I Cor. 10:31 — So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.
With these passages we are taught that there is a distinctively Christian way to lean into life … to do all that we do from the most mundane matters to the most exalted. For the Christian nothing is done from a neutral position. For the Christian all is done to glorify God.
This mindset was captured in the Reformation byword of Sola de Gloria. To the glory of God alone.
The Reformed desired to re-order all of life in ways consistent with God’s Word for the purpose of glorifying God alone in ALL they did.
Increasingly that mindset … the mindset of doing all we do for the glory of God is absent in our thinking. The very few that remain that seek to employ that in their thinking and writing are met with the catcalls of their “brethren” saying that Christianity has nothing to do with those areas that they are thinking about how one might live for the glory of God.
There was a time for example when it was routinely understood among Reformed folk that Christianity had a doctrine that had implications for our social order.
It was not thought that Christianity was to be applied only to the matter of salvation of souls. It was understood widely that Christianity created a whole unique social order.
And so with this cry of Sola Dei Gloria Reformed Christianity reshaped the West. This is so true thatWorld renowned German Historian Leopold Van Ranke could write,
“John Calvin was virtually the founder of America.”
“He that will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty”
George Bancroft — Historian
History of the United States of America — Vol. 1 — pg. 464
These men were not speaking of the fact that Reformed Christianity had particular doctrines of Grace that were unique. They were speaking of the Doctrines of the Reformation that created a unique social order and way of living as a people.
So, in seeking to do whatever they did to the glory of God they approached a social order that maintained distinctions and which denied egalitarianism. They saw passages such as “Honor thy Mother and Father,” as passages that taught social hierarchy.
Calvin echoed this,
“All are not created on equal terms … This God has testified, not only in the case of single individuals; He has also given a specimen of it in the whole posterity of Abraham, to make it plain that the future condition of each nation was entirely at His disposal.” – John Calvin
And so wanting to do all they did to the Glory of God and believing in social hierarchy the Reformation created a social order that was opposed to both a static hierarchy and the kind of egalitarianism that the much of the visible Church promotes today.
But it did not stop here. All along the social order the Reformation did all it did for the glory of God.
As another example … The idea of covenantal solidarity that we find communicated in Reformed understandings of Baptism found its way into our Constitution when the Founders wrote they were seeking to,
“secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,”
This is a very Reformed and covenantal way of thinking.
And so the Church has become silent and in becoming silent a vacuum has been created so that other worldviews have achieved a cultural hegemony that would never have been possible in cultures that were epistemologically and self consciously Reformational.
Where the Reformation once called for social heirarchy, the Church has now retreated and so soul killing egalitarianism is all the rage. Where Reformation thinking called for a social order with Limited Governments, the modern Church has retreated and so no tocsin is sounded warning about the rise of Tyrants and Usurpers. Where the Reformation talked about the effects of man’s original sin, the modern Church has retreated and no word is spoken of how original sin manifests itself in our political, educational, aesthetic or economic programs.
In the name of saving souls the Church has become silent about doing all that is done Sola Dei Gloria. As a consequence, we have lost our social order and it is now informed and shaped by pagan religions with the effect that the Church can in no way compete with an alien messaging that is being drummed into people 24-7. Further, because Christianity has surrendered the social order people are now shaped by that social order and bring that shaping into the Church with them with the result that Christianity ends up being reinterpreted in a pagan direction.
We should not be surprised that the Church, with a Reformational message, is largely seen, by a now alien culture, as being hateful, mean, and not nice. We should not be surprised that the Church that does not carry a Reformation message are seen as the haunts of the Simpson’s Rev. Lovejoys of the world.
And God’s people love it so.
What other examples besides the few we already communicated demonstrate this Reformation desire to do all that was done to the glory of God get in and create our social order?
We could talk of checks and balances in Government. We could speak of limited and diffuse Government. We could speak of ordered liberty. We could speak of the Protestant work ethic. We could speak of the idea of male and female roles. We could speak of how the Reformation affected views of Art in the West. We could speak of the formation of a vast network of volunteer societies that sought to ameliorate the hardships of the indigent and the poor. We could speak of adoption agencies and orphanages. We could speak of the pressing need for schools and education so as to teach children to think God’s thoughts after Him. We could speak of the valuing of human life that informed our Doctors and nurses for generations. We could speak of the Trustee family and how it informed generations of family life in the West.
Some of this existed before the rise of the Reformation but all of it was reinvigorated by the Reformation and all of it and a host of other unmentioned issues worked to form a Reformed culture that existed in order to do all that was done to the glory of God.
But now we are told, even by many of the Church, that all this must be shoved aside. It is whispered that all of this is the result of cultural bigotry…. white privilege … institutional racism even. Many in the Church are insisting that this concern about the Reformation in terms of how it leaves a decided stamp on cultures and social orders is something that the Church need not be concerned with.
But as for me and my house, it remains sola deo gloria whether we eat or drink … in word or deed, in every area of life.
One thought on “Reformation Day 2016 Homily”
I came across your blog a week or so ago through a link on the blog of the Dead Kinist.
I enjoyed this Reformation piece. I, about a year and a half ago, came out of an Independent Baptist Church in my home county after studying the Doctrines of Grace. At this point in my studies I am basically a Sovereign Grace Baptist, but I also read and admire Presbyterians and Puritans.
I an going to bookmark your blog this morning. Glad to see you are not fooled into the lesser of two evils argument for Trump.
I put up a little piece on misconstrued liberty on my own blog this morning. It seems to me that most present day patriots ignore America’s Calvinist heritage and misquote scripture.