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

Let's step back and summarize where we are in time

In earlier post we saw how Israel, Christ, and the early church, all followed a sequence of events which corresponded to the layout of the articles of furniture in the sanctuary. Then we learned how in the Dark Ages each article of furniture was "cast to the ground." Instead of our eyes being directed heavenward to behold Jesus as our High Priest mediating for us daily in the Heavenly Sanctuary, our attention was captivated by earthly substitutes. Thus, the significance of the Heavenly Sanctuary was cast down to the earth. And we listed how the symbolic significance of each article of furniture in the Sanctuary was replaced by an earthly service. Then we began to cover each century of the Protestant Reformation beginning in the 1300's and moving forward in time showing how God used various movements to effectively restore the rightful place and significance of the articles of furniture in the Sanctuary. God was drawing our sight heavenward to behold Jesus in the Heavenly Sanctuary mediating on our behalf in Heaven before His Father's throne.

The casting down and restoration through the centuries


    The Bible, represented by the Table of Shewbread, had been replaced by church tradition. But in the 1300's God brought forth John Wycliff and the Lollards to translate the Bible for the people effectively restoring the Table of Shewbread.


    The truth that only by the merits of Christ can we be accepted into God's presence had been replaced with the teaching of penance--as if Christ's blood was not enough. By the late 1400's and early 1500's Martin Luther and the Lutherans began teaching Justification by Faith effectively restoring the all-sufficient, once-only sacrifice of Christ symbolized by the Alter of Sacrifice


    One method used to control the masses was to keep them ignorant and beholding to the priests. This was strengthened by the teaching that a person cannot petition for himself with God but must depend upon the priest to intercede for him. In the 1500’s John Calvin and the Presbyterians began teaching that a man can pray directly to God without the intercession of a priest effectively restoring Christ's intercession mingled with our prayers represented by the Alter of Incense


    Due to certain belief systems it soon became necessary to baptize infants at birth to keep their souls out of hell should they die before reaching the age of accountability. In the 1600’s John Smythe, Roger Williams and the Baptists began teaching baptism by profession, not as infants, and as full immersion, rather than sprinkling, effectively restoring the Laver


    The church was to be a light on a hill but the masses were kept ignorant regarding the truths that would have set them free and as such could not give witness of their faith. In the 1700’s John Wesley and the Methodists began training lay people to preach and sent them out to evangelize effectively restoring the significance of the Candlestick

Now we have one article of furniture left and, well, the next century. What movement would God raise up next to carry forward the restoration of the Sanctuary. Time is running out for our 2300 year prophecy and the angel had stated that the Sanctuary would be restored unto 2,300 days (prophetic years). We will find in our next article the answer to these and other questions.

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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."