1. Introduction

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.)
Mk. 7:13 π Jn. 16:13 π Acts 8:1 π Acts 9:31 π Acts 11:22 π Acts 11:26 π Acts 13:1 π Acts 14:26-27 π Acts 15:3-4 π Acts 15:22 π Acts 15:41 π Acts 16:4-5 π Acts 18:22 π Acts 20:17 π Rom. 16:1 π Rom. 16:4 π Rom. 16:5 π Rom. 16:16 π Rom. 16:23 π 1 Cor 1:2 π 1 Cor. 5:6-8 π 1 Cor. 11:16 π 1 Cor. 16:1 π 1 Cor. 16:19; 2nd π 2 Cor 1:1 π 2 Cor. 6:14 π 2 Cor. 7:1 π 2 Cor. 8:1 π Gal. 1:2 π Gal. 1:22 π Eph. 4:21 π Phlp. 4:15 π Col. 4:15 π Col. 4:16 π 1 Ths. 1:1 π 1 Ths. 2:14 π 2 Ths. 1:1 π 2 Ths. 1:4 π 2 Ths. 2:9-12 π 1 Tim. 4:1 π Phlm. 2 π Rev. 1:4 π Rev. 1:11; 2nd π Rev. 1:20 π Rev. 2:1 π Rev. 2:8 π Rev. 2:12 π Rev. 2:18 π Rev. 3:1 π Rev. 3:7 π Rev. 3:14 π Rev. 12:11

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

In the foreword, Morrison writes:

“Each national church is a distinct entity and will continue as a distinct entity even when it is ecclesiastically united in a world-wide church.” (p. xii)

This is contradictory to the picture the New Testament paints of assemblies in a regional or national context. Only local, one-city or one-house assemblies are said to be a one-unit ekklesia and the plural of ekklesia is reserved for regions. (see singular houses: Rom. 16:5 , 23 , 1 Cor. 16:19 , Col. 4:15 , Phlm. 2 ; singular cities: Acts 8:1 , 11:22 , 26 , 13:1 , 14:26-27 , 15:3-4 , 22 , 16:4-5 , 18:22 , 20:17 , Rom. 16:1 , 1 Cor 1:2 , 2 Cor 1:1 , Phlp. 4:15 , Col. 4:16 , 1 Ths. 1:1 , 2 Ths. 1:1 , Rev. 1:11 , 2:1 , 8 , 12 , 18 , 3:1 , 7 , 14 ; plural regions: Acts 9:31 , 15:41 , Rom. 16:4 , 16 , 1 Cor. 11:16 , 16:1 , 19 , 2 Cor. 8:1 , Gal. 1:2 , 22 , 1 Ths. 2:14 , 2 Ths. 1:4 , Rev. 1:4 , 11 , 20; top ) This simple change in usage of terms is responsible for much of the confusion that rules the “church” world today.

Morrison’s second flawed underlying premise is his aim to unite Protestantism but in this he fails to include all who name the name of Christ as if Protestantism (in contrast to all other forms of Christianity) were the only correct one. Morrison notes, for example,

“The difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are crucial and insoluble short of the radical transformation of one or the other. Therefore, to be diverted from our search for Protestant unity by a sentimental consideration of reconciliation with Roman Catholicism would be like dropping the bone to seize the shadow.” (p. xii, emphasis added)

Since the days of Morrison, the ecumenical movement has included the Roman Catholic “church” – so apparently the movement has contented itself with seizing the shadow! But even Morrison’s premise fails to recognize that Protestantism, like Catholicism, is only just another sect or division or denomination in its own right. Purging all our practices done in the name of Christ so that they are truly free of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit ( 2 Cor. 7:1 ) and free of all leaven so that we can be the unleavened loaf Christ intends us to be ( 1 Cor. 5:6-8; top ) is how we must complete the Reformation begun so long ago. We must remove all the Romish, Protestant, Evangelical, denominational, Nicolaitan, antichrist, Babylonish and carnal (fleshly) influences and traditions of mere men and seek out Him who is the Head who alone can lead us on to be His spotless, blameless, blemish-free bride.

Morrison’s third flawed premise results in mere tolerance of the sinful influences and traditions he is denouncing. He advocates a position of “detached attachment” which he portrays as

“the observer stands loyally within his own denomination, sharing all its sensitivities – ideological, historical and procedural; but at the same time, without dislodging these attachments, he is sufficiently detached to see them in relation with the ideological, historical and procedural sensitivities of other Christians.” (p. xv)

Morrison’s thought here is that one can be rooted in one’s own sinful divisions, tolerate the sinful divisions of others and somehow we will miraculously arrive at being the pure body of Christ. In the New Testament, doing what is right in one’s own eyes and tolerating the sins of others (which are right in their eyes) has nothing in common with righteousness (what is right in God’s eyes – 2 Cor. 6:14; top )

And this is perhaps Morrison’s greatest flaw – and the greatest flaw of the whole ecumenical movement – the horizontal focus between men is held almost constantly in view while the vertical focus between men and God is obscured to the point of being nearly (if not totally) inconsequential and irrelevant. Though one of the Holy Spirit’s main jobs is to lead us into all truth ( Jn. 16:13 ) – truths which are found in Christ Jesus ( Eph. 4:21; top ) – we are supposed to follow the traditions of men even when they contradict the word of the Lord as the Spirit would lead us into a greater understanding.

Morrison later writes,

“Our Christian faith, in accordance with our Lord’s own promise, has been discovering new meanings in His gospel and new imperatives in the mission of His church.” (p. 7)

And, after an excellent analysis of the Reformation, concludes,

“The Reformers had no intention of breaking with the historic church. They were out to rescue the historic church from the clutch of an alien regime which had fastened itself upon it and kept it unconscious of its true nature for a thousand years.” (p. 23)

Similarly there are those today who also see that the Reformation is unfinished but, in accordance with new discoveries of new meanings in the Scriptures (or re-discoveries of lost and obscured meanings is more accurate), now these people are seeing that there are many “church” practices the Reformers, failing to see the depths of the deception upon the people of Christ, failed to jettison, practices that are derived from the teachings of demons ( 1 Tim. 4:1 ) and the traditions of men. ( Mk. 7:13 ) Until these cherished traditions and teachings are finally recognized for what they truly are (the work of demons and men that war against the work of God), the Reformation will remain unfinished, the alien regime (the demonic) that dominates and controls the thoughts, beliefs and activities of far too many followers of Christ will remain secretly enthroned and the bride will not be ready for her Husband’s return. Thus in the last days, those who do not love the truth will readily join the apostate, fallen “church” (or any other manmade religion – see 2 Ths. 2:9-12 ) even while the genuine ekklesia is purified by fire, persecution, tribulation and even death and so overcomes the deceits of the real enemy behind the scenes, the devil and his demonic horde. (see Rev. 12:11; top )

Let he who has ears hear.

Foreword π 2. The Ecumenical Awakening (Part 1)
Table of Contents

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