As I wrote last time, dwelling in the past will not get you anywhere, in fact, it won’t make you a better person. Quit being a conservative, become reformed instead!
Should we be rooted in the past? Of course!
We need to preserve the past and the many lessons it provides us (both cautionary and wise ones), the wisdom of the past generations can still help us in modern times.
Unfortunately, false conservatism can become too nostalgic, where they uncritically glorify the past as a golden age. Theologian Michael Horton warns against the dream of a golden age, even the Reformation or Early Church days. Instead, we need to return to the “founding events of Christ’s saving work [so] that each generation can experience the liberating power of the gospel for its own time and place.”
The vestiges of Modernism cuts away the power of God’s Word and false conservatism is admittedly lazy and shallow, holding onto the remnant of a shattered heritage. Churches today do need a new reformation though; however, they don’t need to return to the era of Calvin and Luther, but need to return to the gospel of Christ.
We need to uproot the ignorance of Scripture and return to the source. We need to recover a robust orthodoxy that is founded in the work of Jesus: recovering a faith that is rooted in the work of Christ and is sustained by the sacraments. According to Horton, this orthodoxy “refuses a dead repetition of dull routine, but asks what it believes and why it believes it. It returns to the source of its life, not only for the Church’s sake, but also for the benefit of the world.”
Dear friends, we are not caretakers of a cemetery or guardians of a heritage. We are ambassadors of the ever-living King who will one day return to put the world to rights. As ambassadors, we are called to our families, neighborhoods, and countries so that we might point others to this life giving message.
The truth is greater than stale progressive or conservative though. The good news it that sin and death do not get the last word, this life giving King will instead bring life in abundance.