Cutting clutter

By Not Known

My wife and I have moved house ten times since we married. Each move sees
plenty of clutter to be sifted and trashed.

Clutter accumulates. It’s the same in the church of Jesus Christ.

By the time of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation there was a huge
problem. The church still professed the basics of the faith, but these basics
were almost totally hidden behind churchy clutter. Instead of being a window
through to Jesus, the church was a dark and self-reflecting mirror to itself.

The Reformation was a great spring cleaning at God’s initiative. His book was
‘rediscovered’ and faithful people went back to basics. This was another
re-run of Israel’s reformation in the days of King Josiah (2 Kngs 22: 1- 23:25).
Through people like Luther, Bucer, Zwingli, Calvin, and Knox, the sixteenth-
century church went back to basics. This meant cutting behind church tradition,
listening to the Bible and its message about Jesus and then removing the
churchy clutter.

From Luther on, the reformers realised that God’s message was ‘just Jesus’.
Not ‘Jesus plus the church’. Nor ‘Jesus minus the things we don’t like’. Just
Jesus! This was expressed in the Reformation slogans of ‘Scripture alone’,
‘Grace alone’ and ‘faith alone’. All of these slogans are supported by today’s
Bible passage (Rom 1:1 -6).

We’ve been here at our ORPC home since 1856. That means a lot of clutter.

We have periodic spring cleans of the physical premises ȧnd need a skip to
remove the clutter. But what about the heart of the church?

We say we stand with the Bible and its message. Do we? Do we need to examine
our worship services, our polity, our ministries and our use of resources? What
clutter do we have that goes beyond the message about Jesus? Where do we add
ORPC traditions to the Bible? How do we add to the message of ‘God’s grace’
and ‘our faith’ and thus subvert it?

Let’s cut through the churchy clutter. Let’s go back to basics. Back to the Bible
as our standard. Back to Jesus and Jesus alone. Back to grace and grace alone.
Back to faith and faith alone. The Reformation is as much a present need as a
need in the days of King Josiah and Martin Luther.