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 Psalm 23

God gives to us so that we may share with others. Israel was given many privileges to share with others. It wasn't solely for their benefit. The Lord gave them the wilderness tabernacle which was a type of blueprint detailing His plan of redemption for mankind. Not just for the Hebrews. Though it was only a shadow of the true tabernacle in heaven (cf. Hebrews 9:23-24) still it had important significance for all of mankind.

For example, did you notice that Psalm 23 has been conveniently divided into 6 verses? Look at each verse and you will see a relationship to each of the six article of furniture in the tabernacle.

1 - Alter of Sacrifice: shepherd, sheep, called to take up our cross and follow
2 - Laver: leads us to still water, baptism
3 - Alter of Incense: He restores our soul and leads us in righteous paths, intercession and redemption
4 - 7 Branch Candlestick: living in this world of darkness we need light
5 - Table of Shewbread: a table (feast) prepared before us, the gospel, feeding on God's Word
6 - Ark of the Covenant: Goodness (law) and mercy (mercy seat) will follow me always and I will dwell in the house of the Lord (Holy of Holies), in God's presence (Shekinah Glory), forever. The interlinear Hebrew speaks of Goodness and covenant loyalty following us.

So Psalm 23 is a step-wise plan of salvation as depicted in the Hebrew tabernacle.

1. We take up our cross and follow Jesus
2. We are baptised
3. He intercedes for us / redeems us from sin / daily prayer
4. He gives us the light of truth / we are to be lights in this world / witnessing
5. He gives us our daily bread / daily feeding on God's Word
6. He mercifully leads us in paths of His righteousness (lawfulness rather than transgression because sin separates us from God) and we dwell in His presence henceforth.

It's God's Plan of Salvation, like a GPS. It guides us along our way. You can't really shortcut His plan. Someone who doesn't have the GPS can't give accurate directions to God's presence.

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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."