To the Crazy Ones

BY RJ GRUNEWALD

Steve Jobs, the innovator that led Apple into greatness, once said:

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

What would happen if a group of misfits, rebels and round pegs aligned around a desire to bring us back to the pure Gospel?  What would happen if a group of reformers got together and pushed forward into this new day and culture with the message that has been handed down to us from the scriptures?

What would happen if Law-Gospel crazies weren’t okay with the status quo of evangelical Christianity? What if Law-Gospel crazies were crazy enough to believe that the two simple words - God’s law and God’s Gospel could change everything?

The Reformation began with a theological misfit on the fringes who believed that the Church had drifted away from the Gospel.  Martin Luther began a movement with passion and idealism that believed the Church could actually be reformed.  And he was crazy enough to believe that the Gospel was not about works but about grace.

We are in a day that needs these kind of crazy reformers.

We need a group of crazy ones who are crazy enough to believe that the Gospel still does its work.  We need a group of crazy ones who are crazy enough to believe that God calls every one of us to bring the Gospel into our communities in the context of our ordinary, everyday lives.

We need a movement of reformers who believe that things can be better than the way they currently are. The crazy ones who actually believe that because of the Gospel, we are freed to love our neighbor with no strings attached. The kind of crazy ones that embrace the art - the beauty, the tension, and the power of a Law and Gospel theology.

If we want things to be the way they currently are, we should keep doing exactly what we are currently doing. But if we want things in our world and in the Church to be different, something must change, and I would suggest that it is a change that has been repeatedly suggested by many of the greatest theologians.


THE MODERN REFORMATION

The crazy ones in today’s world will be the ones that go back.

They will be the ones that go back to an ancient truth and believe that this ancient text is a message of hope for all the world.  In a world that is quick to throw out the Word, we need a recovery and love for the Word. In Churches that are quick to throw out grace for a list of dos and don'ts, we need a recovery of the Gospel that says “done.”

The crazy ones won’t be the ones that are saying something new, but they will be the ones that are bold enough to say what’s been said before - but in new, bold ways.

Not only do the reformers go back, but they go forward.

In order for the first Reformation to take place, it was largely shaped by the technology of the day.  It was shaped by the printing press. Today, the changes that take place in the Church are shaped by the masses who embrace technology.

My friend Jake described it this way:

“The acceleration of the transmission of ideas has the potential to expose systemic legalism in the church. This fact alone will reform the church possibly to the same degree that Luther observed, possibly to a greater degree. Because of the internet.”

May artists in the midst of their writing, creating, and conversing translate God’s two words into a language that people understand. May the artists recover the ancient truth of God and bring it into their cities and communities and culture, offering freedom to the captives.

When Luther introduced the Reformation, people fought against it.  They feared his radical ideas like giving the Word to ordinary people or introducing music into the Mass. But whatever Luther did, he did because he was crazy enough to believe that it actually served the message of the Gospel.

 
Grace is the message of the Reformation. And it will be the message of the new Reformation.
 

Perhaps it’s crazy to believe that this ancient message is the same message that our world needs today. Maybe it’s crazy to think that the message that God can use ordinary people like us to be the mouthpiece of God in this world.

And maybe it’s crazy to think that a story about a guy who was given the death penalty for his scandalous message of grace is the hope the world needs.  And maybe it’s crazy to believe that this same guy defeated death and rose from the dead.

But I guess even Paul himself said it’s a little bit crazy in 1 Corinthians 1:18 when he wrote, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

So for my fellow Law-Gospel crazies, in the words of Steve Jobs, “Stay hungry.  Stay foolish.”

RJ Grunewald is a Vicar at Faith Lutheran Church in Troy, Michigan, serving in the student ministry and as a part of the preaching team.  He is also attending Concordia Seminary in St. Louis through their distance education program. RJ is a theology nerd who loves books and sermons by dead guys. But as a writer and a preacher, he passionately believes that theology isn’t just meant for the academics and dead guys but it is for everyday life. He has a free, grace-filled book on addiction that you can download today, Addiction: Leaving the Vomit Behind. RJ has been married to his wife Jessica since 2007 and they have 2 kids, Elijah and Emaline.

Follow @RJgrune