Sentenced to Reformation

Nicholas Wolterstoff in his book Until Justice and Peace Embrace, discusses “world-formative Christianity.” He writes that the church during the Medieval era saw the Christian faith as what he calls an avertive religion. In other words, the ideal Christian life is averting oneself from the world to seek escape from the world through contemplation. The job of the average Christian was to accept his place in the world and to aspire to a higher, holier, world-averting life that in reality only monks and priests could attain. But with the Reformation there came a radical new way of looking at the Christian life. No longer was the goal of the life of a Christian to be averted from the world, but rather to transform the world. As Wolsterstoff puts it, when the Reformers came on the scene, “The structure of the social world was held up to judgment, pronounced guilty, and was sentenced to be reformed. World-formative Christianity came out from the wings of history and onto center stage.” The key feature of world-formative Christianity is that it cannot accept the world as it is. It must be changed, transformed according to the Word of God. And the church must be the agent of that transformation.

          – David Bryant


2 responses to “Sentenced to Reformation

  1. I think if he said world formative religion came out of the Mendicant orders he’d perhaps have a point. It’d be pretty hard though to say that the Franciscan or Dominican ideal was to leave the world. And anyone can be at least a tertiary to the Franciscans or Dominicans.

  2. Matthew;
    You guys are very deep. I think I got it David.
    “Go to all the world and preach the gospel, ………..use words if you must”
    I don’t remember where I got that.


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