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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

"The Play" - Five lateral passes

The Play*

Down by one point and with just 4 seconds on the clock and no timeouts the kick is received. Just when it looked as if the runner would be tackled and the game would end the runner laterals the ball to another teammate and the down continues. The Stanford band is already on the field celebrating the victory. It was thought by all that Stanford had won the game. Yet, time and again the ball was lateraled just before it was downed. Five times the ball was lateraled. Six runners took possession of the ball in this fashion. The final runner, the 6th man, took the ball into the end zone, running over band members, to score the winning touchdown.

So too, the devil thought his strategy had worked. The church had fumbled the ball. It was loosing the game and time was running out. There were mere seconds left on the prophetic clock. Yet in those last moments of time in the controversy between good and evil, without any prophetic timeouts remaining, God placed the ball in the hands of His runners and led them toward the goal of end time victory.

    The first runner was the Lollards (John Wycliff) in the 1300's who translated the Bible into common language.

    In the 1400-1500's they lateraled the ball to the 2nd runner, the Lutherans (Martin Luther), who restored Justification by Faith in Christ's sacrifice moving the ball of truth further down the field and closer to the goal.

    In the 1500's they lateraled the ball to the 3rd runner, the Presbyterians (John Calvin), who gained a vast amount of ground in the area of personal prayer and devotion.

    In the 1600's the 4th runner, the Baptists (John Smythe), received the ball to move it even further restoring baptism by immersion and at an accountable age.

    In the 1700's the 5th runner, the Methodist (John Wesley), took possession and moved even closer to the goal line restoring personal accountability and witnessing.

    The next century would disclose the 6th and final runner and would mark the last and final steps to the goal of restoring all the truth which had been cast to the ground.

By now the audience is on their feet. The mood is tense. The enemy band is on the field already celebrating victory and stands between the last runner and the goal line. He must press his way forward thru the masses who oppose him towards the end time or lose the victory. He must endure at all costs. He must not fail. He will not fail for God is on His side.

*The Play refers to a last-second kickoff return during a college football game between the University of California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, November 20, 1982.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV