Dear Dearly beloved in Christ,
Greetings in the matchless name of our savior.
God has provided us with one more blessed month. Last month came to an end by celebrating the 70 years of our great Church – CSI and this month begins by celebrating the Youth Week. Both the elders and the young people are equal before the Lord and are equally important part of our Church. On the other hand, the today’s youth in general represent a generation for whom the biggest visible change has been in their lifestyles. The old socialist mantra of “rice in every bowl” has now been replaced with “a cell phone in every hand”. It is in this kind of a converging context, the meaning of ‘Spirituality’ has to be unlocked or redefined. The word ‘Spirituality’ is very much in fashion among Christians of our times. As youngsters our spirituality should reflect the choices that we make in our life styles, the preferences that we opt convey the commitment that we have towards life and its reality. Today, many youngsters are lured by the so called development paradigms which are not life affirming but life-negating. So let our lifestyle reflect the true ‘Spirituality’.
This month the Church also celebrates the Reformation Sunday, around the world. What is reformation? Dictionary refers to as, the act or process of improving something or someone by removing or correcting faults, problems, etc. and importantly of, a religious movement of the 16th century that began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church and resulted in the creation of Protestant churches. Reformation is renewal of life. To quote Rev. K. J. Victor or CSI Synod in an article that mentions, the protestant reformation was a broad movement in sixteenth century Europe. When the reformers sought to purify the church of unbiblical doctrine and practice, they often spoke of the need to “reform” the church according to God’s word. Although this was a reaction against the Roman Catholic Church,it was also an embrace of the scriptures’ unique authority, a return to the doctrine and practice of the apostolic church, and an outgrowth of various reforming currents in the medieval church. While many of these changes took place at the hand of Martin Luther and his German colleagues based in Wittenberg, a much more geographically diverse collection of Protestant theologians, ministers and congregations came to agree upon doctrinal creeds, liturgical (worship) reforms,and characteristics of church polity which became known as “Reformed”. While the Reformed expression of Christianity has roots in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it became an enduring form of Christianity through written creeds and the churches which embraced them.
We should always be able to understand that the Word of God always stands above the Church. And according to the Gospel of John, chapter 10, the church is characterized as the flock of sheep that listens to the voice of the Good Shepherd and does not listen to the voice of a stranger. How are we now? Church is not a static institution but a dynamic body of the people of God. Reformation is not something that which happened only once; it is an ongoing process which is still happening. Reformed churches should continue to reform the people around and reform within. Reformation needs self-denial. To be something new/renewed we should be able to give up whatever was not good within us. That is only possible with the proper understanding of the Word of God. At this point we should note down the important ‘solas’ with regard to the reformation. The Reformers were guided by the conviction that the church of their day had drifted away from the essential, original teachings of Christianity, especially in regard to what it was teaching about salvation. From this emerged the five solas. The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity. The five solas of the Protestant Reformation offered a strong corrective to the faulty practices and beliefs of the time, and they remain relevant today. We are called to focus on Scripture, accept salvation by grace through faith, magnify Christ, and live for God’s glory.
- Sola scriptura: “Scripture alone”
- Sola fide: “faith alone”
- Sola gratia: “grace alone”
- Solo Christo: “Christ alone”
- Soli Deo gloria: “to the glory of God alone”
God Bless You All!