05 May 2017
Are there parallels between the current cultural climate and the climate at the time of the Reformation?
This is the year, 500 years ago, 1517, that Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis statements to the doors of the church and is noted to have started what is now known as “The Reformation.”
When you study Luther, Tyndale, and many other reformers of their day, you realize that they were so passionate they were willing to risk their lives for a cause that would change the world. Today, we need to develop that same passion, because without it no one will pay attention. Throwing money into multiple pockets is great for spreading it around to where it’s needed for some arguably great causes and needs, but it also keeps us from pooling resources into one voice of reason and authority.
Working in the Hollywood media and entertainment industry is challenging for Christians. We’re often thrown into a “one category” - Christian pile. We’re one of them. Over the past 25 years, our company, Cooke Pictures has had the opportunity to work on some great documentaries and media projects that required research on great men of faith who lived through challenging cultures and difficult times. William Wilberforce, William Tyndale, and Martin Luther, to name a few.
Currently, we’re working with the Museum Of The Bible scheduled to open in November 2017. This is the year, 500 years ago, 1517, that Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis statements to the doors of the church and is noted to have started what is now known as “The Reformation.” Is it time for a new reformation? Is it time for reformation that would re-brand Christians for what we’re for and not against? Is it time for the judging, labeling, and segregating, to end and for the God that lives with us – the spirit, to be seen and not our individual selves and agendas?
Is it’s possible to draw some parallels between the current cultural climate I see happening in Hollywood and in America and the Reformation of Luther’s day and learn some lessons? Here’s what Luther did that we might think about: Luther used intelligence. Luther was educated and was an intelligent priest. He studied law and was well read in the books and manuscripts of the period. He spent hours studying the Bible, praying, and fasting, and I can’t help but think that was the first key to his success - and ours as well. The Bible says to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed.” (II Tim. 2: 15 NAS).
That’s why we need to understand the “signs of the times” and read trade magazines, newspapers, the latest books, and perhaps… turn down the volume on our television, movies, and internet viewing. We live in an information age but that doesn’t mean all information is good and beneficial. In today’s culture, we need to use our brains and rely on intelligent trusted authorities for information and thought. The Influence Lab was created to do that. In a sound bite, social media, instant picture culture whoever gets the microphone needs to be intelligent and trained in communicating with media and culture if we’re going to change the perception of Christianity. Luther invested his life. When you study Luther, Tyndale, and many other reformers of their day, you realize that they were so passionate they were willing to risk their lives for a cause that would change the world.
Today, we need to develop that same passion, because without it no one will pay attention. Throwing money into multiple pockets is great for spreading it around to where it’s needed for some arguably great causes and needs, but it also keeps us from pooling resources into one voice of reason and authority. How many sex-trafficking ministries do we really need? How many child sponsorship sites or food banks? What if some of them started joining together? Would they be more effective in breaking through the multitude of media charities and become a force for real change? What if we started having one voice from the Christian community for sex-trafficking, one voice for child adoptions and foster care, one voice for assisting the homeless when the media went looking for a sound bite and information?
Luther had protectors and influencers who were in authoritative positions. Martin Luther and William Tyndale found support for their vision. If it wasn’t for the protection of a prince, Luther would have been stopped right from the start. But he knew how the system worked. He found support that helped him with money, protection, food, and shelter. If Luther hadn’t had a protector, the Reformation would probably have never happened. Many organizations, GLADD, ACLU, and Scientology, today have done this. They’ve united under one banner and one voice and not only pooled their resources but their influence. Finally, Luther guarded his attitude and emotions.
With anything passionate, we will also be vulnerable to rejection and disappointment. We need to be on guard, and the best way to combat the enemy is to be on our knees daily. The Bible says to pray without ceasing, and I cannot emphasize this enough. When we think about the great spiritual leaders of the past like William Tyndale, who gave his life so we could read the Bible in our own language, you realize that they understood how important spiritual discipline is for the common man.
Jesus was so passionate with his love for us He gave us His life so that we could receive eternal life. When we experience rejection from the culture remember what Winston Churchill, said - "never give up, never, never, never give up." A rejection may be God’s way of refining us. We’re called to a higher calling, to walk in faith, and hope for the eternal reward in heaven.
So, never stop growing and learning, be a passionate believer, stay surrounded with serious “cheerleaders”, and be ever watchful for pitfalls, knowing that the Lord is ever present and loves us with an unconditional love. Martin Luther and William Tyndale were revolutionaries of their day. In the same way, let’s be the cultural revolutionaries and reformers of our time! Read more from Kathleen here