of our evangelical denominations) will normally reflect an agreement by the Denomination to address and promote this effort.
In our Evangelical Seminaries, modify curriculum to contain a distinct emphasis on the chronological, cover-to-cover reading of the entire Bible effort for future Pastors and Teachers as they lead their flocks. Ask the seminaries to provide help with reading plans and doctrinal guidance.
A Few Questions
How do you learn about God’s Plan of Salvation in our evangelical churches and our denominations? This is what we hear. Listen to this sermon. Read this book. Listen to this podcast. Check out this blog. Talk to this person. Study these Covenants.
We don’t see, “read the Bible. The whole Bible. Cover-to-cover”. At least we don't see it as a clear, ongoing and consistent emphasis.
Is the Bible God’s Word? Always we hear “Absolutely yes". If this is the case, is it taught cover-to-cover? When will Obadiah be taught? How about Joel? If Jeremiah is taught all the way through, when is the next time that it will be taught - all the way through?
When books are selected for a teaching series, what order are they selected in? Is it Chronologically? What we see is that Churches shift around in their sermon selection - chronologically speaking. In contrast, the Bible reveals God’s plan of salvation progressively, chronologically, over time. How does this sermon selection process support the chronological revelation of God’s Plan? (Please understand, we support this sermon selection approach - and would not change it. We have been under very fine teaching and benefited from the sermon series we have received. We do, however, believe that our understanding of these teachings is enhanced when reading though the bible cover-to-cover chronologically at the same time - and vice versa - as discussed herein.)
A Final Question - Will this be an easy change for our Churches, Denominations, and Seminaries? Maybe - but maybe not. God’s Word is transforming. What will be the impact if our pastors and teachers find themselves facing “Priests” who comprise the “Priesthood of Believers” - made so, measurably, by the working of His Spirit through the chronological reading of His entire Word cover-to-cover? How will those in the pulpit be impacted by those Priests who are now sitting in the pews? It may not be easy for those who are our pastors and teachers - to guide these new "Priests" - a few who have now become learned "theologians". Not easy at all. This leads to our next point....
Pray for our Pastors, Elders, and Church Leaders
Pray for our Church leaders. Pray that they may be given wisdom and discernment with respect to how to adopt the New Reformation. If they decide to move forward in assisting in this New Reformation, pray that they be given patience and discernment to provide the doctrinal guidance and instruction that will inevitably be needed.
Regardless, pray for them anyway. Our culture has inverted itself. It's upside down. Our Church leaders are working diligently and consistently to lead their flocks in this culture, and they need our Prayers. We are asking that the New Reformation principles be adopted - but how can this Reformation even be considered during our rampaging times?
We on The Team do not see how our New Reformation can be discussed or addressed during the continual distractions that our crazy times provides - apart from the Holy Spirit working - which is how things will work occur regardless. And so we trust in His working - we are thankful for His Covenant promises.
We are thankful for our Church leaders. We have been blessed by our Church Leaders. We will Pray for our Church leaders. We encourage all who read this to pray for our Church Leaders.
This Hard Truth
The devil led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’.” Luke 4:9-12.
Consider this hard truth: Satan knows Scripture. He can twist it. Take it out of context. He can use it for his own purposes. This is certainly a reason why believers should regularly read and take in the full testimony of scriptures - to see how it all, cover-to-cover, fits together. If you read the whole of the scriptures, you are less likely to fall into the trap of building a segmented, wrong understanding of Scriptures by being led astray by the tempter and accuser.
A New Scholasticism
The Team is not that learned, to pursue with authority the notion that a diet of “para-biblical” teaching could result in the formation of a unique “theology”. A new Scholasticism. However, clearly there is unbiblical teaching out there. Many generate it, many read it. Venture outside of the protection and shelter of conservative Christian circles and you’ll find it.
For protection from this new thinking, if nothing else, our denominations and our churches need to arm themselves with direct reading of the testimony of the entire Sword of the Spirit - the whole of the Holy Scriptures cover-to-cover.
Scholasticism occurs were belief goes “unanchored” to the scriptures and theologians get creative. It's happening all the time if you venture outside of evangelical circles. Here is a definition of Scholasticism, as the term is normally used, to illustrate how crazy Biblical interpretation can get if left unanchored to the direct reading of His entire Word:
“Scholasticism was a medieval school of philosophy that employed a critical organic method of philosophical analysis predicated upon the Aristotelian 10 Categories. Christian scholasticism emerged within the monastic schools that translated scholastic Judeo—Islamic philosophies, and thereby "rediscovered" the collected works of Aristotle. Endeavoring to harmonize his metaphysics and its account of a prime mover with the Latin Catholic dogmatic trinitarian theology, these monastic schools became the basis of the earliest European medieval universities, and scholasticism dominated education in Europe from about 1100 to 1700. The rise of scholasticism was closely associated with these schools that flourished in Italy, France, Portugal, Spain and England.” Quote from Wikipedia.
Is New Scholasticism Heresy? An Olive Branch
We will not answer the heresy question. But issues raised by the New Reformation movement are serious. Does the Church teach the totality of Scriptures - every book? Our Sovereign Creator provided every book in the Bible in a format to be read.
Do we dare not read every book that was divinely, sovereignly and intentionally given to us by Him?
The New Reformation will cause change. It will lead to opposition and to conflict which will come from many sources, some which are going to be quite surprising. However, before swords are drawn and heresy is charged, we call for reflection and reason.
We offer an Olive Branch:
First, there is very little effort our Churches will need to make to support the New Reformation. On a Church level, the effort impacts primarily what our members do outside the church. Only a brief mention of the effort is necessary.
Secondly, on a Denominational level, a mere acknowledgement of the New Reformation recommendations, via minor modifications of church governing law, is all that is suggested. Governance, in its various forms for our conservative evangelical denominations, normally already acknowledges that the entirety of the Word of God should be studied. Not much more is needed to be consistent with what we propose (In actuality, it may take much effort to revise these laws to support the New Reformation effort. For our major denominations, it may take years to revise laws of governance. With that said, the “theological” distance between what is typically stipulated or outlined in these laws of governance for our evangelical denominations, and the New Reformation - is quite short.)
Third, we recognize that, for various reasons, many will not be able to participate in a full Bible read through program. We provide a list of some of those that might not be able to do a full read through - and we suggest abbreviated reading plans be developed for these groups.
Fourth, we recognize that it is not the reading of the Bible that leads to salvation. Salvation is only provided by His Spirit and the indwelling effort of justification.
Fifth, we recognize clearly that the Bride of Christ is necessary for understanding the Bible. We cannot number or adequately value the importance of the insights helpful in understanding the Bible that we have been provided with via the Holy Spirit working through the teachings of His Church.
Sixth and finally, we recognize that adoption of the New Reformation may be difficult for some - coming at a difficult time in our tumultuous culture. Our Church leaders need our prayers. We will pray for our Church leaders for wisdom on how to address this New Reformation - and we will pray for our Church leaders regardless. As we have noted and again emphasize here, leading our Church during these times is very difficult. We encourage all who read this to pray for them as well.
The New Reformation effort of reading the entirety of Scriptures and the distinct and many efforts to teach, instruct and disciple provided by the Church - are perfect complements. They support each other.
You Need the Bride of Christ.
In no way will the New Reformation effort seek to replace any of the efforts or resources provided by the Bride of Christ - in their many forms. The New Reformation is not intended to become a parachurch organization. Even though you can read through the Bible chronologically by yourself, explanation of what you are reading, along with doctrinal guidance, will be needed - and is essential - and will need to be provided by the Bride of Christ.
The New Reformation will enhance and improve the need for Church instruction and doctrinal guidance. An effective synergy of teaching and Bible reading, on the Church level, could include the development of a Church provided teaching series on Covenants of the Bible - to provide a framework for more fully understanding the Plan of Salvation provided during the Bible read through.
It's not Either/Or - It's Both
We are not saying read the Bible - and nothing else. Through the working of the Holy Spirit, biblically consistent, doctrinally sound blogs, books, and online sermons and teachings can be a source of tremendous edification for the believer. Indeed, He works justification and sanctification for many though the works of saints from past generations, such as writings of the Reformers and the Puritans. We all benefit from teachings from these sources. However, this “diet” needs to be combined with a chronological, cover-to-cover complete reading of His Scriptures.
It's not either / or - its both.
It's Not "Our Way or the Highway"
As far how the reading of the Bible should be done - it's not "our way or the highway". The New Reformation doesn't seek to establish a New Dogma on Bible reading. There are a number of ways to do a cover-to-cover reading. You can do the reading over 6 months or a year, or two years. You don't have to read every year either - every other year could work.
The Team recommends the chronological reading of Scriptures - and we offer our reasoning for this method. However, reading of the Scriptures cover-to-cover can be accomplished by using different approaches. Friends of our Team read portions of the Old and New Testaments as they journey through the Bible daily. Praise Him if this approach works for you!
Having said that, we point out a few things: What has worked best for us is to do the reading over a year. We also listen to an audio reader which reads the daily texts so we are both reading and listening at the same time. We listen to a teaching that corresponds to our daily reading as well.
Finally, even though we do the daily reading along with the audio reading, much, if not most of our understanding of the Bible comes from the teachings of our Church. The Bible teaching we are under along with the Bible studies we attend provide us with innumerable insights on what we are covering daily in our reading - along with an understanding of the “big picture” (i.e., covenantal viewpoint) on innumerable occasions. The teachings from the Bride of Christ - His Church - compliment the Bible reading process on every level.
It Isn't for Everyone
We offer a change in directions here on an important issue. The Bible makes a distinction between those who can only handle milk – and those ready for spiritual meat. It should be the goal for every believer to read through the Bible cover-to-cover, but some may not be ready. The Bible is not just meat – its prime rib. Many are not ready for prime rib 365 days a year.
Further, we want avoid making the Bible reading exercise yet another work righteousness “to do” to earn your salvation. The Bible, precious as it is, does not provide Salvation. It is the gift, given by our Creator, of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior resulting in justification and cleansing from sin that leads to Salvation. The salvation of a sinner and the gift of eternal life is granted by His will. No doubt, this gift can be given as directed by His will to those that have very little exposure to the Bible.
Believers should be encouraged to read though the Bible – but not required. Some may not have the time in their schedule to make the commitment – and there may be solid reasons for this. Some may have started on the task with good intentions, but are frustrated at being unable to complete the journey. Also, it should be accepted with patience and the love of Christ that there may be leaders and officers in the Church that do not have the time, or be ready, for a daily and continual read through of the Bible.
The development of a number of abbreviated Bible read-through plans for various groups should be considered. Groups that would benefit from having a revised and abbreviated chronological Bible reading plan include:
o Those new to the cover-to-cover journey
o The seeker including those from other nations
o Those who have tried, maybe multiple times, but for whatever reason, are frustrated at being unable to complete the journey
o Our homeless and transient population
o Those in assisted living or skilled nursing
o The incarcerated
Bible Reading Plans for Family Devotionals
There are parts of the Bible that are blunt and not suited for reading to young children or family reading. Check out Ezekiel. Moreover, some of the daily readings are quite lengthy and would be hard on the attention span of younger folk. A thorough but appropriate reading plan is needed for family reading.
Biblical Theology / Systematic Theology
We have come to the conclusion that you take on a view of the Bible that is akin to a branch of study called Biblical Theology - as you read through the Bible. The Bible progressively reveals His plan as you move through the chronological journey of His Word. This progressive revelation, this unfolding of God's plan of redemption, is addressed in the teachings we have reviewed on Biblical Theology.
While chronological reading of His Word reveals the unfolding and progressive revelation of His Plan of salvation - and Biblical Theological tells us about this unfolding - Systematic Theology tells us what the Bible says as the entirety of His Word is considered.
In essence, while Biblical Theology tells about the journey, Systematic Theology tells us about what the Journey has taught us, as the entirety of the journey is evaluated. We have found that we need to have a good systematic theology - or understanding of the Bible as a whole - while we move along in our annual chronological journey.
This is an important distinction as one may come to the conclusion that the Bible teaches a certain position on an issue - if only a portion of the scriptures is considered. Consider, for example, that our understanding of sacrificial atonement changes considerably as we move chronologically from the practices of the priests in the Temple in the Old Testament to the advent of our Savior - as discussed in Hebrews 10:
“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason, it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll I have come to do your will my God.’
First, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God…”
It's important to understand the chronological Journey - and Biblical theology which is founded on the Bible - will help us with that. But while the Journey is occurring - to keep a proper view of what is going on and where things are heading - it's important to have a good Systematic Theology.
For help in developing a personal understanding of what the Bible teaches after considering the whole of Scriptures - a "personal systematic theology" - consider reviewing the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed which are in the "Our Beliefs and Who We Are" page of this blog. For more help, consider looking to the Westminster Confession at this link:
Much of the thinking that we have provided for cover-to-cover chronological reading of the Bible also applies to the memorization of Scriptures. It would do well to have both cover-to-cover chronological reading of Scripture and Scripture memorization considered and addressed in concert. Both are allied and complementary activities. Again we stress that salvation only occurs through accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior - and we don't want to burden the believer with another works righteousness "to do" - but intentional and focused coordination of reading and memorization activities could be very fruitful and edifying for many in our Churches.
The New Reformation and God’s Faithfulness to His Eternal Covenants after the Closing of the Cannon
His Covenants made long ago continue. They are in place and effective today, and they will continue forever. This obvious and clear fact will be considered as the New Reformation Project is developed. (However, the discussion of Church history and God’s progressive revelation of His Plan of redemption to our, and future, generations can be most accurately and effectively undertaken, with the ongoing guidance of daily reading of His revealed will being undertaken at the same time - cover-to-cover and chronologically.)Exploring God’s Faithfulness to His eternal covenants after the closing of the cannon is a major undertaking. The New Reformation Team is open to it and this topic may impact the content of our Blog at some point.
We close now by offering a thought which has been on our mind since we started planning the New Reformation. It's a real head scratcher.
Frankly, why isn’t the evangelical Church all over this?
Why aren’t reading plans in place, associated and focused teachings available, and seminaries involved - in full cover-to-cover reading? His divinely inspired and holy Word comes to us in, ready and available to be read, Book form.
Aren't books suppose to be read - and since the Bible is His Word - shouldn't this Book be read cover-to-cover?
The Confessions were labored over for months and years – why weren't they accompanied with Bible reading plans? Same thought for the Catechisms – no Bible reading plans were provided. Over the many years, so much work has been done; but no Bible reading plans provided - or efforts to provide them. At least none that resulted in a clear and ongoing Church emphasis.
Granted, the early Church had a valid excuse; there were few that could read. Even fewer that had access to the Bible. But now, this excuse is moot. Since the mid 1900's literacy rates have dramatically improved. Virtually everyone can read and everyone has access to the Bible - in multiple translations. Bibles are freely available everywhere - waiting to be read and explored - cover-to-cover.
Further, we understand that our mainline evangelical denominations, seminaries and churches have the furthest to travel in adopting the New Reformation. With their established seminaries, publishing houses and legions of teachers and instructors, why would they want to "circumvent" these longstanding and established institutions by having having their flocks read the entire Bible directly? A position we have "repeatedly" emphasized is not our intent...
Regardless, why haven’t those sitting in the pews been clearly and consistently informed of "The Great Insight"… “you know, salvation comes only through accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior - and we don't want to burden you with another works/righteousness "to do"... but... you can read the Bible cover-to-cover yourself… with some help… which we can provide…”.
This should have happened long, long ago. With a loud voice. With exceptional and clear vigor.
In pondering and in prayer we have finally come to one conclusion; the blindness to this obvious and clear consideration has a cause. It is a cause known for its cleverness. This cause can endlessly assume many faces and forms. Please recognize that our intent is not to alarm or overstate... but it’s the only explanation we can think of to address such profound and long enduring oversight.
This cause has an unusual talent...
It's how serpents get around...
In response we offer these thoughts of strength and confidence provided by His Holy Spirit through the great reformer himself:
And though this
world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; His rage we can endure,
for Lo! his doom is sure,
One little Word (indeed His Word) shall fell him