Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Semper Reformanda

Ooh, my first blog with a latin heading. How exciting. Not that I know any Latin really, I just read about this phrase in a book once.

Anyway, a good way to mark Reformation Day (that's today, see previous) would be to pray for the reality expressed in those latin words. Semper Reformanda means 'forever reforming'. The reformers believed that one of the marks of a 'reformed' church was that it was always reforming, always examining it's life and teaching and practices in the light of the word of God. That is, to be reformed is to assume that we haven't got everything right (this is not the same as the postmodern assumption that we haven't got anything sorted and never can) and that our lives, our church practices, our teachings, all need to be subjected to the scrutiny of the word of God.

'Semper reformanda' contrasts with the approach of some reformed christians who simply long for a return to a 'golden age' and who often behave as if the 16th/17th centuries marked an end point (not just a high point, which of course it was) in understanding the mind of God revealed in the scriptures.

'Semper reformanda' challenges those of us who set our reforming sights too low because of the weakness of the church in the UK. Whilst a return to even some of the biblical norms that previous generations of evangelicals held onto would be a major and exciting progression for us today, we mustn't limit the scope of our reforming to such a recovery. We need far more than to simply 'get back to the way things used to be'.

And finally, perhaps one way to implement 'semper reformanda', as someone suggested to me today, is to stop using latin phrases where english ones will do.

1 comment:

matthew said...

Good comments Pete. I increasingly think it strange that we call ourselves Reformed, as if the process is over. Perhaps we should start calling ourselves Reforming Catholics. There is yet more truth and light to break forth from God's Holy Word!