Next-Wave Reformation Manifesto

Next-Wave Reformation

Manifesto—Prototype 

 

Introduction

This
document is an attempt to introduce unity in a relatively new Christian movement. I use the term “relatively” for
two important reasons. The first reason is that some of the main people in this
movement began their ministry over thirty years ago. This is not precisely new.
However, in comparison with the entirety of the Christian Church it is new. So
new is this movement that it has (at least to my knowledge) not been officially
classified as a movement.

This
leads me to my second reason why I used the term “relatively.” Each component
that makes up this movement is not
new. In fact, some of the components have already been classified as movements.
Many of these components already have a long and rich history.

So
what is this relatively new movement? I have called it Second-Wave Reformation Theology.
I call it “Reformed” because those within the movement are consciously Protestant
as well as Calvinistic. It is “Second-Wave” because it is clearly distinct from the first Reformation.

Origins

            This
movement came about through several significant events. Some of the events that
led to the Second-Wave Reformation were shifts in theological methods. Some of
the events comprised the advent of several evangelical speakers gaining prominence
among non-Reformed people. In addition to this, this movement has been born out
of controversy. The list could go on.

Because
so much has happened to make this movement possible, it is difficult to
document its origins. Each event has its own history as well as its own
significant breakthroughs, and its own major advocates. However, as difficult
as a task this may be, it still needs to be done.

The
Second-Wave of the Reformation began to take shape when portions of the Jesus
People Movement (of the 1960’s into the 1970’s) met seminary-level theology. This
clash happened on many levels.

One milestone was
the sudden popularity of delivering sermons verse-by-verse rather than topically.
While there is nothing new about this method of teaching, it gained prominence
in the Calvary Chapel movement which was part of the Jesus Movement. A new
group of theologians, pastors, and laity were challenged with working through the
text of the Bible. In their quest to explain the Scripture verse-by-verse, some
began to read old commentaries. This led to a renewed interest in doctrines
that were for the most part only dealt with in seminaries. One of the major
doctrines dealt with was, of course, the doctrine of Calvinism.

This is not to say
that everyone who worked through the Bible verse-by-verse became Calvinists;
however, many did. And even those who did not still had to deal with the
subject as they worked through the Bible.

With the rise of
Jesus People, also came a rise of non-denominational and independent Churches.
It is important to note that not all non-denominational and independent
Churches were a result of the Jesus People Movement. However, they did contribute
to their popularity.

Non-denominational
and independent Churches were (and still are) not necessarily bound by a
confession of faith.[1]
Issues were allowed to be re-examined without the fear of being kicked out of a
denomination. Some of the issues examined at the time were Calvinism, the gifts
of the Spirit, the relationship of the covenants, and many more.

Another
significant step was the foundation of the Ligonier Study
Center in 1971. The study
center opened in the Ligonier Valley of Pennsylvania. R. C. Sproul was and
still is the chief speaker of this ministry. Although R. C. is a Presbyterian,
the study center was open to anyone who wanted to come. This allowed a vast
amount of people to study under a Reformed thinker.

In addition to
this, the ministry of Francis Schaeffer began to gain momentum during this
time. L’Abri attracted a lot of countercultural individuals. Here is an example
of another Reformed thinker influencing a great amount of people out-side his
denomination.

It was also during
this time that another major advancement took place. This advancement was the
ordination of Dr. Robert Morey into the teaching ministry. In 1972 Dr. Morey
became the assistant to Dr. Al Martin at Trinity Reformed Baptist Church. Dr.
Morey is one of the first to deal with and form Second-Wave Reformation
Theology. And now he is one of the main examples of one who would strongly
advocate the articles listed in this document.[2]

The next
contributing factor came later. In the eighties, tape ministries became very
popular. Tape ministries allowed many people to study at a seminary level
without leaving their vocation. Again, many people had an opportunity to
wrestle with theological issues who were, in many cases, not afraid of being
expelled from a denomination. A great many of those who dominated the tape
ministries were Reformed thinkers.

Another
advancement took place in during the eighties and into the nineties. Dr. John
Piper labored in the Word to formulate a position that maintained the gifts of
the Sprit for today, however, not in
the historic Pentecostal sense.[3]

During the early
nineties, C. J. Mahaney founded People of Destiny International (P. D. I.). P.
D. I. later became known as Sovereign Grace Ministries. This ministry comprised
a family of Churches that believe in the gifts for today as well as maintaining
Calvinism and a baptistic theology. This could be considered the first
established organization that could be characterized under Second-Wave
Reformation Theology.

Sources

            When
writing this manuscript, I drew primarily upon three sources:

  1. Dr. Robert Morey.
  2. Dr. John Piper.
  3. And the work of Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Although there
were other sources used for this work, there is one more worth mentioning. For
this document I conducted more than a dozen interviews with independent
Reformed pastors, assistant pastors, and layperson.

About This Document

This document is a
manifesto-prototype. It puts fourth in positive proposition those beliefs that
would fall under Second-Wave Reformation Theology.

However, it is
only a prototype. I use this term for two very important reasons. First, there
are as yet no signers of this document. I use the term “we” throughout this
paper. It is important to note that I only use it hypothetically. This document
does not speak officially for anyone. Although, I do believe it accurately
represents the theology of many Reformed thinkers today.

The other reason I
underscore the term prototype is that the document is not yet complete. There
is room for addition, subtraction, or improvement. There were some subjects
that I could not write a definitive manifesto-type statement about. In addition
to this, I also wrote a number of digressive statements. I kept these
statements in brackets so that the reader would understand that this is not
part of the manifesto.


[1]This
was not always a good thing. Unfortunately, some churches that were without a
confessional creed have fallen into heresy.

[2]This is
based on my own estimation based on years and years of researching Dr. Robert
Morey’s material.

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About nextluther12

Ean has a BRS, and an MTS from Columbia Evangelical Semenary. He is currently working on a doctrite from the same school. Ean was ordained to the ministry by Dr. Robert Morey in 2005. He has written a book that is not yet published called The Theology of Jesus.
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