Validating the Protestant Reformation: Was God in it?

JeffLogan's picture

Being that this is a Protestant forum I thought it beneficial to cite some reasons for the existence of the Protestant Faith by reviewing the basis for its emergence upon the religious world in an environment hostile to new ideas. And, most of all, to demonstrate by facts that God was definitely at work moving it forward and sustaining it.

I want to establish a basis by quoting an excerpt from THE NEW SCHAFF-HERZOG ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE, page 419.

    II. Principles of the Reformation:

    1. Its Basis.

    The movement started with the practical question, How can the troubled conscience find pardon and peace, and become sure of personal salvation? It retained from the Roman Catholic system all the objective doctrines of Christianity concerning the Trinity and the divine human character and work of Christ, in fact, all the articles of faith contained in the Apostles' and other ecumenical creeds of the early church. But it joined issue with the prevailing soteriology, that is, the application of the doctrines relating to Christianity, especially the justification of the sinner before God, the character of faith, good works, the rights of conscience, the rule of faith, and the meaning and number of the sacraments. It brought the believer into direct relation and union with Christ as the one and all-sufficient source of salvation, and set aside the doctrines of sacerdotal and saintly mediation and intercession. The Protestant goes directly to the Word of God for instruction, and to the throne of grace in his devotions; while the pious Roman Catholic consults the teaching of his church, and prefers to offer his prayers through the medium of the Virgin Mary and the saints.

    2. Three Principles of Protestantism.

    From this general principle of Evangelical freedom, and direct individual relationship of the believer to Christ, proceed the three fundamental doctrines of Protestantism-the absolute supremacy of (1) the Word and of (2) Principles the grace of Christ, and (3) the general priesthood of believers.


Recall from scripture that when God instructed Moses to build the wilderness tabernacle He said to him, “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” Hebrews 8:5. The pattern shown to Moses was that of heaven’s sanctuary and, along with the feasts, was a shadow of the true. (cf. Hebrews 9:23,24). The Psalmist said, "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary." Psalm 77:13. It was God's purpose that the Sanctuary model be a lesson book to the Hebrews to help them understand His plan of salvation. The typical things were to teach them concerning the anti-typical. The shadows to help them comprehend the reality. Therefore, I will be using the Sanctuary model to demonstrate how God used the Protestant Reformation to bring to the forefront His model, His Sanctuary model, to bring light upon His plan of salvation which had been lost sight of over the centuries.

Please note that this topic is not listed under the "Interdenominational Discussions Room" with the intent that the focus will be on the merits of the Reformation rather than contrasting conflicting viewpoints.

JeffLogan's picture

God's Way In the Sanctuary (updated)

As you ponder the contents of this post I want you to keep in mind that God gave this sanctuary model to the Israelites to be a hands-on instruction manual to help them understand God's plan of salvation. Each article in the sanctuary, each office, each function, each festival, was but an earthly shadow of an heavenly reality. In Hebrews we are told of a heavenly sanctuary where Jesus presides as our High Priest mediating on our behalf on a daily basis. His blood He shed once but every day He applies its redemptive properties on behalf of His earthly children.

The order given here is the order in which each article of furniture was encountered. Only the priests went into the first compartment which they did daily. But only the High Priest was allowed to enter into the second compartment, the Most Holy, and that but once a year. And, he did so with blood to offer for himself and for the people.

Alter Of Sacrifice / Crucifixion

    Step 1: we must accept Christ's sacrifice (romans 10:9)
    Symbolized Christ sacrifice at the cross (john 3:16)
    Justification by faith in Christ's atoning sacrifice

Laver / Baptism

    Step 2: we must be baptized (john 3:3-5)
    Symbolizes baptism and new birth (john 3:3-5)
    Cleansing / purifying by water and spirit

Table Of Shewbread / Word Of God

    Step 3: we must eat the word daily (Mt. 4:4)
    Represented the word of God (Matthew 4:4)
    Live by every word from mouth of God

Candlestick / Witnessing

    Step 4: we must let our light shine (Mt. 5:16)
    Represented the light of holiness (Matthew 5:14-16)
    Let our light so shine among men

Alter Of Incense / Prayers

    Step 5: we must pray believing (Luke 18:1)
    Represented prayer and intercession (revelation 8:1-3)
    Trust Jesus to intercede in our behalf in Heaven

Ark Of The Covenant / Law And Mercy

    Step 6: we must keep his commandments (John 14:15)
    Represented God’s throne and his law (Hebrews 9:4)
    Rest / peace with God by obedience to God

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“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."