The Unfinished Reformation

An Analysis

Neil Girrard
Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
Mt. 13:41-42 π Mt. 24:10 π Gal. 5:20 π Eph. 4:3 π Eph. 5:27 π 2 Ths. 2:3 π 2 Ths. 2:11-12 π Rev. 2:4-5 π Rev. 2:6 π Rev. 2:15

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes are from The Unfinished Reformation by Charles Clayton Morrison (Harper Bros., New York, 1953)

What conclusions may we draw from Morrison’s work? His book certainly resists simple “bottom line” conclusions. It is the depth of his book that lends itself to a conversation of depth one is hard pressed to find anywhere else on the planet. His conclusions though, based as they were on a mixture of ideas gleaned from various sources, were a mixture of divinely-inspired sound reasoning, misguided good intentions and demonically-inspired deception. As such, one can – as this series proves – spend a considerable amount of time weighing what Morrison has said throughout the book.

Perhaps the greatest value in the book is not in what it says but the conversation it opens up into. Morrison’s insights lead naturally to a discussion of the nature of the “church,” its rampant and virtually unchecked sins, and what the true ekklesia might be. Morrison’s conclusions (even when wrong) expressed his attempt to make a deeper analysis and observation than most “church”-ites care to subject their denomination (sect) to.

There are several over-arching characteristics that stand out in The Unfinished Reformation. Morrison himself serves as the forerunner or type of the spiritual schizophrenic believer that is so prevalent today. He has imbibed and collected together all kinds of information – spiritual, emotional and intellectual – and put forth a curious mixture of what some would call “cutting edge” or “front line” revelation far ahead of its time and season, outright error and human reasoning. The last two of these, in particular, are the usual fruit of the average “church” goer today though occasionally one is surprised by just how much some “church”-ites really know, especially about the pagan origins of “church” practices (empty knowledge since most still do nothing about what they know). This spiritual schizophrenia, as exhibited in Morrison’s excellent insights contrasted with his other jaw-dropping, mind-bending conclusions, is a primary characteristic of the churchianity that is the great falling away from the faith. ( Mt. 24:10 , 2 Ths. 2:3; top )

Another over-arching characteristic that stands out in the book is Morrison’s willingness to discuss the sins of the “church.” Even when he is wrong (as he was when he called Protestant denominationalism the counterpart of Catholic clergyism – p. 71), his forthright frankness in calling sin sin is a welcome change of pace. The book, for this frankness alone, has much within it to commend it.

But Morrison’s book serves perhaps best for a purpose he only marginally intended. His book stands as a guidebook and explanation of the “partial achievement of union” accomplished by the ecumenical movement in the early 1940s, leaving us “an example and an earnest of the more ultimate consummation.” (p. 226) It would have been much simpler for the movement to seek to find the unity of the Spirit ( Eph. 4:3; top ) for that is already and always available to anyone willing to humble himself and submit to all his brothers and sisters who walk in the Spirit of the Lord. (Note well that such a submission today would not include a vast majority of that which calls itself the “church of Jesus Christ.”) Instead, the ecumenicals opted for the “unity” of the ecumenical order which, built on the sin-filled building blocks of the denominations and being only yet another work of men, it could not help but fail though much work, purportedly in the name of Christ, is carried on in that organization to this day. Though his book is intended to be a sales pitch to win followers to the ecumenical movement, it displays well (for those with eyes to see) the errors that were incorporated into that movement, errors that truly are schemes of the devil to ensnare men.

The Reformation of the sixteenth century remains unfinished to this day. The people of Christ, in order to become in reality and experience the spotless and blameless bride of Christ ready for her Husband’s appearance ( Eph. 5:27 ), must return to her first love and regain the heights from which the first people of Christ departed and fell. ( Rev. 2:4-5 ) The only alternative is to finish falling away from the faith by remaining faithful to one’s denomination (sect, dissension – Gal. 5:20 ) or to one’s “pastor” (Nicolaitan – Rev. 2:6 , 15 ) and come under the strong delusion that God sends upon those who prefer unrighteousness more than they desire God’s will, righteousness and truth. ( 2 Ths. 2:11-12 ) The time is now to choose whether one will be a wheat or a tare – when the angels come to remove the tares, there will be no more time for changing one’s nature. (see Mt. 13:41-42; top ) The choice is ours to make – choose you this day whom you will serve. God and Christ Jesus or yourself and ultimately Satan. There are no other choices available.

Let he who has ears hear.

9. Loyalty and Freedom in a United Church
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