Church China Roundtable: The Reformation and Me

Later in my study of doctrine such experiences increasingly made me feel deeply about this question: why was the impact of the gospel was so powerful at the beginning of the Reformation, but the same doctrine passed down to us today makes no similar impact on the church? At the time of the Reformation, every doctrine was clear and lively expressed in the lives and ministry of the people. However, in today’s church, the doctrines are often abstract and not easy to accept and grasp. We spend a lot of time teaching the content of the doctrines, but believers only get abstract knowledge, and in real life their intuitive focus is still on what to do and how to do it. They are very earnest in doing things and learn a lot of knowledge, but what is reflected in their behavior is not the vigorous response brought about by studying the doctrines. The doctrines do not genuinely shape their lives. So why? I think maybe it is because they do not really understand these doctrines. Those who teach Christian doctrine may give a complete presentation of theology, but it is still alien to how the doctrines are actively applied in practical life. Our teaching of doctrine is merely intellectual recitation, and so naturally people’s responses are not the intended transformation.