"Watch your life and doctrine closely.
Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself
and your hearers."¯ 1 Timothy 4:16
As I write this the U.S. Bureau of the Census, is
projecting that the the resident population of the United States
will reach 300,000,000 people today (click
here for current total). You take that number and with some
polls that say there are "78 million "marginal" Protestants
who claim a traditional religious identity but are not active in
churches." and the fact that "Church attendance across
denominational lines has suffered a five-year decline and has sunk
to its lowest level in two decades" you realize that something has
Semper Reformanda is a shortened form of a motto of the
"Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est secundu Verbum Dei "
Which translates "the reformed Church must be always reforming
according to the Word of God."
This refers to the Protestant position that the church must
continually re-examine itself, reconsider its doctrines, and be
prepared to accept change, in order to conform more closely to
orthodox Christian belief as revealed in the Bible.
I believe that the church should continue to re-examine itself
and its methods and the way it communicates to itself and this lost
world but there are some things that remain true no matter what age
we are living in. Some of those are:
- Salvation has always been and always will be by grace alone,
through faith alone in Christ alone.
- God's Word - the Holy Bible - is inerrant (free from
error*), infallible (incapable of error in defining doctrines
touching faith or morals*), and is "God breathed" as stated in 2
Timothy 3:16-17 - "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be
complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."**
- The attack on God's Word started in Genesis and continues to
the present day. That is why we are told to "contend earnestly
for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints"
because "certain men have crept in unnoticed...who turn the
grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God"
"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning
our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you
exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once
for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in
unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation,
ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and
deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." Jude 3-4**
With the U.S. following many other secular nations in becoming a
society without rigorous systems of Christian faith our churches
could end up serving only as a moral training ground or a place of
civic gathering unless Pastor's and congregations return back to our
foundation that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God
and is the source for every thing we need in this age.
The shortened form of the phrase, "semper reformanda," literally means "always
about to be reformed", but the usual translation is taken from the
full sentence where it is used in a passive periphrastic
construction to mean "always reforming."
So whether we are "always about to be reformed" or "always
reforming" let us remember to re-examine our methods and make sure
we haven't become like the ones we set out to be reformed from but
at the same time let us not dilute or water down our message to the
point of becoming ill-effective.
Love in Christ
*Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster's
collegiate dictionary. Includes index. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield,
Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
**The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Ti 3:16-17). Nashville: Thomas