Skip to comments.The 490th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation
Posted on 10/30/2007 12:47:36 PM PDT by Gamecock
Hello and welcome to another broadcast of the White Horse Inn, and this isn't just any broadcast this is Reformation Sunday, the 490th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. In previous programs of this series we've walked through the history of the heresy known as Pelagianism, so we won't belabor the point a lot. Named after the fifth century British monk, Pelagius who locked horns with Church Father Augustine over salvation, Pelagianism denied original sin, that is that we're born into this world dead in trespasses and sins, and so Adam affects us only as a bad example and Christ affects us as a good example. If we just use our free-will properly we can follow Christ's example and attain eternal life. This is a heresy that has crept up again and again in church history. Already laurelled in his native land and university Thomas Bradwardine expressed what he described as a "conversion." "Early in his studies" he writes, "The school of Pelagius seemed to be the nearest the truth, what I heard day in and day out is that we are masters of our own free acts, that ours is the choice to act well or badly, to have virtues or vices, and much more along this line." Every time I listen to the Epistle reading in church and how Paul magnified grace and belittled free-will as is the case in Romans 9, it is obviously not a question of human willing or effort, but of divine mercy and its many parallels, grace displeased me ungrateful as I was. " And then he goes on to say that when he began to study this ninth chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans, "The text mentioned came to me as a beam of grace and captured by a vision of this truth it seemed I saw from afar how the grace of God precedes all works. That is why I express my gratitude now to him who has given me this grace as a free gift."
As a result of this shift, Bradwardine wrote a provocative little book, the Case of God against the New Pelagians. His jeremiad against what he regarded as the creeping moralism of his day, wasn't written recently however, nor was it written by a cranky paleo-Calvinist as many today would put it, it was an Oxford don in the 14th century and Bradwardine was Archbishop of Canterbury when he wrote it. Other Medieval churchman fought valiantly against the spread of Pelagianism, including the head of a monastery in Germany Johanne von Staupiz who had a very important impact on one of his monks, Martin Luther. Less than two centuries after archbishop Bradwardine, Martin Luther and John Calvin could not help but see their battle in similar terms of Jesus versus the Pharisees, Paul versus the Judiazing party, and Augustine versus Pelagius. At the same time as the Reformers themselves recognized the Pelagianism of their day was more the practical, working theology although it remained officially condemned. Today, most Evangelicals would probably not sign off on Pelagianism if they saw it written down on paper, and yet it seems to be the assumed working theology of our day.
Benjamin Franklin's line, "God helps those who help themselves" receives an approving nod from a majority of Evangelicals, in fact a majority of the Evangelicals said in a recent survey that it was a quotation from the Bible. This is where we are today, Evangelicals are known for their interest in the Gospel. The very name itself comes from the Greek word for "gospel." Getting that gospel right and getting it out has been the hallmark of any genuinely Evangelical Christianity. But the movement in America that goes by the name "Evangelicalism" is much more diverse, and this is the situation in which we find ourselves today. The diversity that has led to the point where in many instances it seems the light from the Reformation seems to be burning very dimly. In his visit to the United States, Dietrich Bonheoffer, described American religion as Protestantism without the Reformation. As Bonheoffer elaborates, "God has granted American Christianity no Reformation. He has given it strong Revivalist preachers, churchman, and theologians, but no Reformation of the church of Jesus Christ by the word of God. In American theology Christianity is still essentially religion and ethics. Because of this, the person and work of Christ, must for theology sink into the background and in the long-run be misunderstood because it is not recognized as the sole ground of radical judgment and radical forgiveness."
And so this is a very good time for us to remember the 490th Anniversary of the Reformation. Not in order to celebrate the work of individuals, but for us to thank God for that great work and the body of writing concerning the Scriptures that is still available to us today, in the hope that we will be liberated from our American counter-reformation and have a new Reformation by God's Word in our day.
Reformation Day (-1) Ping
Waiting for the Romanists to show up in 1...2...
Hey, we’re only returning the favor. ;-)
Most have been behaving themselves in the previous threads about our celebration.
Being neither a Romanist or Prod, I find most of the threads to be entertaining, especially when folks start speaking Latin, or take up large amounts of bandwith quoting scripture.
With certain notable exceptions.
Oops, I mean..."three!"
:::”God has granted American Christianity no Reformation. He has given it strong Revivalist preachers, churchman, and theologians, but no Reformation of the church of Jesus Christ by the word of God.:::
Does the American Restoration Movement not count?
Praise the Lord, FRiend!
Question: who else commemorates Reformation Sunday in church besides Lutherans? Is this at all widespread?
Don’t forget the Romish and the Papists, too.
490 years old. I’d have to say by the extensive number of Protestant denominations that have developed that it’s been a fairly successful effort. We’re 2000 years old and we’ve only got 22 different (cultural) entities. I guess that, by the numbers, you guys have won.
Not if you know anything about the Restoration Movement.
You forgot to cite the source: Saint Dietrich Bonhoeffer
For starters the Presbyterians and Continental Reformed churches.
Lots of people think quotes are from the Bible that are not from the Bible. How about "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," or this one, always uttered sanctimoniously: "God will not give you more than you can bear." Linguistic analysts could have a field day with that second one.
I’m pretty sure those verses are found in the book of Hezekiah. ;-)
Actually, I picked it out of the article above.
I wasn’t aware that he was made a saint. My understanding is that he was Lutheran.
Sanctimony is such an ugly word.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
- I Corinthians 10:13
I know some of it. Enough to know that it does matter to some fervent Christians and to some others that call themselves Christian. The Restorationists considered the Reformation as a good start that never finished.
Of course, the Reformation opened the door for all those who would follow their own interpretation of the Gospels, so in a way, it was successful.
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