Ninety-five more theses – Part two
Our series marking the 500th anniversary of Luther’s 95 theses continues. Reform is publishing 95 new theses – one sentence each by opinion formers and opinion holders of today – on how the Church should change
Krish Kandiah, founder of Home for Good
The worship of the Church must move beyond ritual, singing, preaching and gathering, and must embrace the call, commitment and compassion to open our homes and hearts to the vulnerable.
Richard Church, URC Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship)
For the Reformed to be the transformed there needs to be less attention on questions of church growth and more lingering and loving attention paid to our crucified and risen Lord.
Fleur Houston, retired minister
I would like to see the Christian Church cast off an armchair habit of mind, and, in the fire of love, to challenge injustice, accompany the oppressed, proclaim hope to the afflicted.
Pádraig Ó Tuama, poet
Grace has nothing to do with unworthiness and everything to do with story and power; take your
story and eat it.
Clare Callanan, military chaplain
I believe the Church can be reformed today by being open in its encounters with the other great world faiths in order to rediscover and remember the divine mystery of God together through creative engagement.
Kim Fabricius, retired minister
Jesus said: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there is the URC in 20 years.’ How about a church that doesn’t panic about decline and practise managerial and marketing voodoo: a fad-free, kitschless, densely textured church that, like the skylark (Keats’ ‘blithe Spirit’), sings not because it has the answers but because it has a song.
Robert Beckford, Canterbury Christ Church University
Reparations for slavery in the British Empire.
Kathy White, Northern College
Let’s stop beating ourselves over the head with all the ways in which we think the church might be failing and instead celebrate the Gospel, the liberating power of Pentecost, and who we are called to be in Christ.
Kevin Snyman, URC Mission Enabler
When we finally, truly obey our Lord’s prayer to ‘forgive all those with debts against us,’ because we joyfully realise God has abolished all debts entirely, then the destructive, debt-based, interest-bearing economics of this world is at last overcome, releasing the church into a God-economics of gift, generosity, life, sharing, equality and joy.
Kevin Watson, Moderator of URC General Assembly
The Church is not reforming, but being reformed by the Holy Spirit, so that the world may know God loves us so much that he gave us his only son, Jesus Christ.
David Barclay, Partner at the Good Faith Partnership
An era of renewal and revival sparked by new connections between social action, evangelism and the worship and community life of churches.
Catherine Fox, novelist
When we find ourselves more concerned with being right than being kind, we need to think again.
Paul Hedges, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore
The Church should recognise with open arms the truth and light found across the various religious traditions and worldviews that lie beyond its borders, if for no other reason than the loving and open example of Jesus himself.
Clare McBeath, Co-Principal, Northern Baptist College
Let go, embrace difference and dance the divine dream because following Jesus really is an awfully big adventure.
George Drake, Reform reader
Drag the Church into the 21st century; preach sermons, sing hymns and engage in prayers that make sense and are believable to today’s people – ‘Ditch the Dogma, Live the Life’.
Ruth Valerio, environmentalist
We share one common home and must strive to live in ways that take care of it; for ourselves, for God and for all God’s creation.
Tim Livesey, CEO of Embrace the Middle East
Jesus placed the poor, the marginalised and the excluded at the heart of his teaching and ministry; the Church must always seek to do the same.
Sharon Prentice, St Mellitus College
A transformed and transformative Church places an uncompromising emphasis on Word, worship and radical witness: Christ’s diverse people blessing the world through selfless service.
Roy Crowne, Hope Together
To keep a white fence white you have to constantly refresh it and repaint it because open to elements it will change; to keep the Gospel bright and attractive it has to constantly be repainted because of the elements around it.
Guvna B, rap artist
I’d love to see the Church be culturally relevant by changing their methods, without changing the Gospel message. You can’t fight today’s battles with yesterday’s tools.
Roger Wilson, Reform reader
The New Reformation is about spiritual faith discovered in a modern context through considerate argument and thoughtful discourse.
Rhea Donaldson, Reform reader
I can’t improve on this quote from Richard Holloway: ‘We should automatically be suspicious of any use of scripture to punish or devalue people.’
Paul Williams, CEO of Bible Society
I’d like to see church leaders equipping the whole people of God for mission, rather than ordinary Christians feeling that their mission is to support the ministry of the church leader.
Rachel Hickson, Founding Director of Heart Cry for Freedom
Let the Church be known for its graciousness – as the cheerleader of individuals’ God-given purpose rather than the harsh critic of people’s behaviour.
Vishal Mangalwadi, philosopher and lecturer
A marginalised sect, Christianity won over Rome’s pagan empire because some witnesses unleashed the power of observed Truth. Now, Christianity is losing to paganism because its European apologists put logic above observation of God’s revelation in history, and US theologians put their trust, first in common sense and now in ‘story’. The marginalisation of revelation is remaking the west, pagan – post-Truth! The only way to save the west is to return to revealed, and therefore, empirically observed truth.
Chine McDonald, World Vision UK
Christ’s incarnation, death and resurrection shows he came for all of humanity, breaking down divisions between us and God, and with each other – so may the Church no longer be comfortable with the walls we have erected between ethnicities; may we be a multiracial Church, a reconciled community.
Inderjit Bhogal, City of Sanctuary
Priesthood of all believers, pastors and prophets, without ordained, paid clergy.
How should the Church be reformed today? We want to hear from you.
Nail your one-sentence thesis to Reform Magazine, 86 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RT or e-nail it to firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was published in the September 2017 edition of Reform