"See, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not be aware of it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert" (Is. 43:19).
True revival always results in reformation. Godly reformation is the restoration or renewal of what is righteous and holy to a system or culture. As we look ahead to the future with hope for change, we look to the past and celebrate the legacy of transformation that continues to impact us today.
2017 marks the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a movement that began with one man, Martin Luther, who brought lasting change and transformed perspectives. I want to share keys from this historic shift to honor and celebrate Luther's legacy and help us step into our God-given roles as effective reformers for the Kingdom.
What Was the Protestant Reformation?
"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32).
During the recent Revival Alliance Conference in Pasadena, California, I participated in a panel with some of my closest friends and partners in ministry. During the discussion, we reflected on the nature of reformation, and the significance of this 500th Anniversary. As Georgian [Banov] put it during the panel, "Reformation is coming alive to the truth of Jesus Christ!"
Martin Luther was a man who woke up to the power of the gospel by reading the Bible for himself. His intention was not to bring division to the Catholic Church, but to illuminate the truth. Through Luther's teachings, people were awakened to the sufficient work of Jesus Christ on the Cross to save them from sin, and the power and infallibility of the Word of God.
The Protestant Reformation did not only bring scriptural truth to the Christian faith, it impacted Western civilization forever by encouraging people to learn how to read. Luther translated the Bible into German so laypeople could read the Word of God for themselves, if they were literate. Paired with the relatively recent invention of the printing press, this revolutionized not only education and literacy, but society itself through the sphere of media in 16th-century Europe. Bibles and other reformative literature were printed and distributed en masse to bring new perspective to the public. The Protestant Reformation was a true renewal, bringing change and transformation to a culture and society desperately in need of truth.
What Will Reformation Look Like Today?
As we consider what reformation will look like in our society, we must know that it will always elevate the truth and bring light to the darkness. As we contend for revival to come with salvations and miracles, we must expect that revival will result in reformation. When we experience the glory of God in increasing measure, we will also experience the growth of justice and righteousness in our society. Just as people were awakened to the simple truth of the gospel in the 16th century, so will people see the power of kingdom values in this next wave of reformation.
Reformation brings change that infiltrates multiple spheres of influence in a society or culture. I believe that we are in a historic season where unique circumstances in America and all over the world are preparing us for a shift of values in our society. I believe that now is the time for the Bride of Christ to bring reformation of holiness and truth to culture. Just as the invention of the printing press provided a platform to expand the Protestant Reformation in Europe, new circumstances in media, technology, politics and other areas have created opportunities for great transformation. As the Holy Spirit brings awakening to the church and affirms our identity as the children of God, we will come into new positions of influence and authority. We will see His kingdom come in politics, education, arts and entertainment, media, family, government and religion.
You Are a Reformer!
As you consider your role as a reformer, ask God where and how He has designed you to bring truth. If you are called to Hollywood, God may be calling you to create film that glorifies gospel values of redemption and love. If you are a social worker, your purpose is to advocate for justice and righteousness and to bring restoration to the lives of those you serve. Regardless of where He has planted you, God has a plan and purpose for you that exceeds even your wildest dreams and expectations. He has called you for such a time as this!
Ché Ahn and his wife, Sue, are the founding pastors of HRock Church in Pasadena, California. Ché serves as the founder and president of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the international chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). With a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, he has played a key role in many strategic outreaches on local, national and international levels. He has written more than a dozen books and travels extensively throughout the world, bringing apostolic insight with an impartation of renewal, healing and evangelism.
This article originally appeared at hrockchurch.com.