Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Question: ecclesia reformata...

Question: does any one where the phrase 'ecclesia reformata est semper reformanda' come from? I've searched for it in Google, but couldn't find a source, although some people would argues it originates from the 17th century.

Often translated as 'reformed and always reforming', I have heard it used as a justification for change in church: "The reformers strongly believed in 'reforming and always reforming' as their heirs, we want to make that true today...so we're going to replace the pews with comfy chairs." (On this issue refer to MPJ).

Since so much weight has been given to this statement, it would be nice to now where it came from.

Also, if we're going to throw this idea around, it would be worth quoting it in it's entirety: ecclesia reformata est semper reformanda secundu Verbum Dei. Church always needs to be shaped by the Word of God, and if we forget this, then I can easily see ecclesia reformata est semper reformanda used to justify a whole range of culturally releveant but biblically prohibited things in church. Think about it.


byron smith said...

I believe the phrase wasn't explicitly used until the second generation of the reformation (or later), though they were trying to capture something of the spirit of the reformers.

One small point, I'm no Latin expert, but I think the phrase (twice) uses the passive: the reformed church is always being reformed.

Matthew Moffitt said...

Thanks Byron. This little phrase is translated several different ways, and depending on the context of when it's used, can dramatically change it's meaning and implications.