Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Reformation Day

With each passing year I seem to appreciate the Reformation, and the men who fought for it, all the more. In this year in particular I in studying church history have come to see just how wicked the Roman church really was and even is (not the people in it per se). Also, the freedoms we have, and our form of government have their roots planted directly in the fertile soil of the Reformation based streams of thought.

We owe an inestimable debt to our Reformers who fought, and in many cases died, that we may worship Christ, as our conscience (hopefully guided by Scripture) dictates.

I will expand this further in coming posts.


Anonymous said...

Well Bobby, I guess I am a little bit or maybe just a major bit different?

You wrote above:

[[In this year in particular I in studying church history have come to see just how wicked the Roman church really was and even is (not the people in it per se).]]

I find with every passing year just how wicked I really am and was and how great and looming His Grace is for a wretch like me!

We have here visiting our humble Church Dr. Steven Hien and his wife Kathy. They have been a real rich enriching blessing to us over the last several days.

Today he said the most amazing thing.

He said that the Reformation was not a movement and should not become a movement to "reform" us. In fact, at least, as a Lutheran holding a Doctor of Divinity and an educator, he said Martin Luther said his work was to bring a reformation to the Gospel because the RCC was proclaiming in error the message of the Gospel of Our Blessed God!

I thought that idea was quite profound! Don't you?

The "Law" says, do this and it is never done. The "Gospel" says, believe this and it is accomplished in those who believe.

And what is the results of believing?

Well, its being found in His Righteousness and not in a righteousness of our own.

With that, I too say, HAPPY REFORMATION DAY!

Richard Dawkins said...

The origins of "perfidious Albion" springs to mind.

More pertinent to contemporary American culture, and the impact made on its society by conventionally unremarkable individuals is the documentation of the recently deceased Studs Terkel, a truly admirable narrator of wide-ranging life-experiences. I'm sure you will at least agree that his ostensible epitaph, "curiosity didn't kill this cat", is up there for sheer sardonic flair.

Bob said...

Yes Michael, my view of my own depravity increases as the Lord works on me as well. I was thinking more historically in effects of the roformation, I am just glad I don't have Dominican or Jesuits kicking in my door taking my bibles burning them and torturing me for not bowing to the pope like they used to.

Ubersehen said...

Well, Bob, you almost make it sound like they'd still like to...

I was curious about a remark at the end of your post, though:

We owe an inestimable debt to our Reformers who fought, and in many cases died, that we may worship Christ, as our conscience (hopefully guided by Scripture) dictates.[Emphasis obviously mine]

If our conscience is "guided" by scripture, doesn't that either suggest that:

A) We have no actual choice in what we believe and will inherently believe/worship in one particular way, whether or not we have a knowledge of your scripture


B) That your particular flavour of Christianity is not inherently intuitive and requires your scriptures to inform a belief in it?

Tim said...

I've been reading the book Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna, and I am finding it both sad and fascinating that the Reformers did actually very little reforming of a religion that by that time was so infested with pagan influences, customs, and traditions. The Church is still light-years away from the first-century apostolic Church that I wonder how (and sometimes if) we actually worship Christ at all in churches.

It kills me to read the evidence stacked up of perpetual misinterpretations (at best) and upheld pagan traditions (at worst) we kept or re-iterated during and after the reformation. And those that reformed "back" merely went back to other pagan customs that had already infiltrated the Church by the 3rd century.

For me, it does little to recognize this event, let alone try to celebrate it.

Bob said...

What Pagan customs are you saying were embraced by the Reformers Tim?

Not to judge a book by it's authors but I find it rather odd that Barna would accuse the reformers of embracing Paganism in place of Biblical theology considering he seems to be a guru of everything current.

Tim said...


I don't know terribly much about Barna himself, but of his research he seems fairly unbiased. Not to minimize him either, but the book is really the work of Frank Viola. Barna's group republished it and I assume Barna added his authorship for added exposure.

I checked the book out of the library so I can't give you too many examples, but off the top of my head the pagan influences to Christianity that I recall are:

* official clergy made separate from "laity" - from the Roman government and court system and completely against Jesus reconciling man and God so there need be no other intercessor, see: tearing of the curtain into the Holy of Holies.
* the altar typically seen at the front of protestant churches - straight from the Roman court system magnifying objects and icons as sacred making this inaccessible to the body itself.
* the sermon - straight from the greek orator tradition of learning
* liturgy or order of service - from Greek order of god worship contrasting exactly from 1st-century open participatory gatherings of believers
* the order of the canon, specifically the order of the epistles, which is the Greek order of longest to shortest rather than chronological
* chapter and verse markings in the Bible - not antiquity pagan, but not scriptural either; merely man-made tradition which has destroyed the intended use of the Bible as a narrative, but turned it into a means for systemic theology.

The whole book is well documented, which is why it blew me away. I'd really recommend reading it. Traditions are nice, but we (churches) are so far away from the Way that we don't even realize how little scriptural basis there is for the services we blindly walk through every Sunday.

Now all that said, I am still going to church on Sundays (for now). But I am trying to follow Jesus per the Way and seeking a community that is willing to walk far more faithfully to the Way as scripture describes Act. Until that community starts being built, I'll continue to go to church for some community at all.

Oh, and I'm going to find out how to read the Bible chronologically so I can read the New Testament as the followers of the Way would have. It would be nice to actually read Paul as he was writing without trying to make Romans fit with Ephesians or Philippians with Timothy, etc.