Wednesday, August 10, 2011

ReThinking ReFormers

As we approach the year 1500 and the close of the Dark Ages, we are confronted with a time period known as the Reformation. A time when reformers were helping "give the modern age a model of spiritual freedom....the chains of the Middle Ages snapped as Luther declared...reform in the church...inspire others to take a stand for the Word of God....set loose the true spirit of individual liberty." At least that is what we all learned in our A Beka books on world history (quotes taken from World History and Cultures 10th grade.) This same book goes onto to say that "Beginning about 1525 there arose a group of Protestants...called are called Baptist." WHAT? Then what have we been studying all along? It's no wonder our Baptist young people have no idea of their heritage as Baptists when WE are teaching them this junk! The Protestant Reformers "gave a model of spiritual freedom?" The reformers "stood on the Word of God?" The Reformers set loose the true spirit of individual liberty?" The Baptist began in 1525?
I think it is time we Re-Think the Re-Formers.
The papacy was loosing its strangle hold on Europe around this time. There was the "Babylonian Captivity" when the papacy was moved to France in the 1300's. Then the "Great Schism" of the papacy in the 1400s when there was actually 3 popes. The people were starting to see the failures and lies of the papacy, and this opened the door fresh thought. Men arose who started preaching some differences than what the Catholic church held. Then again, as we have seen, there have always been men preaching differences and holding to the Truth and suffering for it at the hands of the Catholic church. So why do we praise these Reformers? Were they standing for truth?
John WycliffeWycliffe in his early days accepted the papacy, but later saw their error and declared the pope to be Antichrist. He denied transubstantiation and insisted upon the authority of Scripture. He is referred to as the "Morning star of the Reformation." He preached against the worldliness of the clergy, auricular confession, veneration of images, and other Catholic dogmas. He is best known for his translation of the Bible into English. Problem is, he used Jerome's Latin Vulgate to translate from. The Vulgate was a corrupt text based on Origen's text. The Wycliffe Bible omits many of the same Scriptures modern corrupt texts omit. Some hold that Wycliffe's Bible was pure...I suppose the jury is still out-for some. Wycliffe unfortunately still practiced infant baptism. Wycliffe, in this author's opinion was on the right tract. There were some errors he held to, and should we have lived in that time most certainly could have found a more Biblical people to join with.
John Huss Huss was ordained a Catholic priests in 1400. He too condemned the papal authority. He still held to the Catholic teaching of an universal church comprised of all the saved. Many of his followers joined with the Waldenses. Huss did take a good stand on what were catholic errors. He was a firery preacher who stood against the papacy who he called the "successor of Judas Iscariot." The Hussites were hated by the papacy and persecuted and martyred for their faith. In 1457 many of his followers separated from their own church for "a more Biblical way and joined with the Waldenses." (Hammet "The History of Baptist")
Jerome Savonarola He is referred to as a great reformer in Italy. Unfortunately, while he did call for moral reforms, he never separated from the false teachings of the catholic church. He held to their theology, sacraments, transubstantiation, Mary worship, etc. This author can find no proof for any doctrinal praise for Savonarola.
Martin Luther Ah, Martin Luther. The 'hero' for most protestants (and A Beka books). Let us rethink this reformer as well. Luther became a Catholic priests in 1507, but by 1517 posted his 95 Theses on the doors of the church at Wittenburg. He would be excommunicated by the pope, found the Lutheran faith, and officially begin the Protestant Reformation. BUT...he believed in antinomianism (liberty of grace equals license to sin). We read in our school text books how he "came to realize that man is saved not by his own works but by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. At last, Martin Luther understood God's mercy, grace, and love; he found salvation." (World History and Cultures 10th grade A Beka). Did he really? The Bible teaches "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Matt. 7:20. Let us examine Luther's fruits. Luther taught that a Christian is not under any moral law except that imposed by secular authority. His own life was one of obscene language, heavy drinking, and condoning of concubines and bigamy (Albert Newman "A Manual for Church History). Luther hated the 'anabaptist,' condemning them even to martyrdom. Luther said "Thou owest God nothing save to believe and confess. In all things else he gives thee absolute freedom to do as thou wilt without any peril of conscience." Luther would hold to baptismal regeneration saying "(getting saved) is not done by any law or works but by a new birth, and by renewing of the inward man, which is done in baptism." (Martin Luther "Commentary on Galatians"). So, Luther believed God's grace = a license to sin, no moral law for a man, wicked talk, drinking, lasciviousness, hated and martyred our Baptist forefathers, and held to baptismal regeneration. And we are supposed to praise him? We are supposed to think him a saved man? Luther's god is not the same God I serve (sorry David Cloud-please note I am not against David Cloud's stand on many issues, but that statement he made is wrong). Luther needed to be saved and is no hero or lover of the Word of God.
Ulrich Zwingli Switzerland's reformer who condemned purgatory, worship of saints, the papacy, transubstantiation, mass, etc; but he did not join with our forefathers, rather drowned and burnt them for our faith. Zwingli held to infant baptism despite his 'reforms'.
John Calvin The 'Reformed' reformer. A Frenchman who would lead the 'French Reformation.' He did not seek to reform the church, but rather to start a new one. He believed the church and state should be governed by Scriptures. Calvin defended infant baptism and baptismal regeneration. His theology is corrupt. He taught an invisible 'church' with a 'visible church' within made up of all believers. He was not a friend of baptist and persecuted them often. Calvinism has done great harm to the cause of Christ and doctrine. The 'reformed movement' of today is a direct result of his heresies. Calvin should not be venerated as a hero.
John Knox He also persecuted and martyred our forefathers and held to many of Calvin's heresies. He would be known as the founder of the Presbyterian church and no friend to the Baptists.
So, according to our Abeka history books, these men gave: "the modern age a model of spiritual freedom....the chains of the Middle Ages snapped as Luther declared...reform in the church...inspire others to take a stand for the Word of God....set loose the true spirit of individual liberty."
After ReThinking it, who gave a model for spiritual freedom? Most of these men murdered and persecuted those who held to the Word of God as we do. Who inspired others to take a stand for the Word of God with their infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, license to sin preaching? Who set loose the true spirit of individual liberty with their threats and forcing to adhere to their beliefs or face the drowning waters or firery stake?
I think it is time we Re-Think the Re-Formers and start studying and appreciating those who held to Truth!
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