Playlist:

Message 2, Semper Reformanda:

The church Reformed, always reforming according to the Word of God” is a motto that was born from the Reformation’s emphasis on making sure that the church’s life, theology, and worship was more and more fully governed by Scripture. We rejoice in what God did in the sixteenth-century Reformation, but we don’t merely look back. We look ahead to how the Lord will continually conform His church to the Word of God. This session examines the church’s need for ongoing reform, examines how the church is being reformed today both in the West and around the world, and considers how the Western church can look to examples from Protestant movements around the world.

Message Transcript

Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here, and I already feel a little bit — I’m a little bit sorry for you guys. You just had a terrific talk in British accent and now you’re going to have it in Portuguese accent.

It’s getting worse.

This morning I’m supposed to speak on one of the slogans of the Reformation, which is the Reformed church is always reforming. So, I’ll ask you please to open your Bibles in Psalm 85. I’m not going to read the whole psalm. Just read verse six. This is the main prayer of this psalm.

Will you not revive us again that your people may rejoice in you?” Verse 7, “Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.” So, I’ll call your attention to what the psalmist says, in verse 6, “Will you not revive us again,” so the emphasis is on the “again.” The prayer is for God to do something He has done before. So they want Him to do it again, and it seems the prayer is for restoration and reformation. I want to start by thank you — by thanking Dr. Sproul for the invitation to preach at this historic meeting. I’m also very grateful to God for the life in ministry of Dr. Sproul. You may think that he has never been in Brazil, but through his many books, videos, and podcasts and the titles that you wrote and have been published — he has been in Brazil many, many times, blessing thousands of people with the message of the Word of God. As understood and announced by the Reformation. He has been a reference to many including myself.

I want to start by thank you — by thanking Dr. Sproul for the invitation to preach at this historic meeting. I’m also very grateful to God for the life in ministry of Dr. Sproul. You may think that he has never been in Brazil, but through his many books, videos, and podcasts and the titles that you wrote and have been published — he has been in Brazil many, many times, blessing thousands of people with the message of the Word of God. As understood and announced by the Reformation. He has been a reference to many including myself.

Now, let me turn to this text that we will use as the basis for my message this morning. Psalm 85 is a prayer for reformation and restoration. It has three main divisions. In the first one we have thanksgiving for deliverance given to God’s people from verse 1-3. You can check that later. In the second part comes a prayer for a deeper restoration. A true prayer for the full reformation of God’s people, verses 4-7. The last part is a joyful anticipation of God’s answer to this prayer, verses 8-13.

It is not possible to say for sure when this psalm was written, but many good people would agree that it suits best the time after the Babylonian captivity after Israel had returned to the Promised Land. And if this is the right context of the psalm we have the reason why it was written, which is to ask God to restore His people to the glory they had before, taken — being taken into captivity for their sins.

Now, in the first part of this psalm the author thanks God for what He had already done, pardoning the sins of His people and bringing Israel back to the Promised Land. But there were some signs that the restoration had not been complete.

As we read in the books written after the return from the captivity like Ezra and Nehemiah, the Jews became too busy with their own affairs, and had left in second place the temple restoration in God’s worship. There was no enthusiasm, love, or dedication to the Lord. Some of God’s people were beginning to commit the same sins that caused the exile to Babylon.

Whoever wrote the psalm was concerned. He saw what was happening. He understood that the restoration needed to go on both in restoring the temple and the lives of the people. Reformation was not over yet. The second part of the psalm, then, is a prayer to God to complete the restoration. Not only in material terms but especially in the spiritual ones.

The central point of the prayer is verse 6, which I read for you. Where the author ask God to revive them again. He was not asking for something new but only that God would do again what He had done so many times before in the history of His people which was to restore them, to revive them, to reform them and to bring them back to Himself and to His Word.

In the third part of psalm, the psalmist awaits in faith for God’s response to his prayer for a fuller reformation of His people. So the theme of my message this morning is based on verse 6. “Will you not revive us again?;” My points are not necessarily taken out of this passage, but they deal with actual aspects of reformation today.

Number one: the need of on-going reformation in the church. Number two: how the church is being reformed today both in the West and around the world. And number three: how the western church can look to examples of Protestant movements around the world. OK. Let’s start with some definitions.

To understand what reformation is, we should first understand what deformation is, with a D. Often deformation begins within the church itself. Through men deprived of truth, who deceive God’s people, leading the church to embrace doctrines and practices contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The decline usually happens little by little over a long period sometimes, through small changes introduced step by step, in what the church confesses, through men who have already deviated internally, from the truth of the gospel, and who receive support from conservative but passive professors, pastors, and elders.

Note that the author of Psalm 85 did not ask God to revive, restore, and reform the Samaritans, enemies of God’s people who are doing everything possible to prevent the rebuilding of the temple in the city. No. He wants God to revive and restore His own people. Reformation starts in the church, not in the world.

The Lord Jesus also warned His disciples about the appearance of wolves dressed as sheep who’d rise from within the flock itself. It was the same warning that the Apostle Paul gave later to the elders of the churches of the church in Ephesus. Historically, deformation has begun not from the pew but from the pulpit.

When the church gives in to internal errors and external pressures, the effects are first felt in its theology. Then there are changes in the ethics and morality of the church. It leaves God’s Word aside and follows what society thinks about feminism, homosexuality, and abortion. It becomes more, much more concerned with global warming then with God’s holiness.

Soon the worship of God is affected. It goes on to reflect the centrality of man, and the veneration of culture — theology of glory. In the end, all this expels from the pulpits biblical exposition, the radical proclamation of the gospel, and the non-negotiable demands that Jesus Christ makes on all who desire to follow Him, and finally, the witness of the church to the world is harmed, the salt loses its flavor, the lamp is placed under the bed, the church becomes a religious institution with no power or authority concerned only with self-preservation and survival.

Reformation that means recognizing the areas where the church has been deformed, identifying the causes, and bringing the church back to biblical standards of faith, practice, worship, and testimony. A movement of this magnitude can only happen through a powerful move of the Spirit of God, as it did 500 years ago in Europe. Not without reason, did the psalmist turn to God in his plea for restoration and reformation in Psalm 85.

Now this was our introduction. Let’s go for my first point. Yeah, I’ve been told that after time is over there is a booby trap here that opens. But brother Reeves went over the time and nothing happens. So, I feel I am safe. OK.

First point then is the need of on-going reformation. Among the many mottos of the Reformation there is one that deals specifically with this point, which is “Ecclesia reformata, et semper reformada este,” which is, “Reformed church is always being reformed.” This a famous phrase was much used by Gisbert Voetius, in the Synod of Dort, in the seventeenth century.

It has sometimes been interpreted as saying that a Reformed church is always changing and adapting to the new times and places where it finds itself. However, it is hard to imagine that Voetius, a strict Calvinist, who participated in the dispute with the disciples of Arminians, had used this saying to encourage the church in the Netherlands to be open to change its views on salvation.

Voetius actually affirmed that the principal of on-going reformation was always to return to the Scriptures, and in his understanding — and in understanding of the Synod of Dort, Arminianism certainly would not represent a return to Scriptures. Well before the Synod of Dort, the first Reformers were conscious that the church of Christ here in this world was bound to become deformed over time.

They knew that they were more pure and less pure churches. They were also aware that there were churches that had been deformed to the point that they were no longer churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan. The true state of a church was revealed by how faithfully it would preach the gospel, celebrate the sacraments, and exercise church discipline on faulty members.

This did not mean to them that the church in their days had been so disfigured that they were no longer a true church of Christ on earth. They considered that despite the deformities and errors, the church of Christ is still existed on earth, but it needed to be reformed in the light of the Word of God so that it would again, serve the Lord effectively in this world.

They believed that although God would always have a church to serve and worship Him here in this world, this church would always need to experience reformation to remain faithful to its Lord and Savior.

They knew this for sure because of the many examples they could find of this in Scripture. There are several accounts in the Old Testament of when God’s people deviated from truth and followed false gods. But the Old Testament all tell us how God from time to time raised up faithful men to reform the church in old covenant times. Judges, kings, and prophets were instruments of the Lord to reform His people and bring them back to the ways of the true religion.

The author of Psalm 85 knew this, and this is why He prayed that God would revive them again as He had done before. Not long after the coming of the Lord Jesus, and the dissent of the Holy Spirit in the day of Pentecost, some of the churches founded by the very apostles — the apostles themselves began to be deformed in several ways. Some of them diverged so deeply from the truth that it was necessary for the apostles and other leaders around them, to send letters to these churches seeking to reform them in doctrine and practice.

Good examples of this are Paul’s letters to the churches of Galatia and to the church of Corinth. And the letters of Peter, John, and Jude. The exulted Christ Himself sends a message to seven churches of Asia through John, His servant. Most of the churches of revelation were in need of reformation of theological, practical, and moral reformation. Some of them had lost their first love, others were too tolerant with the ideas of the libertines, and others were following the ways of the world, and a few others were adopting the wrong ideas of false leaders.

History tells us clearly, that after apostolic times, the church of Christ continued to be vulnerable to false prophets and pernicious heresies. Yes. It has been easily misled by lying and deceptive men, servants of Satan, who think that religion is a source of prophet and who seek their own glory, and never the truth of God. The church has made wrong decisions, followed wrong procedures, and sometimes allied itself with enemies of the cross.

We thank God for the Reformation 500 years ago. But the church still needs to be reformed. The challenges, the false doctrines, the dangers, the false views of the world may seem new, but in the end we are facing the same problems that the Reformers faced five centuries ago. And the solution is always the same, to return to the origins, to return to the Word of God, and to conform theology, ethics, worship, and our testimony to the standards of God’s Word. Thank God the winds of reformation never cease to blow upon the church of Christ.

Now for my second point, how the church is being reformed today both in the West and around the world. I start this point with some bad news of deformation in the west and in other parts of the world. Let me mention here something Dr. Os Guinness said in 2007 when he went to Brazil to speak on Christianity and the challenges and opportunities of modernity. Among the many interesting things that he said one thing struck me at the time. I reproduce here his very words.

The main challenge posed by modernity to the Christian church can be expressed in the ‘grave diggers’ thesis.’ Christian faith caused the rise of the modern world, which in turn undermine the very faith that gave rise to it. In other words, the ways in which the Christian faith has approached the modern world have contributed, in the long run, to digging its own grave.

Dr. Guinness to make sure also mentioned the great blessings that Christianity has been to the modern world but what I want to do is to highlight what he called the ‘grave diggers’ thesis.’ That is that Christianity is responsible in some way for the rise of the modern world which in turn undermine the very faith that gave rise to it.

In fact, I can think of very few things that have had so much strength in atheism, materialism, and promoted the secularization of the West than ideas born in universities that had a Christian origin such as the Darwinian evolutionism, naturalistic view of the world, and cultural Marxism to mention a few. Under the concept of a secular state, a lot of persecution has been going on in the West, yet the concept of a secular state begins with the protestant thought.

Apparently, Christianity has a limited lifespan in a culture. After powerfully affecting it, the institutions that are born under its influence end up turning against faith and suffocating it. This is what seems to have happened after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the early middle ages.

After 500 years after the Reformation, Europe is considered by many to be post-Christian. World visions and institutions that were born under the influence of Christians themselves largely caused the decay of Christianity there, and we see that the whole West seems to move quickly in the same direction.

Perhaps it is time to think about the mistakes that Protestants in general and the Reformed in particular have committed, which have contributed to the decline of the church in the West. I’m aware that there are factors outside the church that have contributed powerfully to its fading in the West, such as the rise of secularization (materialism), but it would be wrong wouldn’t it? To place responsibility only on these factors and not take a look at ourselves.

Some of our denominations in churches have turned into institutions, societies, organizations, who develop mechanism to preserve themselves staff jobs and properties. Many of them will simply die away slowly because the system would not allow for reform or change. Perhaps in some cases we have emphasized common grace just too much, leading to indiscriminate cold belligerence with unbelievers in defense of seemingly common causes, thus blurring the line between common grace and saving grace.

Perhaps we should also — we have also trusted too much in our rationale capacity to prove to the unconverted that Christianity is reasonable, forgetting that natural man cannot understand the things of God unless the Holy Spirit illuminates him. What about the professionalization of our ministers and the transformation of the pastor of vocation into a career in and in a way of earning a living.

Let’s not forget our intents to flirt with the state for privileges, exemptions to maintain the status quo. Or our attempts to Christianize culture without first converting people, forgetting that unregenerate people are not able to endure, and definitely living under or alongside Christian moral values.

Have we not heard when we have open our theological schools to the ideological presuppositions of the critical-historic method of interpretation, and also, when we have flirted with the theological liberalism. Most certainly we have miserably failed with our inability to live with the diversity that exists within the Reformed camp, causing division and more divisions among brothers who agree on the central points of the Reformed faith, but who cannot relate with those who think differently on secondary points.

But it is not just the church in the West that needs Reformation. The church in the Global South also needs reformation. On one hand we are grateful to God for the exceptional growth of Christianity in the global south. According to Philip Jenkins, a professor of history at Penn State University, today 60 percent of the total Christians live in Africa, Asia, or Latin America. This number is expected to rise to three billion Christians by the year 2050.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, about 70 percent of all Christians lived in Europe and United States. Today — on Europe, sorry, forget United States. Only — today only 28 percent. Today Africa, Latin America together represent 40 percent of the total number of Christians in the world. So there has been this movement — geographical movement of the center of Christianity from the North to the South. This is what we call Global South. Which is where Christianity is growing very, very fast.

Professor Jenkins also said that in the next hundred years there will be an explosion of growth of Christianity, but the vast majority of believers will be neither white nor European, nor even Euro-american. He also said that if we want to imagine a typical contemporary Christian we should think about of a women living in a village in Nigeria or in a Brazilian favela.

However, as a pastor standing right in the middle of the Global South, I say, we also need reformation there. While we can see with joy the signs of a reformation already underway, there are other alarming signs of the growth in the Global South of strange forms of Christianity, as Neo-pentecostalism, for one. This movement is marked by syncretism with popular religions and by strong emphasis on the health and wealth theology, or prosperity gospel. Neo-Pentecostal churches use a type of church model that allows for the rise of totalitarian leaders, many of whom call themselves Apostles.

They claim to receive direct revelations from God, do not accept criticism, and respond to no one for their deeds and teaching. Along with this, there is a strong quest for the presence of God through static, emotional, and mystical experiences. All this comes together with a worldview in which all evil proceeds from demons and that the only effective form of church ministry is through expelling demons from political and social structures, from geographical units such as cities and countries. As well as from people either Christians or not. In many places these modern apostles are bringing back to the churches Jewish practices such as the solemn — now think about that — solemn introduction in worship of replicas of the arc of the covenant.

The celebration of all Jewish feasts, the wearing of rabbinical garments by the preachers to mention but a few extravagancies. Recently, one of these churches in Brazil, Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, with about two million members, inaugurated in São Paulo a gigantic replica of the temple of Solomon, viewed by them as a place where God answers the prayers. Needless to say, there is little or none biblical preaching in these churches. But praise be to God because we can at the same time affirm that there are encouraging signs that a Reformation is underway in the Global South.

Not so long ago, journalist David Van Biema wrote in the New York Times that the new Calvinism was one of the top ten influences operating in the West. His article was written in 2009. For Van Biema, Calvinism is strong and alive, and growing within the classical denominations in the West. Many of the Calvinist leaders cited in his article are translated and published in Global South countries.

The Guardian of England published an article in 2007 that I would like to mention. It was on the growth of Calvinists in Chinese universities. Although declining in Europe and in the United States, the reporter says, Calvinists are growing China where they will soon become the religion of the elite. The center of growth is the universities where teachers and students study translations of works by Augustine, Calvin and modern Calvinists in the departments of philosophy, literature, languages, and Western culture. Universities are not under the official control of religions.

Calvinism also seems to have become the preferred theology of what they call ‘house churches.’ One of the causes according to the reporter that interviewed Chinese pastors is that Calvinism is a religion of resistance, which impressed the young Christian church in China that only recently got rid of Western Imperialism.

Another exciting news is the return by Anglicans in Africa to a more conservative view of Scriptures. It seems the Africans — the Anglican Africans it seems are already majority in this denomination around the world, and they are very conservative. Africa was once, as you know, one of the strongholds of Christianity, but the African church practically disappeared in the seventh and eighth centuries. Today however, some 40 percent of the African population is composed of Protestants. Most are Pentecostal but there are Reformed groups that are growing rapidly, like for instance these conservative Anglicans.

Let me also say something about the Reformed in Latin America, in the Global South. I recently had the privilege of meeting and talking with — to Dr. Miguel, Miguel Nunez. He’s the pastor of International Baptist Church in San Domingo, Dominican Republic. Nunez is a Reformed Latin America pastor. He has preached and taught the Reformed faith in many encounters in Latin America. He’s also the author of dozens of Reformed works in Spanish.

I was impressed with what I heard from him about the growth of the Reformed faith in the countries of Latin and Central America. As a Brazilian living nearby these places, I often thought when I heard ‘Latin America,’ what came to my mind was just the power of Roman Catholicism, Theological Liberalism, and Liberation Theology. But now Nunez says, that there is a revival of the Reformed faith going on, on these countries. He has traveled through many of these countries preaching at conferences on the Reformed faith for pastors and leaders and the general public. Events with five to a thousand people are coming.

He told me about Reformed megachurches in Latin America countries where, as I said before, I never imagined something was happening just on the side of Brazil. Also in these countries there is a striking interest among young people in the Reformed faith.

He introduced me to a boy, to a young man — he had, you know, tattoos all over, he had this piercing in the ears, and just look at him, and then, and Nunez said, I want to present to you Enrique Riollo, he’s a young Argentinian author of the Spanish blog ‘Soldiers of Jesus Christ’ which has close to two million followers. Two million followers. The blog published daily articles of Reformed authors old and new, including texts of Dr. R.C. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries.

In the end of our talk, I asked Pastor Nunez if he thought that social media had something to do with the astonishing growth of Reformed faith in the Hispanic world; indeed, it seems in the whole world. His answer was this: the great impetus for the Protestant Reformation in Europe in the sixteenth century was the printing press that appeared shortly before Luther. Now, after 500 years of the Reformation, a new and enormous impulse is being given to it by social media. I agree with him. It matches what I have seen in Brazil.

Now, let me tell you something about Brazil. Brazil has mainly been a Roman Catholic country. 150 years ago the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists arrived, followed by Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and other historical denominations. Then 50 years later, the Pentecostals arrived in Brazil, and soon they became the greatest evangelical force in our country, both in numbers and in influence. In the last few years however, there has been a surprising turn of events with the rise of conservative and Reformed theology among Protestants in Brazil. Some factors may be mentioned as cause of such development.

First, the classical Pentecostal churches after a hundred years in Brazil, evangelizing the masses has run its course, and has left many Pentecostals hungry and thirsty for a more biblical and solid theology. They have found an attempt in the Reformed and Puritan literature, that in the last 25 years has been increasingly published by several publishing houses in Brazil. As a result, many Pentecostals have turned to Reformed schools of theology, seeking training in the more comprehensive knowledge of Calvinism.

New independent churches, Reformed in soteriology — the doctrine of salvation — although is still Pentecostal in liturgy, have been founded. Even the largest and most traditional Pentecostal publishing house in Brazil has made available books by Reformed authors old and new, they have even published MacArthur.

Many books. However, one thing is clear that the Reformed faith has received a fresh and powerful impulse through these Pentecostal’s influence by Reformed theology. And as the traditional, historical, reformed denominations in Brazil appeared to go slow, and slow in reform, in being Reformed; some people are saying that the future of the Reformation in Brazil is coming from the Pentecostal turn Reformed.

There are numerous Reformed sites, groups, and blogs in Portuguese. The internet has made it possible for people to research, learn, and interact with Reformed theology without the need or expense of buying a book on the subject. In many places in the Global South good Reformed books are not available. The internet has made it possible for believers from various and contrasting denominations to interact with one another, building unexpected precious bonds of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ who share the same Reformed faith.

What is most encouraging is the sheer number of teenagers and young people who have discovered the Reformed faith through sermons available on YouTube, through blogs with Reformed content and through social media such as Twitter, and Facebook. These young people have formed discussion group through apps on their phones, created lists of theological debates, started blogs on Reformed faith, and created groups on Facebook.

There now hundreds and hundreds of social media sites dedicated to dissemination of Reformed faith. As a result, thousands of people who were formally members of other churches, Pentecostal, Neo-pentecostal churches, are now looking for Reformed churches or starting independent churches.

One thing is clear, that the Reformed faith in Latin America has received fresh and powerful impetus through social media, reaching many Pentecostal and Neo-pentecostals who’re now clinging to the Reformed faith. Now, let me move to my third and last point: how the western church can look to examples of Protestant movements around the world.

I believe that the Western church can learn a lot from what is happening in other Protestant churches around the world. Allow me with humility and aware of how much the Global South owes to the West to suggest some points for consideration.

First, Christians in the Global South seemed to have a stronger faith in the authority of the Bible, than their brothers in the West. There are exceptions of course. This confidence in Bible authority produces exuberant faith and the desire to share that faith with others. As I said, there are exceptions, but this is what seems after an overview of what’s happening in Africa, Asia, Latin America, South American, and China.

Second, social media has played a crucial role in the Reformation movement that is happening the Global South. Let us not forget the crucial role of the printing press in spreading the books and ideas of Luther 500 years ago. The church of the West should be able to employ these technologies effectively.

My third point is this: what has attracted the attention of many young people to Reformed faith in the Global South is not at first the five solas of the Reformation, or the five points of Calvinism, but expository preaching. Why do these people look for the translated videos or the books of Piper, Lawson, Keller, Carson, MacArthur, Muller, Sproul, to mention a few.

Not because these great preachers are Calvinists, but because they’re biblical preachers. These young men are first interested in the Reformed preachers, not so much because of their defense of the great doctrines of grace but because these preachers explain, expound the Bible.

If we want to experience a new Reformation in the West, we must preach the Scriptures. Let me add here that we should preach the Scriptures, and please don’t misunderstand me, we should preach the Scriptures and not the Reformation itself. Names like Reformed, Calvinism, five point, five mottos, Arminians, Dort, Supralapsarianists, make little or no sense to the crowds hungry for solid biblical teaching, and anxious to learn more about the great doctrines of grace. Preach the Bible, and one day they will wake up and say “Oh, I am a Calvinist.”

Fourth, the Western church should be sensitive to this coming new generation, which is marked by post-denominationalism. We sometimes call them the unchurched. Many of them are young Christians interested in Reformed theology, but not interested in participating in a traditional organized church. They usually feed on messages of Reformed preachers on YouTube. Others have preferred to attend independent churches, home churches, or network of churches that unite and relate in a very informal way.

Perhaps it is time to remember that the Reformation 500 years ago, was also an ecclesiastical Reformation that abandoned the model of the Roman church and opened the door to dozens of different ways for Christians to organize themselves into churches. I’m not saying that people can organize a local church any way they want. There are ways that we promote bad leadership and bring a lot of problem upon the community.

What I’m saying is that we are living in a time where the traditional church structure has been called into question. For many this is a post-denominational time. Sorry to say, but many historical denominations have not been able to Reform themselves and to adapt to the new times fast enough.

Fifth: the Western church should look at what’s happening to Protestants elsewhere with tears in their eyes. In the Global South we have not been able to expel this sectarian spirit, and this spirit of unity by which Protestants became famous. We doubt not that the Reformed movement is taking place in our midst.

But divisions have already appeared among the Reformed in the Global South in exactly the same way it appeared and divided the Reformed in Europe and the United States. We are together as to the five solas, the five points, but disagree practically on everything else. It has already become difficult to define Reformed in the Global South.

In sixth place: the West will see that this new rising, growing, and reforming church in the Global South is largely made up of the poor, the persecuted, the refugees, and the immigrants. There is a profile very similar to the profile of the early church during the first century of its existence. Perhaps it is time for the church in the West — perhaps it is time for us to reflect on how we have dealt with the abundance, wealth, liberty, and power God has bestowed on us over the past 500 years.

In conclusion, let us remember that after the author of Psalms 85 had asked God to restore his people once again, he declared his confidence that God would answer his prayer. This is the third part of the Psalm, verses 8-13. He waited in faith for the Lord of the church to heed his plea for reformation, and history shows that God had attended not only his prayer but also the prayers of all the saints who through the ages cry out to Him to reform, revive, and restore his church in the world.

May our God grant us spirit of prayer and supplications so that we may pray like the Psalmist. “Will you not revive us again? That your people may rejoice in you?” Yes. And may He answer our prayer so that the work of reforming the church continues to grow in the West, and in other parts of the world, amen.</pre>