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"If my Church believes in an everlasting temple, here on earth, they must build in a more temporary, less permanent way. There are many possible church structures, all of which can be good and useful, but people must not try to make any one of them into an absolute. People must keep hold of the content, and give it a new form, which is suitable for the people of this age."  pg 168 from The Royal Way, by Frans Horsthuis. 

The Parable of The Rock Garden  by Jack Crabtree
Escape from Christendom by Robert Burnell
Beyond McChurch by Philip Lancaster
Defending Our Old Wineskins?  by Michael Clark

About Reformation & Change
by Teri Lee Earl

So why concern ourselves with change?

Generally, two words are used to describe an over-all change coming to the Church, 'restoration' and 'reformation'.  Each has its strength and weaknesses in what it portrays or communicates.

Restoration often presumes that there are lost truths or practices that need to be 'restored'. As in the article posted on this site, Restoration of the Church by Arthur Wallis,  God does work to 'revive' dead obscured truths, often in conjunction with a revival or spiritual awakening movement.

There are various restoration theories, however, that are in effect, various forms of deception. They tend to be loosely based on scriptures such as Mark 9:12-13 (please cross-reference this with Luke 1:13-17) and Acts 3:21 (please notice the context of verse 20 there, Jesus is the one who "comes to restore all things"). 

Commonly, these theories of restoration suppose that all expressions of the Church right after the early church have been deprived of 'real' truth and power.  To solve this problem, the current movement and its teachers or prophets or apostles have come to save the day. They will now help 'restore' the Church to her former glory.  At the very least, they will prophecy or teach that missing something.  Perhaps it is that important truth that was previously-not-known-nor-ever-understood before they arrived upon the scene.  Perhaps it is something that was lost to the early Church in times past-- until now.

Typically. these types of 'restoration' theories culminate in a fantastic expectation of the current movement, whatever that may be, to finally become the 'true' or 'victorious' Church.  In other words, their group are the ones to be 'restored' to either as good as the first century church, or even superior to it. 

These restoration theories lend themselves to gross spiritual pride on the part of their leaders and followers. They begin or end with odd heresies and practices that are just as bad or worse than the very things that they had rejected as 'inferior' to themselves. Failing to produce the fantastic expectations they set up, many a person is left disillusioned.  It is the wise man who prudently avoids certain restoration theories. 

Reformation is another word commonly connected to change in the Church, thanks to Martin Luther and The Great Reformation.  Reformation conveys the ideal of a transformation working from the inside out to reform that which has fallen into a sort of decadence and state of disrepair.

To reform seems a good word verb to use, right? After all, fallen man does have a way of not only obscuring spiritual truths, but warping them also-- often beyond recognition or viability.  And so, as it would stand to reason that it is a good idea to 'reform' or repair something so that it can hold the glories and purposes of God once again, right?

Problem is, old wine skins don't want to be reformed. They have lost their flexibity, and they burst with any infilling of new wine.  Patches are insufficient to healthy continuity. Jesus said so! (Matt. 9: 16-17) At this point, God doesn't  reform. He leaves it behind and creates a 'new' form that is still a wineskin (retaining the substance or 'stucture' of the Church's truths),  yet also is able to work in ways the previous wineskin refused to. Such is what Martin Luther and the Protestants discovered, being forced to leave their earlier Church structures to find and implement new ones.

But, what happens (eventually) to new wineskins? Do they not become old wineskins after so much time and inflexibility goes by?

Today it is said by many Protestants, that Protestantism has become not that much different than their former tutors, the Catholics? Their 'heresies', it is noted, have become just as dire as any 'mother church' they previously condemned long ago (or still condemn); their practices became just as restrictive to the freedom of the Spirit and His people as anything prior. Why? Because they have exchanged 'protestant' traditions for 'catholic' traditions, but these traditions are still what they are: traditions of men.

Thus we are humbled by the fact that man is a sinful, imperfect, creature-- given to decadence, sillyness, and stupidity in all his ways, except for the supernatural interventions of God.

The truth is, Jesus prayed to the Father to send His Spirit so we would not be left as orphans (John 14:26; 15:26). So it's not about movements or wineskins or individual teachers or fellowships, as much as it is about His Spirit testifying to the Person of Jesus.  Even though the Spirit's work might be obscured through the small-minded prejudice of those who have felt it their duty to build their own self-exalting kingdoms on the backs of others, Truth and Life, just like Jesus (John 14:6), is never suppressed forever. Love is still expressed by God.

God does 'restore' or 'revive' obscured truths. Yet He also leaves old wine skins in favor of the new, in an ever-creative process of adjusting the Church to the present-day needs of His people and the world. In this way, the Church remains relevant and dynamic. So, although the Church often loses battles against apostasy and corruption, She is also ever winning by the battle by yielding to His glory from one generation to the next. 

Today, the people of God are discovering and prophesying a new construct, structure, or even a sort of 'non'-structure.  They are leaving the old structures to discover the new.  My husband and I were called by the Lord as workers in this endeavor, having been duly notified by the Lord that the very thing as we are seeing now, is in His plan.  Because of that, much of this ministry and website is devoted to manuevering through these radical upheavals, while still staying on track with the 'core' truths that are always in God's Word.

Covered Wagon
Please take the journey with us!:

 Blazing Trails

See also our Spiritual Authority section, and "Community" page, Fellowship page, and Revival page

"Learn from me, how difficult a thing it is to throw off errors confirmed by the example of all the world, and which, through long habit, have become a second nature to us."

                                                - Martin Luther

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