Aug 19, 2009

Re: New.

Reformation, revival and renewal

We need ... a holistic or integrated vision of renewal in
every dimension of the church's life.

The Roman Catholic word for this, at least since Vatican
II (1963-65), has been "aggiornamento", the process of
bringing the church up to date in order to meet the
challenges of the modern world. It implies that the world
is changing rapidly and that, if the church is to survive,
it must keep pace with this change, although without either
compromising its own standards or conforming to the

Protestants use a different vocabulary to describe the
continuously needed restoring and refreshing of the church.
Our two favorite words are 'reform', indicating the kind of
reformation of faith and life according to Scripture which
took place in the sixteenth century, and 'revival',
denoting an altogether supernatural visitation of a church
or community by God, bringing conviction, repentance,
confession, the conversion of sinners and the recovery of
backsliders. 'Reformation' usually stresses the power of
the Word of God, and 'revival' the power of the Spirit of
God, in his work of restoring the church. Perhaps we
should keep the word 'renewal' to describe a movement which
combines revival by God's Spirit with reformation by his
Word. Since the Word is the Spirit's sword, there is bound
to be something lopsided about contemplating either without
the other.

--John Stott, from "The Contemporary Christian" (Leicester and Downers Grove: IVP, 1992), p. 258.

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