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Reformation Day 500 and counting!

Today marks the 500th year anniversary of the widely accepted start of The Reformation.

reformation-image
Source

Roman Catholic Monk Martin Luther had found John Hus’s Gospel-drenched sermons, and had been studying the Bible for himself, when his conscience convicted him that the Roman Catholic structure of indulgences and other aberrant doctrines were unacceptable compared to what was taught via the Bible.

He nailed 95 theses to the All Saints’ Chapel doors at the church in Wittenberg Germany, for public discussion as per usual among the theologians of the day.

Because Luther’s propositions and questions could not be reconciled with what the Catholic dogma taught, there arose a controversy which only entrenched Luther further into his stance, when at the conclusion of his heresy trial he refused to recant and is alleged to have said,

“Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.”

Christianity Today wrote,

Luther asserted that his conscience was captive to the Word of God and that he could not go against conscience. This was not, however, a modern plea for the supremacy of the individual conscience or for religious freedom. Though already excommunicated by Rome, Luther saw himself as a sworn teacher of Scripture who must advocate the right of all Christians to hear and live by the gospel.

Praise the Lord for His timing in bringing His word back to the people.

The Reformation is ongoing because the spiritual battle is ongoing. Satan hasn’t quit deluding the unwary and he hasn’t stopped growing his church (Roman Catholic, among others, such as Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc). He is still at it. Despite the blessed knowledge that many of today’s leaders have regarding the differences between the Protestant and the Catholic, many other of today’s leaders seem to have forgotten the point of the Reformation was to protest the perverse twisting of the Gospel and other biblical doctrines away from truth to devilish lies a la the Roman Catholic Church.

Ultimately, though Luther wanted reform within the RCC, it was not possible, and the Protestant denominations were born.

For example, today we have well-known Protestant leaders retracting their former truthful words that Roman view of justification is heresy, and also and perpetuating their stance that works add to something called final salvation.

We have well-known so-called Reformed pastors teaching Catholic methods, sourcing Catholic authors, and naming their church classes “The Way of the Monk” led by Catholic-trained female teachers, and teaching that Catholicism is another Christian denomination, or tradition, or stream, not the heresy and affront to God that it is.

We have so-called evangelicals usurping God from the Sunday pulpit to host Catholic political celebrities, who are treated as a brother and not as a mission field.

We have whole congregations (Episcopal) in the US converting en masse back to Catholicism. Granted Episcopalians don’t have far to go, but the quote that struck me was from one lay leader of this congregation that mass converted back to Rome: “It feels fantastic,” Delaney said. “It’s like correcting 500 years of history.”

No. Not it’s not.

Despite all that, today is a great day to celebrate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, His church, His Spirit’s work in the world to bring men into the kingdom on the glowing carpet of truths known as The Gospel of Salvation. We celebrate the simple Gospel, the understandable Gospel, the Gospel we read in the word of God thanks to the translators and Reformers and protestors who yanked it from the dark into the Light, even on the funeral pyres of their own mortality.

We celebrate the knowledge that Jesus saves, as it is written, and so many other truths we know because He revealed it to us in His word.

We celebrate fiery, or quiet, or diligent, or intelligent, or clumsy, pastors who perpetuate the truths unadorned with skits or personal stories, just preaching, some at risk to their own lives.

We celebrate the brave men and women who circulated the word back to the people. But Reformation Day 500 ultimately celebrates One.

We praise and thanks we Lord Jesus above for all His ways, His power, might, love, Word, redemption, suffering, sovereignty, omniscience, holiness, holiness, holiness…

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9).

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This is why we still need The Reformation

Over the past twenty or thirty years, a great ecumenical push has occurred where many so-called “evangelical” pastors and leaders have partnered with the Vatican, the Pope, Bishops, or local priests in spiritual endeavors. These men and women have called the Pope a brother, have blurred the doctrinal lines between us, and have betrayed the faith.

This ecumenical move has occurred at the global, national, and local level. After so many years, nearly a generation, people are now used to evangelical leaders accepting and promoting the Catholic Church to varying degrees. Some say that we can partner with the Catholic Church on social endeavors, such as being against abortion, for traditional marriage, or helping the poor. (Russell Moore). Others say outright that the Catholic Church is Christian, just another “stream” of Christianity and we can and should and do borrow heavily from them in teaching our local congregations. (Tim Keller).

Have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)

Whether one has gotten on the continuum and partnered with the Roman Catholic Church in a hold your nose, social justice only gingerly sort of way, or is all-in with promoting the RCC as Christian (and thus not a mission field) doing so is wrong and unbiblical. The Catholic Church teaches a different Gospel, a different Jesus, and holds to many unbiblical practices. It is a counterfeit religion that has nothing to do with our Lord.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14).

We are to make a distinction between the true faith and the counterfeit. Failing to do so fails the commands of Jesus to be a people set apart, and tragically erases an entire mission field from existence.

And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10, sanctified means set apart).

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9).

Yet the ecumenical push continues and in fact has made inroads 30 years later. Ravi Zacharias, the world’s most well-known Christian apologist, refuses to draw a line around fundamental and essential doctrines and exclude the RCC. Beth Moore has taught that the RCC is another denomination and also has taught some Catholic Mystical practices.

Jennie Allen is founder of the massively influential and popular IF:gathering, the most popular interdenominational Christian women’s event in years, and writes this about Catholics:

I was talking with my sister yesterday who is struggling with explaining her view of grace to her friend that is Catholic and wants to know. I told her, we are all just doing the best we can to know and understand God with what we have- our individual views of Him will always be growing and changing as we wrestle through scripture and life.

“Our individual views of Him”? No explaining the Gospel? No drawing distinctive lines between the true faith and the false deception of Catholicism? No explanation of grace by faith alone and not salvation by sacraments, tradition, and wrongly interpreted scriptures? Scriptures that were withheld from people for 1000 years before Tyndale translated and unleashed it? A woman whose template for spiritual gatherings and holy conversations is currently used at this many gatherings in the US alone?

And Jennie Allen has the audacity to reply to her own sister on behalf of a Catholic seeker of the true Jesus not the Gospel of saving faith, but that “we’re all just doing the best we can?”

Jen Hatmaker, a ridiculously popular blogger and author wrote this on her Facebook page:

The article over which she was gushing was that the Pope was headed to a prison where, in front of cameras, he will wash 12 inmates’ feet. She makes the deep gulf between the Catholic and the Protestant seem like a joyful jump over to where ministry is cool and rituals and symbols are fun, not actually blasphemous as they are.

Does she forget that millions of faithful evangelical, Protestant pastors preach the true word, minister, and love in the face of criticism and persecution, daily? With nary a camera in sight? What about gushing over those guys?

Here is another reason we need the Reformation to be vital and fresh, always:

Pope Francis is the perfect example of authenticity and humility. He is doing everything right.” Warren then referred to Pope Francis as “our new pope.” ~Rick Warren, ‘Evangelical’ pastor at Saddleback Church.

Rick Warren believes the Reformation was a mistake and a new reformation will eventually bring us all back together.

“The first Reformation actually split Christianity into dozens and then hundreds of different segments. I think this one is actually going to bring them together… Last week I spoke to 4,000 pastors at my church who came from over 100 denominations in over 50 countries….We had Catholic priests, we had Pentecostal ministers, we had Lutheran bishops, we had Anglican bishops, we had Baptist preachers.” Source Rick Warren, The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2005.

What the Reformation did was divide those who believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ from those of Rome perpetuating a false Gospel of works.

And again, Catholicism is not a Christian “denomination.” It is an apostate religion of satan.

Why Rick Warren is important to cite: His church is one of the top 50 megachurches in the US, In 2008 he was invited to give the Inaugural Prayer at the President’s swearing-in and introduced to the world as “America’s Pastor”, and his book Purpose Driven Life was on the bestseller list for 90 weeks and has sold 60 million copies.

Here is another gentleman working hard to retract the Reformation-

Osteen: “I love the fact that he [Pope Francis] has made the church more inclusive.”

After his visit to the Vatican, Osteen said: “You feel that deep reverence and respect for God.”

Why is Osteen important to cite? Lakewood Church has an average weekly attendance of 52,000, and Osteen’s sermons are also televised in more than 100 countries, with an estimated 7 million viewers each week.

Yet another who violates every precept and principle the Reformation stood for:

Billy Graham: asked about the Pope’s upcoming 1979 visit to the US,

The visit of Pope Paul II to the United States is an event of great significance not only for Roman Catholics, but for all Americans – as well as the world… In the short time he has been Pope, John Paul II has become the moral leader of the world. My prayers and the prayer of countless other Protestants will be with him as he makes his journey.

Later, asked about the recent pope’s death (Pope John Paul II, 2005) Billy Graham said:

“I think he’s with the Lord, because he believed. He believed in the Cross. That was his focus throughout his ministry, the Cross, no matter if you were talking to him from personal issue or an ethical problem, he felt that there was the answer to all of our problems, the cross and the resurrection. And he was a strong believer.”

Why is Billy Graham important to cite? He has been THE face of Christianity since 1949, his first Crusade. The first Crusade to be broadcast on television was in 1957, and anyone growing up in the latter half of the twentieth-century will have seen the preacher preaching in Crusade after Crusade. Sadly, he would only compromise Jesus’ Gospel later by forming alliances with Rome, and by denying the exclusivity of Jesus as the only way to salvation.

Warren, Graham, Keller, Hatmaker, Allen, Moore, among many others who should know better, don’t care that thousands of God’s people were murdered by the Catholic Church for daring to preach the true Gospel and express faith in the resurrected Jesus, a Jesus who is the only Head of the Church.

And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, (Ephesians 1:22)

These men and women, and many others I did not cite, are blaspheming against the finished work of Christ.

The doctrinal lines are wide and they run deep. The divide between Catholic and Protestant is eternal and permanent. Thousands of martyrs died to preserve that line, while always inviting and preaching to those on the side of the looming punishment. Unity with falsity doesn’t save. Wiping away the lines of 500 years of blood and persecution by the very church with which they want to unite is perverted and gross.

Lest you think I am too harsh, see what one of very many preachers have said about Rome in their assertion that we must never, ever compromise the Reformation’s values again.

Here is Charles Spurgeon in 1864, from his sermon refuting Baptismal Regeneration (something Billy Graham believes in).

It is a most fearful fact, that in no age since the Reformation has Popery made such fearful strides in England as during the last few years. I had comfortably believed that Popery was only feeding itself upon foreign subscriptions, upon a few titled perverts, and imported monks and nuns. I dreamed that its progress was not real. In fact, I have often smiled at the alarm of many of my brethren at the progress of Popery. But, my dear friends, we have been mistaken, grievously mistaken. It really is an alarming matter to see so many of our countrymen going off to that superstition which as a nation we once rejected, and which it was supposed we should never again receive. I have but to open my eyes a little to foresee ROMANISM rampant everywhere in the future, since its germs are spreading everywhere in the present. I see this coming up everywhere – a belief in ceremony, a resting in ceremony, a veneration for alters, fonts, and Churches – a veneration so profound that we must not venture upon a remark, or straightway of sinners we are chief. Here is the essence and soul of Popery, peeping up under the garb of a decent respect for sacred things.

What would Spurgeon make of today’s evangelical leaders and their acceptance of Rome? No, we need the Reformation. It still matters.

 

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The Reformation shows us why we need expository preaching

With the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation coming upon us October 31, many people are looking to history and learning Martin Luther and his the men that came before him.

Martin Luther is generally acknowledged to have been a main spark to the Protestant Reformation. Protestant comes from the word protest, which Luther’s 95 Theses sparked against the Roman Catholic Church’s excesses of indulgences (sin absolution for hire) and other abuses.

The Reformation didn’t happen because Martin Luther put the 95 Theses on the door to Wittenberg Chapel. It happened because the Word was unleashed. ~Mark McAndrew, North Avenue Church

Here, John MacArthur explains in a 1:33 clip How unhindered access to God’s Word changed history.

William Tyndale, John Hus, and many others were executed for translating or preaching the Word in the people’s language. The Roman Catholic Church prevented the Catholics from reading the Word themselves and from possessing and reading a Bible. Mass was performed in Latin. The RCC was fearful that if the people got a-hold of the Word, they would be uncontrollable. So it was restricted. For a thousand years.

William Tyndale: “Let it not make thee despair, neither yet discourage thee, O reader, that it is forbidden thee in pain of life and goods, or that it is made breaking of the king’s peace, or treason unto his highness, to read the Word of thy soul’s health—for if God be on our side, what matter maketh it who be against us, be they bishops, cardinals, popes.”Christianity Today

Read the word for thy soul’s health. When push comes to shove, and you are undergoing a tragedy and need comfort, or are under conviction and need some solace, the pastor’s witty anecdote is not going to help you. The pastor’s fad-driven bullet point topical sermon is not going to help you. The greatest help we have is the Word- with the Spirit to illuminate us to our mind. There is nothing like the word, because it is alive.

Let each true church commit to expository preaching. What IS expository preaching?

Expository preaching involves the exposition, or comprehensive explanation, of the Scripture; that is, expository preaching presents the meaning and intent of a biblical text, providing commentary and examples to make the passage clear and understandable. The word exposition is related to the word expose — the expository preacher’s goal is simply to expose the meaning of the Bible, verse by verse. Source

Read the word to the people, explain what it means in context, repeat next Sunday.

Do we need fancy stunts? Do we need extreme stage lights and fog machines? Do we need motivational speeches? Do we need to change the church so we can attract the goats seekers and meet their “felt needs“? Do we need to ditch everything and be radical, wild at heart manly men?
No.

Martyn Lloyd Jones said,

Another argument that I would adduce at this point is that the moment you begin to turn from preaching to these other expedients you will find yourself undergoing a constant series of changes.

Does your church still do the Prayer of Jabez? Undergo 40 Days of Purpose? Wear a WWJD bracelet? Maintain membership in Promise Keepers? Are you still renovating your prayer closet/war room? Do you see how many changes you have to make when you focus on the world and its church fads? If you preach the word, it does not change. It may change you, but it does not change. John MacArthur has been preaching it from the same pulpit for nearly 50 years. He reads the word to the people, explains what it means in context, repeats next Sunday. I hope your pastor does too.

Expositors today preach the Word. The evangelists in the Second and First Great Awakenings preached the Word. The Reformers preached the Word. Apostle Paul preached the Word. Jesus preached the Word. Ezra preached the Word. Noah preached the Word.

Knowing the blood of the martyrs soaks the ground under thousands of stakes, how dare we insert our own words, opinions, fads, and stunts onto the pulpit? Men died for this Word to be preached. Jesus as the Word suffered and absorbed all God’s wrath for the elect so this word would go out and be preached.

Pastors, please exposit the word.

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2)

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Reformation resources for you!

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is coming up on October 31st. This is the date when, 500 years ago, Roman Catholic monk and professor Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the University of Wittenberg’s chapel door. Nailing a tract on the door was not in itself an act of rebellion, but rather the usual and customary method of starting a discussion among scholars of religious points of the day. It was the 16th century’s version of the internet.

However, Luther’s theses were not just questions and discussion points, but a devastating critique of Roman Catholic practices. Luther had found in his studies that Roman Catholic faith and practice varied greatly from the word of God. Luther was especially upset over the practice of Indulgences, or payment to the Church for reduction or absolution of certain sins. Paying for sins to be forgiven seemed incredibly wrong to Luther. He wrote up his questions, intending to spark a discussion.

He sparked a discussion.

The discussion has been ongoing for 500 years.

The discussion split The Catholic Church and pitted it against those who were protesting, now known as Protestants.

The most confusing thing to me when I was an unsaved person was the Catholic Church. I thought it was a Christian church. Because of its size and longevity, I thought it represented true Christianity. What I didn’t know was that the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) is as far from Christianity as the east is from the west. It does not represent the faith of Jesus, but instead is a false belief system.

The protest Luther made was against certain practices and doctrines of the RCC. For example, the Jesus we know through the inspired scriptures is the central authority, not the Pope or other officials. Practices and rituals and good works do not save. Indulgences are nowhere found in the Bible. Though Luther initially wanted to renew the church, eventually it divided over these and other issues, and the Protestant reformation began.

Here are some Reformation Day resources for you-

Why We’re Protestant: An Introduction to the Five Solas of the Reformation Kindle Edition. A paperback edition exists. By Nate Pickowicz, Foreword by Steven J. Lawson. Nate is a pastor who shepherds a church in New England. His wife Jessica has written a Bible study to go along with MacArthur’s new book, Biblical Doctrine and facilitates a Facebook group regarding the weekly study sessions.

Synopsis: How do you discern true vs. false Christianity? In the days of the Protestant Reformation, the core tenets of the faith were strenuously examined. In the end, the Reformers maintained that at the heart of the Christian faith stood five main credos: sola Scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, and soli Deo gloria. This book examines these five “solas” and makes a definitive case for why we’re Protestant.

Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth

By Rebecca VanDoodewaard. Rebecca and her husband William used to run a blog I liked, called The Christian Pundit.

Synopsis: Women are an essential element in church history. Just as Deborah, Esther, and the New Testament Marys helped shape Bible history, so the women of the Reformed church have helped to make its history great. In Reformation Women, Rebecca Vandoodewaard introduces readers to twelve sixteenth-century women who are not as well known today as contemporaries like Katie Luther and Lady Jane Grey. Providing an example to Christians today of strong service to Christ and His church, these influential, godly women were devoted to Reformation truth, in many cases provided support for their husbands, practiced hospitality, and stewarded their intellectual abilities. Their strength and bravery will inspire you, and your understanding of church history will become richer as you learn how God used them to further the Reformation through their work and influence.

Long Before Luther: Tracing the Heart of the Gospel From Christ to the Reformation by Nathan Busenitz  (Author), John MacArthur (Foreword)

Synopsis: Where was the gospel before the Reformation?

Contemporary evangelicals often struggle to answer that question. As a result, many Roman Catholics are quick to allege that the Reformation understanding of the gospel simply did not exist before the 1500s. They assert that key Reformation doctrines, like sola fide, were nonexistent in the first fifteen centuries of church history. Rather, they were invented by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others.

That is a serious charge, and one that evangelicals must be ready to answer. If an evangelical understanding of the gospel is only 500 years old, we are in major trouble. However, if it can be demonstrated that Reformers were not inventing something new, but instead were recovering something old, then key tenets of the Protestant faith are greatly affirmed. Hence, the need for this book.

The Mother of the Reformation: The Amazing Life and Story of Katharine Luther

by Ernst Kroker. Synopsis- The author paints an intimate picture of Katie and of family life in the Black Cloister during the formative years of the Reformation, showing how Katie s marriage to Martin Luther was a multifaceted vocation, with such tasks as household brew mistress, cloister landlady, property overseer, gardener, cow- and pig-herder, and fishwife. Indeed, Katie oversaw their home much like a lord in her kingdom, yet in the midst of it all stood the man to whom her work, concern, and duty were directed.

Resources for children

The Barber Who Wanted to Pray by R.C. Sproul

Synopsis: This imaginative tale from R.C. Sproul, based on a true story, begins one evening with Mr. McFarland leading family devotions. When his daughter asks him how she should pray, Mr. McFarland shares a 500-year-old story about a barber and his famous customer.

Master Peter is a barber well-known to all in his village. One day, when Martin Luther the Reformer walks into his shop, the barber musters up the courage to ask the outlawed monk how to pray. Luther responds by writing a letter to the barber. The barber’s life and many others’ are changed as they encounter a model for prayer by using the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed.

Martin Luther- Christian Biographies for Young Readers, by Simonetta Carr

Synopsis- Five hundred years ago, a monk named Martin Luther wrote ninety-five questions, hoping to start a discussion about sin and repentance at the University of Wittenberg in Germany. In a few months those questions had stirred the nation; a few years later, the continent. Today we know that those questions changed the course of both the Western church and world history. In this volume for children, Simonetta Carr tells the compelling story of this father of the Protestant Reformation, tracing his quest for peace with God, his lifelong heroic stand for God’s truth, and his family life and numerous accomplishments. The Reformer’s greatest accomplishment, she writes, “has been his uncompromising emphasis on the free promise of the gospel.”

Movie

Martin Luther: The idea that changed the world, PBS documentary, 9/2017, as synopsized by Banner of Truth Trust here. The PBS documentary has an extended trailer here. Official website here.

 

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Reformation history; Jenny Geddes and her stool

the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. (1 Corinthians 14:34).

Paul was exhorting about orderly worship here. The women, who as Hebrews were not invited to participate in worship with the men or to be educated, were over-exuberant in their new found freedom as Christians. As a result, worship had gotten out of hand. Worship must be orderly, quiet, and respectful, that was the watchword. And Paul gave that word in this passage.

 

Is there a time for a woman to holler and throw stools at the pastor? Apparently there was for Jenny Geddes. She’s gone down in Reformation History as someone who stood up for Jesus. Here’s how.

Jenny Geddes (c. 1600 – c. 1660) was a Scottish market-trader in Edinburgh, who is alleged to have thrown her stool at the head of the minister in St Giles’ Cathedral in objection to the first public use of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer in Scotland. The act is reputed to have sparked the riot which led to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which included the English Civil War.

Well, that’s some stool. It all happened on July 23, 1637 in Edinburgh.

Always independent, the Puritan Scots had become suspicious of the increasing encroachment of liturgy and rigid traditions a la the Roman Catholic Church. They had observed King Charles Is’ coronation rites and were displeased with his use of Anglican rituals. Next came forced use of the Book of Common Prayer, a high Episcopalian book, with its readings in the Apocrypha. King Charles issued a warrant in 1635 declaring his spiritual power over the Church of Scotland, insisting that the Church would be issued with a new book of liturgy which would be read at services. And on July 23, 1637 in St. Giles Cathedral, the Common Book of prayer was opened and John Hanna, Dean of Edinburgh, began to read.

It was all too much for Jenny. ScotClan has the history,

Jenny Geddes sat fuming on her “fald stool” or a “creepie-stool” meaning a folding stool. Finally she had heard enough and stood up and cried; “Deil colic the wame o’ ye, fause thief; daur ye say Mass in my lug?” meaning “Devil cause you severe pain and flatulent distension of your abdomen, false thief: dare you say the Mass in my ear?” And at that she hurled her stool straight at the Dean’s head. This sparked a full scale riot in the church. one congregation member who had been heard uttering a response to the liturgy was thumped with bibles. The Dean took cover and the Provost summoned his men to put down the disturbance. The rioters were soon ejected from St Giles and the Bishop of Edinburgh appealed for calm. However this was not going to end quietly…

The national spiritual unrest was real, but overlaid upon the spiritual unrest was political unrest too. Hence the riots that sparked the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and then the English Civil War. You can read about that part of the history elsewhere.

Jenny Geddes’ anger at the encroachment of evil into the pure worship service reminded me of another, more recent ‘Jenny Geddes.’

On November 10, 2013, Memorial Church of the Reformation in the city of Speyer, Germany hosted Karl Jenkins’ performance piece, titled “A Mass for Peace- “The Armed Man” where as part of the performance, the Islamic call to prayer is performed by an Imam.

German woman Heidi Mund had heard of this performance, grabbed her flag on which is emblazoned “Jesus Christ is Lord” headed to the church, and bought her ticket. But first, Ms Mund said, she prayed. To make matters even more emotional, the church the performance was to be held at was the Memorial Church of the Protestation in Speyer Germany, constructed specifically in 1900 where,

Its construction was supposed to be a reminder of the protest action that the imperial evangelical states brought to bear in 1529 at the Reichstag in Speyer. The Luther memorial in the vestibule and the adjacent statues of local Protestant rulers serve as reminders of this event.

Having no particular plan, she quietly listened to the music and readings, but when the Imam began praying to Allah in Arabic and saying, “Allahu Akbar!” she felt what she called a holy anger rising up in her. Much like Jenny Geddes, who was righteously aggrieved with the blasphemy in her midst, Mund stood up at this “interfaith event” and fearlessly began shouting that Lord Jesus alone is God and proclaimed His supremacy over all the earth.

If we are confronted with something of like kind, what would be our reaction? There is a time to sit silently and submissively, but is there ever a time for disruption and holy anger? Jenny Geddes threw a stool, narrowly missing the preacher’s head. Physical violence is never appropriate. How would we react to the incursion of evil into a holy place, a place set aside for the proclamation of the pure word? Just food for thought.

Both Geddes and Mund knew of what was to happen during the service. Neither were surprised. Mund prayed ahead, one can surmise that perhaps Geddes had also prayed ahead. In one way or another, we are all confronted with false doctrine creeping in. Start praying ahead for strength in the Lord to react in ways that honor and glorify Him.

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Further Reading

Trivia: Scottish Poet Robert Burns named his mare Jenny Geddes

Excerpt from William Breed’s 1876 version of the story, from Jenny Geddes, or, Presbyterianism and its great conflict with despotism

It was in the month of July — a month since become so memorable in the history of human freedom — on the twenty-third day of the month, that Jenny emerged from domestic obscurity to historic celebrity and renown.

On that day there was a strange ferment throughout Scotland and a wild excitement in the city of Edinburgh. King Charles had resolved to make Presbyterianism give place to Prelacy throughout the realm. A book of canons had been prepared subversive of the whole system of Presbyterian government, and had been enjoined upon the realm by proclamation upon the king’s simple prerogative.

Following this book came a liturgy as a law of public worship, and a royal edict had commanded its introduction into all the churches of the realm on this memorable Sabbath day. Notice to this effect bad been given the Sabbath before, and hence this intense excitement. For the Scottish people knew that if this measure were carried into effect by the authorities, Presbyterianism was virtually in its grave.

As the hour of Sabbath service approached, the streets of Edinburgh were thronged with crowds of people — every bosom throbbing, every eye flaming with excitement. But whither were they directing their steps? Conspicuous from many a point in the city of Edinburgh is a lofty tower, terminating in an open, carved stonework, with arches springing from the four corners and meeting together at the top in the form of a crown.

Already more than three centuries were looking down from that tower-top. It rose from the centre of a vast and venerable pile, including the High Church at the eastern end, There Knox so often preached, and within which pile “forty altars” were at one time supported.

It was thither mainly the crowds were pressing, and among them Jenny Geddes. Not being overburdened with modesty, she elbowed her way through the crowd to a convenient place, her stool, in near proximity to the pulpit, and seated herself on her throne. The edifice was filled to repletion with titled nobility and the nobler untitled nobility of the Scottish Presbyterian masses. There were present archbishops, bishops, the lords of the session, the magistrates of the city, members of the council, “chief captains and principal men,” and Jenny Geddes and her stool.

The excitement was becoming every moment more intense. The minutes dragged themselves along with tormenting tardiness and the suspense was becoming almost breathless. When the feeling was wrought up to its highest tension the Dean of Edinburgh made his appearance, clad in immaculate surplice, book in hand — the fatal book of the liturgy — the device of English Prelacy for the reform of Scotch Presbytery. The book was opened and the service begun.

The cup was now full, though as yet no one pretended to know, no one dreamed, what form of expression the pent-up indignation of the outraged people would assume. The question was soon decided. No sooner had the first words of the book, through the lips of the clean, reached the ear of Jenny, the stern prophetess on her tripod, than a sudden inspiration seized her. In an instant she was on her feet, and her shrill, impassioned voice rang through the arches of the cathedral:

“Villain! dost thou say mass in my lug?’ and in another instant her three-legged stool was seen on its way, travelling through the air straight toward the head of the surpliced prayer-reader. The astounded dean, not anticipating such an argument, dodged it, but the consequences he could not dodge.

He had laid his book, as he thought, upon a cushion — the cushion proved a hornet’s nest. In an instant the assembly was in the wildest uproar. Hands were clapped; hisses and loud vociferations filled the house, and missiles, such as the hand could reach, filled the air. A sudden rush was made toward the pulpit by the people in one direction, and from the pulpit by the dean in the other. On the retreat of the dean, the Bishop of Edinburgh took his place in the pulpit, and solemnly commanded the winds and waves to be still, but no calm followed. He was as rudely handled as his brother in oppression, and nothing but a vigorous onset of the magistrates saved his lawn and mitre from the rough hands of Jenny Geddes’ soldiery.

Posted in history, Uncategorized

Forerunner to the Reformation: John Wycliffe

Martin Luther, 1483-1546

It is Reformation year 500. Five hundred years ago this October 31st, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Electorate of Saxony within the Holy Roman Empire. Luther wrote,

Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Here are the actual 95 theses if you want to read them:
The 95 theses

History.com sums the Reformation up this way-

Luther spent his early years in relative anonymity as a monk and scholar. But in 1517 Luther penned a document attacking the Catholic Church’s corrupt practice of selling “indulgences” to absolve sin. His “95 Theses,” which propounded two central beliefs—that the Bible is the central religious authority and that humans may reach salvation only by their faith and not by their deeds—was to spark the Protestant Reformation

Is there any event that is not connected in time by a previous event? Isn’t time a constant stream of events, all tumbling one after another, connected by their confinement to the visible riverbanks by the hands of God? Did the Reformation emerge all of a sudden, or were there catalysts and stepping stones laid first? Were there forerunners? I believe so.

As RC Sproul said recently, that before Luther there was Hus, (or Huss, spellings vary) who was preceded by Wycliffe, who was preceded by Augustin who was preceded by Paul who was preceded by Jesus.

The reason there are forerunners to Martin Luther and the Reformation is that Jesus never leaves Himself without a witness, and He as Master Husbandman tends soils so that there is always a soil ready to receive the Gospel. Even in “The Dark Ages”, the Gospel was doing its work in hearts. Salvations were always occurring.

Burk Parsons wrote of this connection from one era to the next, the vine as I envision it. It is planted by God and watered by Him, with men springing up along the vine as forerunners to His particular plan and path regarding the Reformation.

John Wycliffe was the morning star of the Reformation. He was a protestant and a reformer more than a century before Martin Luther ignited the Protestant Reformation in 1517. Through Wycliffe, God planted the seeds of the Reformation, He watered the seeds through John Hus, and He brought the flower of the Reformation to bloom through Martin Luther. The seed of the flower of the German Augustinian monk Luther’s 95 theses was planted by the English scholar and churchman John Wycliffe.

Josh Buice wrote two weeks ago that The Reformation Resulted in an Explosion of Gospel Missions. He started a preaching series in–

–2017 with an emphasis on the Reformation and how our salvation is directly connected to the work of the Reformers. R. C. Sproul writes, “The Reformation was not merely a Great Awakening; it was the Greatest Awakening to the true Gospel since the Apostolic Age.”

During the days that preceded the Reformation, the Bible had been locked away in a dark dungeon by the Roman Catholic Church.  They insisted that the Word of God must be heard by the priests, who would speak it only in Latin. The Roman Catholic Church insisted that the common person was unable to understand the Word of God without the aid of a priest. However, they were unwilling to release control of the Bible, and in order to prevent anyone from getting their hands on the Word of God—they would burn people at the stake as an example to all who resisted their authority.

Under John Calvin’s leadership in Geneva Switzerland, thousands of missionaries were being trained and by 1562, over 2,000 churches had been planted in France. In 1560, the Geneva Bible was published which was greatly used in Europe and was also the Bible that was brought off of the Mayflower by the early Pilgrims of America. Through the Reformation, an explosion of gospel missions took place that shook the world.

Source Wikimedia Commons

The Reformation is an extremely important part of church history. One would think with the release of the Bible in the people’s language, the explosion of missions, the work of the Gospel in the hearts of many subsequent to the reformation, that our ecclesiology would progress in an upward trajectory. But satan does not like upward, only downward. He fights back. He fought back since the moment the first Geneva Bibles were released. And the Geneva Bible’s history is interesting in itself! It was the first Bible to be translated directly to of the Hebrew. It had extensive notes and cross references, making it the first study Bible. It was translated so that the people could read it. More here.

Sadly, 500 years after the start of The Reformation, there is currently a definite softening toward the Catholic Church by many people who should know better.

Philosopher and poet George Santayana famously said,

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense. Scribner’s, 1905: 284)

We must remain vigilant because we are not unaware of satan’s schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11). We should learn the past in order to remember the past and to push forward with clear, honest, uncomplicated Gospel evangelization. We shouldn’t ever remain ignorant of what has happened in the past of our church history. This is the 500th year of the Reformation. Here are some resources for you to learn more:

The Heresies of the Catholic Church

Evangelical Syncretism: Rethinking the Reformation

John MacArthur and RC Sproul on Sola Scriptura and the Reformation

Undermining the Headship of Christ (The line between John Hus and Martin Luther is explained here).

A History of the Reformation, article by RC Sproul

Memoirs of a Medieval Woman: this is a biography of Margery Kempe, taken from her dictated autobiography. She was born sometime around 1373 and died after 1438, which makes her a devotee of the Catholic Church at a time when both the rise of the Lollards (Wycliffe followers) was gaining traction and also the incessant Catholic pilgrimages to Jerusalem were occurring. It is also set in the time just prior to the Council of Constance. This Council was held between 1414 and 1418, principally to reunite Christendom from the ‘too many popes’ syndrome (schism) but also to examine the teachings of John Wycliffe and Jan Hus and to reform the RCC as a reaction to the attack on the Church’s authority.

Wikipedia lists her as “an English Christian mystic, known for dictating The Book of Margery Kempe, a work considered by some to be the first autobiography in the English language.” Kempe wrote of it all from a first person perspective. I liked the book for its attention to vivid detail on the practices of the Catholic Church, the realities of the pilgrimage journeys to the middle East, the ecstatic visions and examination of same by any and all church authorities Margery could get to listen (anchorites, priests, bishops, other mystics like Julian of Norwich, lay people…)

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Pope Francis believes that the Reformation is over, he’s almost ready to sign public document stating so

THIS is the Christ we love and THIS is the Christ that is preached. Please take two minutes to listen. It’s the backdrop and context for this essay. It’s important.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/158579537?color=a2752e&title=0&byline=0&portrait=0
Shepherds’ Conference Summit on Christology from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.

Since the beginning, satan sends his representatives to pollute and destroy. He began with a serpent and continued with wolves and blossomed his lies into every religion in the world that is not the true faith of the worship of the true Jesus Christ.

Resisting and pointing out idolaters, blasphemers, and wolves has been the business of the Christian since Peter’s day, right through until the moment almost 500 years ago when in Wittenburg Germany, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door at Castle Church, criticizing various elements of the Catholic dogma as having no foundation in the Bible.

“Pope Francis is convinced that the Reformation is already over”. Source

The attempt to reform the Catholic Church from within proved futile. It ended with a massive split, a gulf between the true Christianity and the false Catholic church. This event is known as The Reformation.

And there the gulf stayed for 450 years. The Protesters became a denomination known as Protestant, and the Catholic stayed Catholic. The gulf seemed fixed and immovable until within the last 40-45 years. John MacArthur noted bridges being built back to Rome in 1973.

More lately, disparate whispers emerged from wide-spread places in Christendom. Masked and wolfish “evangelical” eyes turned toward Rome in increasing volume and quantity. Some evangelicals pilgrimaged there, to kiss the hand that lit the match that burned brethren in former eras. Judases, all.

Most recently, we read in last July’s Catholic Herald that the Pope personally considers the Reformation to be over and is likely about to sign a public document stating so. He has believed this ever since the Lutherans signed the 1999 declaration making clear they no longer disagree over justification by faith. Pope Francis has been pursuing a reversal of the Reformation and reunion with other Protestants ever since. To that end, he has been successful. Now, news emerges of a document that declares the Vatican’s opinion that the Reformation is over. This document, which is not widely known, is called “Declaration of Faith in Unity for Mission.” All it needs is Francis’ signature.

Can Francis overcome decades of antagonism between Catholics and Evangelicals?

Somewhere in Pope Francis’s office is a document that could alter the course of Christian history. It declares an end to hostilities between Catholics and Evangelicals and says the two traditions are now “united in mission because we are declaring the same Gospel”. The Holy Father is thinking of signing the text in 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, alongside Evangelical leaders representing roughly one in four Christians in the world today.

If you want to know what will make the biggest stride toward the Great Apostasy and who will form the bulk of the greatest false religion on earth, just picture 1.2 billion Catholics with half a billion Pentecostals and Charismatics, along with millions of liberal Evangelicals led by the likes of Rick Warren, Kenneth Copeland and James Robison, Beth Moore, Ann Voskamp, and Rachel Held Evans- all uniting under a false Jesus and declaring a false gospel.

Is the Jesus you’re worshiping “this same Jesus
of Acts 1:11?The Catholic Herald article I quoted above gives quick recent history of the reversal of the Reformation from Pope Francis’ perspective. I recommend reading it. Though many in America have been perplexed by Protestant leaders’ rapid softening toward Rome, from Pope Francis’ perspective it is no surprise, because he is the one behind it.

For example, in 2014 several “evangelical leaders” which included Kenneth Copeland, James Robison (Beth Moore’s mentor) and Geoff Tunnicliffe, along with Bishop Tony Palmer and Pope Francis, met for three hours in the Vatican, decided to agree on their faiths, and drafted a declaration stating so. This is the “Declaration of Faith in Unity for Mission.” The declaration has three parts:

1. the Nicean-Constantinople Creed, which Catholics and evangelicals share;
2. the core of the Catholic-Lutheran declaration of 1999 making clear there is no disagreement over justification by faith;
3. a section asserting that Catholics and evangelicals are now “united in mission because we are declaring the same Gospel,” (according to Gloria.TV, in an article titled Reformation Anniversary: Dialogue Paper Between the Vatican and Evangelicals?)

It’s that third section that is the most astounding. Catholics and Protestants agree that they are declaring the same Gospel? This is huge. Such a declaration, if signed by leaders of both faiths, would effectively be declaring the Reformation is over –  AND that it was a mistake.

The Catholic Herald again, on how Pope Francis closed the seemingly immovable gulf between the faiths-

When Francis wanted to reach out to Evangelicals after he was elected Pope, he didn’t do the obvious things. He didn’t ask the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity to organise a conference or seek advice from the group Evangelicals and Catholics Together in America – arguably the most advanced such dialogue in the world. Instead, he rang his old friend. During a leisurely meeting at the Vatican, [Tony] Palmer recorded a video of the Pontiff on his iPhone.

Designated an “Apostolic Representative for Christian Unity” by Francis, Palmer took the film to a ministers’ conference in Texas organised by prosperity gospel preacher Kenneth Copeland. Palmer introduced the film with what must count as one of the great Christian orations of the 21st century. “Brothers and sisters, Luther’s protest is over,” he said. He told the audibly stunned audience that he was speaking to them “in the spirit of Elijah”, who prepared the way for something much greater than himself.

Francis then proclaimed that “the miracle of unity has begun”. The audience greeted the video with whooping, laughter and a babble of tongues. Copeland summoned Palmer back on stage to record a reply on his iPhone. The video ended with all the ministers – some of whom may have believed the Pope was a false teacher just minutes earlier – raising their hands and addressing Francis in unison with the cry: “Be blessed!”

Still shots from that national meeting below:

“The Spirit of Elijah is the spirit of reconciliation.” Bishop Palmer,
introducing the Pope’s video message. Source.
They’re already united: in satan.
Yes, but which God?
After the message finished, Copeland led American evangelicals
in a prayer to bless the Pope

Now, with the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation looming in October 2017, great strides have been made in destroying the visible faith by a satanic reunification and total reversal of the most important religious movement on earth since the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Will Pope Francis publicly sign the ‘Reformation is over’ document? The Catholic Herald thinks so.

Francis hasn’t given any public sign of whether he will sign the declaration. But he has taken steps that seem to prepare the ground for it.

Meanwhile on our own shores, this disappointing ChurchLeaders.com article breathlessly gurgles an undiscerning excitement that Pope Francis will attend the Washington DC Together2016 event this weekend, by video message-

Having the Pope is certainly a bold move on the part of the evangelical leaders of Together 2016, yet one that makes a clear move toward the unity of all Christians in America. (Source)

The author of that article breathlessly continued to state that the whole Pope-Evangelical thing is “pretty cool”.

In one sense, the “leaders” who have been promoting this hellish union with Rome, such as Rick Warren, SBC’s Russell Moore and Ronnie Floyd, Joel Osteen, James Robison, Kenneth Copeland, Ravi Zacharias (is there any ecumenical gatheiring he won’t attend?), Michael W. Smith, Mark Batterson among others, (and most of tho men I just listed will be attending the ecumenical event this weekend), are already united with Rome.

There are only two faiths. The faith with satan at the head and the universal Christian church of saints, led by Jesus Christ. There IS a gulf fixed between the two, and anyone partnering with Rome to declare that they share the same Gospel is not of the faith of Jesus Christ. It’s one, or the other.

This next part is for ladies. Sisters, we have been warning you about the dangers of many of these liberal/mystical/ecumenical “teachers” for a long time, many of whom are participating in the upcoming Together2016 event this weekend. These are women such as Lindsey Nobles, Jennie Allen, (IF:gathering,) Christine Caine, (Propel Women, A21 campaign), Ann Voskamp (Romantic Panentheist and Mystical Romanticist).

Again and again not to partake of the evil fruit these women produce. That these Pope-friendly women are partnering at an ecumenical event, buying into the Pope’s unification agenda, is to turn their backs on millions of martyrs who cried out to the Lord for mercy on their tormenters. It’s to ignore the dark history where the shining Gospel was twisted, perverted, and suppressed- usually at the end of a sword. It should be the clarion signal that these women have nothing to offer you, nothing, not even one single tiny seemingly insignificant scripture quote you repeat on Facebook. Do not follow these women.

Catholic Philly reports that Lead organizer of Together 2016 and founder of PULSE, a youth campus ministry, Nick Hall, had a two-hour meeting with the pope on June 9. Hall told CNS he spoke to the pope about the event and spent time in prayer with him. Together2016 is at root, a Popish event, a ploy with an antichrist agenda. Don’t buy it and avoid every single person associated with it.

Christianity is therefore the absolute religion, the only, essential, true religion. It tolerates no other religions as of almost equal worth and worthiness alongside itself. It is, according to its nature, intolerant, even as the truth at all times is and must be intolerant with respect to the untruth. It will not be satisfied with being the first of the religions, but it claims to be the only, true, full religion, which has absorbed and fulfilled all that is true and good in other religions. Christ is not a man alongside of others, but He is the Son of Man, who be the resurrection was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, and received from the Father a name above every name, so that in that name every knee should bow and every tongue confess, that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Herman Bavinck, The Sacrifice of Praise, p. 67

The closing of the gap between (falsely) professing Protestant and Catholic is rapidly upon us. Yet the true Protestant is still protesting. We are still declaring the faith in THIS SAME JESUS (Acts 1:11) who ministered and came to seek and save the lost. True Protestants know that our salvation is-

  • by faith alone. Sola Fide,
  • by Scripture alone. Sola Scriptura,
  • through Christ alone. Solus Christus,
  • by grace alone. Sola Gratia,

and that the glory is

  • glory to God alone. Soli Deo Gloria.