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

In the Wilderness / Casting down of the Sanctuary (updated)

We've already seen how Israel's Exodus experience, the life of Jesus, and the early church, were all patterned after the arrangement of the articles of furniture in the Sanctuary. (See earlier posts). Each article of furniture symbolized steps along the pathway.

The Exodus  ==>
Life of Christ ==>
Early Church ==>

Realize, of course, that each spent time in the wilderness. Israel wondered 40 years. Jesus was tempted 40 days. And the church was in the wilderness for 1260 days (1260 prophetic years). It was during this 1260 years, now referred to as the Dark Ages, that the church went through its wilderness. It was indeed a dark period for the church as God's plan of salvation was tampered with, giving faulty directions to the throne of God. Each article of furniture, and the truth it represented was altered. This is presented in Daniel 8:10-12. Below is a brief summary of how each article of furniture was cast down to the earth. The functions that were happening in heaven by Jesus our High Priest (see Hebrews 8-10) were cast to the earth by the church.

We'll look at verses 13 and 14 later when we address the restoration of the temple (Sanctuary) to its rightful place. But first, let's look at each article of furniture in the sanctuary and see how each was cast to the ground.

    Alter of Sacrifice --+- Symbolizing the Sacrifice of Christ ---------------------+- Replaced by Penance
    The Laver -----------+- Symbolizing baptism -------------------------------------+- Replaced by Infant sprinkling
    Table of Shewbread --+- Symbolizing the Word of God -----------------------------+- Replaced by church tradition
    Candlestick ---------+- Symbolizing the Light of Witnessing ---------------------+- Replaced by darkness/ignorance (Dark Ages)
    Alter of Incense ----+- Symbolizing the prayers of saint and Christ's mediation -+- Replaced by Confessional booth
    Ark of the Covenant -+- Symbolizing God's Commandments (Sabbath sacredness) -----+- Replaced by church oblation (Sunday sacredness)

In verses 13 and 14 of Daniel 8 the question is asked, "How long will this casting down last?" And the reply is 2300 days. Of course, these are prophetic times so in reality it refers to 2300 years. So the answer comes that unto 2300 years then the sanctuary will be restored. The King James uses the word "cleansed" but other translators chose the word "restored." Since the place of the sanctuary was cast down to the earth I like the word restored better, as in restored to its rightful place.

So here's where it gets exciting. Next we will see how God used the Protestant Reformation to restore to its rightful place each article of the Sanctuary thus restoring His original plan of salvation for mankind.

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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."