Oh dear, I shouldn’t have questioned Perry Noble’s reformation announcement. Commentators to those posts have told us that Noble is a simple man, so what he says shouldn’t be taken seriously. Then we were told, no, there really is a reformation, but how dare we criticize it. We should all come together and acknowledge that there’s no warrant to criticize anything Noble does or says because he’s doing God’s work.
If you’re going to ask for unity, though, you should stop advertising yourself as a reformer.
The 1517 Reformation split the church asunder and had theological and political effects that shook Europe to the core and continue to shape the world to this day. It was literally a war. (Has anyone heard of Northern Ireland?) When Martin Luther pushed his cause, he mobilized a powerful enemy that sought to take his life. The Reformation was all about defining differences and taking sides.
This is why–I don’t know how to say this any more plainly–Noble is foolish to talk of reformation (though he’s only following in Rick Warren’s footsteps). If the word is to mean anything at all in a church context, it means condemning the fundamental beliefs of the established church.
For the record, I don’t think Noble is using the word carelessly; I think he believes in his bones that this is a reformation on the scale of 1517. That accounts for his all-too-common public vitriol against the church.
We need to know exactly what Noble is condemning; we need to know what he stands for. Where are his 95 Theses? Where are his Institutes?
You can have unity, or you can have reformation. You can’t have both.