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Recent Posts
Happy Reformation Day!
by chestnutmare
Today at 08:47 AM
Pilgrim's Birthday
by Pilgrim
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:02 PM
The love of Christ constraineth us.
by chestnutmare
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 7:20 AM
Eternal justification
by Pilgrim
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 5:05 AM
Wholly Other
by Pilgrim
Monday, October 20, 2014 10:37 AM
What must I do to be saved?
by chestnutmare
Sunday, October 19, 2014 9:07 PM
Today at 05:28 AM Happy Reformation Day! by chestnutmare

The spread of Calvinism was unusual. In contrast to Catholicism, which had been maintained by civil and military force, and Lutheranism, which survived in becoming a religion of politics, Calvinism had, for the most part, only its consistent logic and its fidelity to the Scriptures. Within a generation it spread across Europe.1 —Charles Miller

Calvinism is rooted in the sixteenth-century religious renewal in Europe that we refer to as the Protestant Reformation.2 But this great movement was not an isolated phenomenon. It did not simply begin with Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) act of posting his Ninety-five Theses on the church doors of Wittenberg on Oct. 31, 1517, even though those theses were soon translated into numerous languages and distributed to the masses. In one sense, the Reformation originated in Luther’s so-called “tower experience,” which probably predated his theses by a few years. Through this experience, Luther came to grasp the definitive doctrine of the Reformation: justification by gracious faith alone. But in another sense, the Reformation flowed out of earlier attempts for renewal, the most notable of which were led by Peter Waldo (ca. 1140-ca. 1217) and his followers in the Alpine regions,3 John Wycliffe (ca. 1324-1384) and the Lollards in England,4 and John Hus (ca. 1372-1415) and his followers in Bohemia.5 Lesser-known divines, such as Thomas Bradwardine (ca. 1300-1349)6 and Gregory of Rimini (ca. 1300-1358),7 came even closer to what would become known as Protestant theology. All these men are properly called forerunners of the Reformation rather than Reformers because, although they anticipated many of the emphases of the Reformation, they lacked a complete understanding of the critical doctrine of justification by gracious faith alone.8
These forerunners of the Reformation were morally, doctrinally, and practically united in their opposition to medieval Roman Catholic abuses. This opposition is critical to note, since the Reformation began primarily as a reaction to the abuses of Roman Catholicism. Luther did not set out to destroy the Roman Catholic Church and to establish a new church. His initial intent was to purge the Roman Catholic Church of abuses.

Reformed theology thus cannot be fully understood apart from its reaction to problems in the church, such as:

• Papal abuses. The medieval papacy was rife with abuses in theology and practice. Immoral conduct was lived out and condoned even by the popes, and grace became a cheap, commercialized religion throughout the church via a complex system of vows, fasts, pilgrimages, masses, relics, recitations, rosaries, and other works. The papal imperative was “do penance” (as translated in the Vulgate) rather than “be penitent,” or “repent,” as Jesus commanded.

• Papal pretentiousness. Biblical and historical study by the Protestant forerunners led them to question papal claims to apostolic authority as head of the church. For example, the Reformers concluded that the rock on which the church was built (Matt. 16:18) was the content of Peter’s faith rather than Peter himself, which meant that the bishop of Rome possessed no more than a position of honor. Though the Protestants initially were willing to accept a Reformed papacy that would honorably serve the church, the cruel opposition of the popes to reform eventually persuaded many of them to regard the pope of Rome as Antichrist (cf. Westminster Confession of Faith, 25.6).

• Captivity of the Word. Protestants taught that the Roman Catholic Church held Scripture captive, withholding it from the laypeople and thus keeping them in bondage to church councils, bishops, schoolmen, canonists, and allegorists for interpretation. The Protestants worked hard to deliver the Bible from this hierarchical captivity. As Malcolm Watts writes:

The Church of Rome degraded the Holy Scriptures by alloying the purity of the Canon with her apocryphal additions, by supplementing the inspired records with an enormous mass of spurious traditions, by admitting only that interpretation which is according to “the unanimous consent of the Fathers” and “the Holy Mother Church,” and, particularly by diminishing the role of preaching as their “priests” busied themselves with miraculous stories about Mary, the saints and the images, and magnified the importance of the Mass, with its elaborate and multiplied ceremonies and rituals. It was thus that preaching deteriorated and, in fact, almost disappeared. The Reformers vigorously protested against this and contended with all their might for the recovery of God’s Holy Word.9

• Elevation of monasticism. Protestants opposed the Roman Catholic concept of the superiority of the so-called religious life. They did not believe that monasticism was the only way to spirituality or even the best way. By stressing the priesthood of all believers, they worked hard to eliminate the Roman Catholic distinction between the “inferior” life of the Christian involved in a secular calling and the “higher” religious world of monks and nuns.

• Usurped mediation. Protestants also rejected the Roman Catholic ideas of mediation by Mary and the intercession of saints, as well as the automatic transfusion of grace in the sacraments. They opposed all forms of mediation with God except through Christ. They reduced the sacraments to two, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, thereby stripping priests and the church of mediating power and the sacramental dispensation of salvation.

• The role of good works. Protestants rejected the ideas of Semi-Pelagianism, which says that both grace and works are necessary for salvation. This theological difference was at the heart of Protestant opposition to Roman Catholicism, though it was largely through moral and practical corruption that the issue came to the fore.

The Protestant response to Roman Catholic abuses gradually settled into five Reformation watchwords or battle cries, centered on the Latin word solus, meaning “alone.” These battle cries, expounded in chapter 10, served to contrast Protestant teaching with Roman Catholic tenets as follows:
Cont'd here

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Monday, October 27, 2014 6:51 AM Pilgrim's Birthday by chestnutmare

Happy Birthday Pilgrim. I hope you have a wonderful day.

375 Views · 7 Comments
Thursday, October 23, 2014 2:04 PM God will have us make his glory our aim by chestnutmare

The whole life of a Christian should be nothing but praises and thanks to God. We should neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, but eat to God, and sleep to God, and work to God, and talk to God, do all to his glory and praise…. As we receive all from God, so we should lay all at his feet, and say, ‘I will not live in a course of sin that will not stand with the favour of my God’…. We glorify God when we exalt him in our souls above all creatures in the world, when we give him the highest place in our love and in our joy, when all our affections are set upon him as the greatest good. This is seen also by opposition, when we will not offend God for any creature, when we can ask our affections, "Whom have I in heaven but thee?".

God is our God by covenant, because he hath made over himself unto us. Every believing Christian hath the title passed over to him, so that God is his portion, and his inheritance. There is more comfort in this, that God is our God, than the heart of man can conceive. It is larger than his heart, and therefore though we cannot say, that riches, or honours, or friends, &c, are ours, yet if we be able to say by the Spirit of faith that God is ours, then we have all in him. His wisdom is ours to find out a way to do us good;…if under the guilt of sin, his mercy is ours to forgive us; if any want, his all-sufficiency is ours to supply, or to make it good. If God be ours, then whatsoever God can do is ours, and whatsoever God hath is ours…. God will have us make his glory our aim, that he may bestow himself upon us.

~ Richard Sibbes (1577–1635)

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 6:56 AM True Pastors by chestnutmare

The pastor ought to have two voices: one, for gathering the sheep; and another, for warding off and driving away wolves and thieves. The Scripture supplies him with the means of doing both.
~ John Calvin

154 Views · 2 Comments
Monday, October 20, 2014 9:46 PM Eternal justification by John_C

When someone says that God has not justified you eternally, what is meant by that? Never heard those two words together before.

263 Views · 1 Comments
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