This is an important year in the life of the church as it marks the celebration of 500 years of the reformation. During last year’s AEA Jubilee celebration, the theme was The Africa that God wants. What is the Africa that God wants? 500 years ago, Martin Luther led the reformation of the church. God invites us in Isaiah 55 to engage the Word of God to see the transformation that we need.
In Isaiah 55: 1-2, 6-7 God invites us to come to him and respond to his priceless invitation. “Seek the Lord while he may be found.” The best of his gifts are free (John 17:3). His greatest priority for us is to become children of God (it’s free for us but actually priceless as Christ paid the ultimate cost.)
The Reformation recognized God’s love for sinners, which included God’s value for human dignity and equality. It broke the walls between the clergy and laity. In Isaiah 55:8-9, God invites us to recognize his superior ways- the incomparable creator is far above his finite creatures. Isaiah 55:10, God invites us to study His Word and reckon on the efficacy of God’s Word in training for righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Joshua 1:8).
The inductive Bible study method of the Reformation gave rise to the scientific method of observation (Francis Bacon, Newton). Scientific revolution took off following protestant literal study of nature (Cavendish laboratory in Cambridge, England has inscribed Ps. 111:2.) The desire to study the word of God produced science
The Reformation brought and developed economy through the protestant work ethic and spirit of capitalism. For example, Martin Luther’s wife, Katherine, ran a boarding house, bought land, developed farms and learned to be productive. Some say Luther taught the Word of God and she practiced the Word of God.
The Reformation developed universal education.
The Reformation brought hope. The Communist and French revolutions put their hope in man. In contrast, the American and German revolutions began as spiritual revolutions. This brought about optimism. Isaiah 55:12-13 is an invitation to rejoice in the triumph of God’s grace (Rom 8:20-28). Development throughout Europe was brought by their engagement with God through the Word of God.
Africa is in a new Reformation. There is need to engage with God through personal meditation on the Word of God, intentional discipleship for deeper rooting in God, the powerful proclamation of the Word of God through biblical preaching and the discipline of hermeneutics, continuing education and thepromotion of biblical literacy. The Bible as the final authority in matters of faith and conduct. We reject extra biblical teachings and prophetic revelations.
Responding to Gods’ gracious invitation gave birth to democracy, modern science, economic growth, education, hope and integrity.
“To change Africa we need intentional Bible engagement.”