A TIDAL WAVE of “CHANGE” in THE CHURCH by Andrew Strom
This article is about why any coming Revival must also be a
“Great Reformation” as much as anything else. Many Christians
take the attitude that the structures and message and model
and the entire approach of modern Christianity is “mostly fine” –
and just needs a little ‘tweaking’ here and there. I completely
disagree with this. I believe God has plans for a large-scale
overhaul – at least as big as the largest Reformations in history.
Below are some questions that I feel need addressing:
Does it matter that virtually nothing we do today was done like that
in the original church? Our structures, our preaching, our priorities,
our systems, our training, our GOSPEL – none of them seem to bear
more than a passing resemblance to the Bible. In every way we are
UTTERLY DIFFERENT from the church founded by Jesus and the
apostles. When you take these issues one by one they may seem
insignificant. But when you add them all up – can anyone tell me
why we don’t just call ourselves a DIFFERENT RELIGION and be
done with it? I mean, we are virtually nothing like them, are we?
We talk a lot about “getting back to the book of Acts” today. But
what if it involves removing all this junk? Who’s going to take out
the garbage? Is anybody really prepared to pay that kind of price?
The rejection? The bitterness? The hatred?
Revival is one thing. “Reformation” is quite another. You can get
killed with Reformation. Go ask Martin Luther.
One thing I am convinced of. There needs to be a large “ground-
swell” of ordinary people desperate for ‘CHANGE’ for Reformation to
succeed. And I’m not sure that we see that yet. There is certainly
the beginnings of it. But I don’t think it is enough. And I don’t know
what will bring the breakthrough. There needs to be a widespread
sense of desperation. I think it is growing, but I don’t know how long
it will take. And I, for one, am not about to sustain a one-man
crusade to keep the pot stirring until then. A ‘groundswell’ is God’s
business – not mine.
But I am truly convinced that there must be ‘Reformation’ along with
the coming Revival. There must be a new wineskin, otherwise we
will just find ourselves with another 3-year Revival, like so many that
have gone before. Old wineskins leak. That is the lesson of history.
They cannot preserve a Revival. As an historian I can tell you that
the most long-lasting moves of God ALWAYS had a strong element
of ‘Reformation’ about them. If a ‘new wineskin’ was created then
sometimes they were able to last for an entire generation. Glory to
God! Can you imagine that?
I am convinced that for the last 500 years, since the Great
Reformation, God has used each wave of Revival to restore the
church more and more to its original state. The first things He
restored were ‘justification by faith’ and the ‘priesthood of all
believers’. Then in later moves of God we see the teaching of the
‘new birth’ and ‘baptism by immersion’ and ‘holiness’ being restored.
Huge movements burst forth, evangelizing the earth and restoring
lost Biblical truths. Just over the last century alone, the original
“Baptism of the Holy Spirit” and all the gifts have finally been
restored to the church. And since the 1960’s virtually every Revival
that has occurred around the world has been a full-on Holy Spirit-
filled Revival full of healings and miracles from God.
All the pieces are in place for a last great push – a full return to the
simplicity, the purity and the power of the early church. Despite all
the advances, we have never seen an actual ‘Book of Acts’ church
in all her raw beauty, holiness and power. Remember, Jesus is
returning for a church that is “without spot or wrinkle or any such
thing”. I am praying that this coming Revival will see the end of the
‘Reformation’ process that has been ongoing now for 500 years.
I pray that this will be the one that sees the final abandonment of
all that is of ‘Religion’ – and a return to the pristine purity of the
When this process is complete, I believe that ONLY THEN can Jesus
return for His beautiful Bride.
But all the timing is God’s. And much preparation of HEART is needed,
along with structural change. In fact, as I have always emphasized, it
is the HEART issues that are the most important things.
As I said, all the pieces are now in place. Will you pray with me for
one last great Revival and Reformation, my friends?
God bless you all.
Kindest regards in Christ,