He plays Minecraft and talks church history on YouTube—and he’s organizing a new mainline reformation.
It’s October 31 in Denver. Snow is falling. A cutting wind makes the air feel much colder than it is. But nothing will stop Jake Boston, a Gen Z Episcopalian, from celebrating the holiday.
No, not Halloween—Reformation Day, when Protestants remember Martin Luther’s courageous choice to post his 95 Theses critiquing the Catholic church and launching the Reformation. Jake is reenacting that old story by tramping through the Colorado snow from mainline church to mainline church—60 in total—to post his own theses on their doors.
The lists, tailored to the seven American mainline denominations, critique their drift from orthodoxy into theological liberalism, challenging them to reaffirm the Resurrection, the divinity of Jesus, the authority of the Bible, and much more besides.
And Jake was not alone. A group of 1,000 Gen Z mainliners committed to their historic denominations—part of a grassroots group called Operation Reconquista—were working across the country to do the exact same thing. By the end of Reformation Day, they claim, they’d mailed, emailed, or physically posted their 95 theses to every mainline church in the United States, all without funding or a full-time organizer.
When I first heard about this operation, I admit I was both intrigued and worried. On the one hand, the past year has seen a surprising number of Gen Z–led spiritual renewals, most famously the Asbury revival. Maybe this was a similarly hopeful development?
On the other hand, their branding use of sordid military history was reminiscent of the “manosphere,” a highly online movement capturing the imagination of many young conservative men. (“Reconquista” is a nod to the Christian reconquest …