A year-long series of weekly essays re-imagining the Reforming Church.  This is not a scholarly effort, crafting neither an ecclesiastical nor a theological system.  Rather, it is simply a futurist’s snapshot –  it is how I imagine the church proceeding forward through the next decades in the tradition of the Reformation.

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:2

Years ago, I read Niebuhr’s Social Sources of Denominationalism which, as I recall, was an academic lament of the divisive barriers within the church.  Beyond the expected divides over doctrine and theology, the church is also divided over class, race, and wealth.  In fact, the premise of the book was that these social sources were clearer indicators of the divide in the church than doctrine and theology.

And yet, I remember listening to a lecture given by Jürgen Moltmann[1] in Nashville at Vanderbilt University nearly 40 years ago when I was an ecclesial tadpole, characterizing the church as whole, inclusive of class, wealth, race, disability (which I remember specifically), and maybe if he were to give that lecture today he would add sexual identity.  For years, I have articulated my vision of the Church in my invitation to the Eucharistic Table:  All are welcomed, young and old, rich and poor, male and female, red and yellow, black and white, of every nation and ethnicity.

The Reforming Church is constantly vigilant, taking care as to mend any breach in its solidarity.  This solidarity is key to the Church’s witness, which takes care to share the hope of Jesus Christ in a voice that is familiar to all.  That is a voice which speaks in the language of the people whether that language is one of the languages of the world, or the nuances of language lent by wealth, power, nationality, race or any other social construct that defines the Church’s context.

To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever!” – Romans 16:27

[1] Reformed German Theologian, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at the University of Tübingen.

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