At church today we had a stirring brass and percussion instrumental that had me ready to march to Wittenburg to re-enact nailing the 95 Theses on the church door. As God would have it, tyranny in churches exists right where I live so there is no need to take a plane to Germany. There are today still church leaders who step beyond their authority to teach and preach and decide to take on a role of believing themselves the only ones capable of rightly interpreting Scripture or rightly counseling members regarding life decisions. By their actions they subjugate the work of the Holy Spirit to that which fits personal parameters, even enacting pressure and claiming dominion over the opinions and decisions of members.
In our bulletin this morning, there was an excellent piece by Christian Education and Publications entitled *Liberation of the Church, written by Charles Dunahoo. The link I've included allows you to download a pdf of the article. The article detailed the reason for celebrating God's sovereign rule over His church on earth, an explicit call to rightly remember the pre-eminence of Christ and His design for the church, and to continue to be reforming our churches today after the true spirit of the Reformation. I love this quote,
"God raised up the reformers to save the people from the tyranny of those religious leaders and rediscover the proper role of the church......What became clear was the church was not meant to be the all powerful institution that it had become. It had not been given complete control and authority over people's lives. It was not to be led by men who were not under the authority of God's Word." (CEP, Copyright 2010)I believe in godly authority and right counsel and greatly respect those who teach God's truth with firm and gracious boldness. Such authority is not only an ideal but a place of achievable peace and purity within the church. However, when any authority begins to forget the graces of humility for his position, forgets to remember as Paul humbly did that he is the worst of sinners, or forgets to remember that it is mercy God shows His children and requires anyone calling themselves His representatives to do the same, that authority becomes no less than what drew Martin Luther to the door with a hammer and nail.
Thank you, Martin Luther, for calling men back to the clear and beautiful Word of God.