The Protestant Reformation and the Reformers: the Truth Restored

Reformatori
William Farel, John Calvin, Theodore Beza, and John Knox.
The Reformation Wall (Geneva, Switzerland) stretches for 100 m, depicting numerous Protestant figures from across Europe. 
Muro dos Reformadores

 

“Since the medieval period the Catholic Church was a powerful institution. In addition to controlling various aspects of people’s lives, the church still held a court that punished those it considered ‘heretic.’ In addition, some members of the Catholic Church Fraudulent trade in religious articles. They sold objects that were said to be pieces of the bones of the ass mounted by Jesus, pieces of a cloth said to be from the mantle of Mary, and priests and bishops sold indulgences, that is, forgiveness of sins.”
Prof. Dalton Jr.

Reforma e Reformadores

 

The Reformation (from Latin reformatio, literally ‘restoration, renewal’), also referred to as the Protestant Reformation and the European Reformation, was a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther, and continued by John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other early Protestant Reformers in 16th century Europe. Most experts on the subject consider the publication of the Ninety-Five Theses by Luther in 1517 as its starting point, while the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 (concluding the Thirty Years’ War) as its ending.

There had been significant earlier attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church before Luther – such as those of Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe and especially Jan Hus whose successors became the chief force in the Kingdom of Bohemia for several centuries.

Nevertheless, Martin Luther is widely acknowledged to have started the Reformation with his 1517 work The Ninety-Five Theses. Luther began by criticizing the sale of indulgences, insisting that the Pope had no authority over purgatory and that the Catholic doctrine of the merits of the saints had no foundation in the gospel. The Protestant position, however, would come to incorporate doctrinal changes such as sola scriptura and sola fide. The core motivation behind these changes was theological, though many other factors played a part, including the rise of nationalism, the Western Schism that eroded faith in the Papacy, the perceived corruption of the Roman Curia, the impact of humanism, and the new learning of the Renaissance that questioned much traditional thought.

The initial movement within Germany diversified, and other reform impulses arose independently of Luther. The spread of Gutenberg’s printing press provided the means for the rapid dissemination of religious materials in the vernacular. The largest groups were the Lutherans and Calvinists. Lutheran churches were founded mostly in Germany, the Baltics and Scandinavia, while Reformed ones were founded in Switzerland, Hungary, France, the Netherlands and Scotland. The new movement influenced the Church of England decisively after 1547 under Edward VI and Elizabeth I, although the Church of England had been made independent under Henry VIII in the early 1530s.

There were also reformation movements throughout continental Europe known as the Radical Reformation, which gave rise to the Anabaptist, Moravian and other Pietistic movements. Radical Reformers, besides forming communities outside state sanction, often employed more extreme doctrinal change, such as the rejection of the tenets of the late antique councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon.

The Roman Catholic Church responded with a Counter-Reformation initiated by the Council of Trent. Much work in battling Protestantism was done by the well-organised new order of the Jesuits. In general, Northern Europe, with the exception of most of Ireland, came under the influence of Protestantism. Southern Europe remained Roman Catholic, while Central Europe was a site of a fierce conflict, culminating in the Thirty Years’ War, which left it devastated.”

Reformation
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208 – Seven Seals / Total Onslaught – Walter Veith (1:02:00)

 

(continues in the comments … )

9 Replies to “The Protestant Reformation and the Reformers: the Truth Restored”

  1. William Miller (1782 – 1849)

    “Was an American Baptist preacher who is credited with beginning the mid-19th century North American religious movement known as the Millerites. After his prophecies of the Second Coming did not occur as expected in the 1840s, new heirs of his message emerged, including the Advent Christians (1860) and the Seventh-day Adventists (1863). Later movements found inspiration in Miller’s emphasis on Bible prophecy; the Bahá’í Faith holds that his predictions of 1844 events were accurate.
    (…)

    Miller and Freemasonry
    Miller was an active Freemason until 1831. Miller resigned his Masonic membership in 1831, stating that he did so to “avoid fellowship with any practice that may be incompatible with the word of God among masons”. By 1833 he wrote in a letter to his friends to treat Freemasonry “as they would any other evil”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Miller_(preacher)

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  2. John Wesley (1703 – 1791)

    “Was an Anglican cleric and theologian who, with his brother Charles and fellow cleric George Whitefield, founded Methodism.

    Educated at Charterhouse School and Christ Church, Oxford, Wesley was elected a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford in 1726 and ordained a priest two years later. He led the “Holy Club”, a society formed for the purpose of study and the pursuit of a devout Christian life; it had been founded by his brother Charles, and counted George Whitefield among its members. After an unsuccessful ministry of two years at Savannah in the Georgia Colony, Wesley returned to London and joined a religious society led by Moravian Christians. On 24 May 1738 he experienced what has come to be called his evangelical conversion, when he felt his “heart strangely warmed”. He subsequently departed from the Moravians, beginning his own ministry.

    A key step in the development of Wesley’s ministry was, like Whitefield, to travel and preach outdoors. In contrast to Whitefield’s Calvinism, Wesley embraced the Arminian doctrines that dominated the Church of England at the time. Moving across Great Britain and Ireland, he helped form and organise small Christian groups that developed intensive and personal accountability, discipleship and religious instruction. Most importantly, he appointed itinerant, unordained evangelists to travel and preach as he did and to care for these groups of people. Under Wesley’s direction, Methodists became leaders in many social issues of the day, including prison reform and the abolition of slavery.

    Although he was not a systematic theologian, Wesley argued for the notion of Christian perfection and against Calvinism—and, in particular, against its doctrine of predestination. He held that, in this life, Christians could achieve a state where the love of God “reigned supreme in their hearts”, giving them outward holiness. His evangelicalism, firmly grounded in sacramental theology, maintained that means of grace were the manner by which God sanctifies and transforms the believer, encouraging people to experience Jesus Christ personally.

    Throughout his life, Wesley remained within the established Church of England, insisting that the Methodist movement lay well within its tradition. In his early ministry, Wesley was barred from preaching in many parish churches and the Methodists were persecuted; he later became widely respected and, by the end of his life, had been described as “the best loved man in England”. In 2002, he was placed at number 50 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesley

    “Doctrine
    – Wesley taught that conversion to Jesus is proved by practice (testimony), not by the emotions of the moment.

    – Appreciation of the lay preachers who participated side by side with the clergy of the Mission of evangelization, assistance and training of other people.

    – It affirms that the center of the Christian life is in the personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who saves us, forgives us, transforms us and offers us the abundant life of communion with God.

    – It values ​​and recovers in its practice the emphasis on the action and doctrine of the Holy Spirit as vital power for the Church.

    – It recognizes the need to live the Gospel communally. John Wesley stated that ‘making the Gospel a solitary religion is actually destroying it.’

    – It is concerned with the total human being. It is not only with spiritual well-being, but also with physical, emotional, material well-being. That is why we must take care of our neighbor in its entirety, especially the needy and social marginalized.

    – We can say that spiritual well-being is the result of the peace of Christ that reaches all areas of the Christian’s life. It is the result of physical, emotional, economic, family, community well-being. Everything is in the hands of God, in Him we trust and He is faithful in taking care of us. His salvation reaches us wholly.

    – Emphasizes the passion for evangelization. We desire and must work with passion, perseverance and joy so that the love and mercy of God reach men and women everywhere and at all times.

    – It accepts the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, as stated in the Apostles’ Creed (We believe in the Bible, in God, in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, in the human being, in the forgiveness of sins, in the Love, security and Christian perfection, in the Church, in the Kingdom of God, in eternal life, in the second coming of Jesus, in the grace of God for all, in the possibility of the fall of divine grace, in intercessory prayer, in world missions. We deeply believe in love, the love of God in our lives, the love of our brethren.), emphasizing the balance between acts of piety (acts of devotion) and acts of mercy (the practice of love for others).
    (…)
    Currently, the total membership of the Methodist community in the world is estimated at about 75 million people. The largest group is concentrated in the United States: The United Methodist Church in this country is the second largest Protestant denomination.”
    (google translate)
    https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesley#Doutrina

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  3. Roger Williams (1603 – 1683)

    “Was a Puritan, an English Reformed theologian, and later a Reformed Baptist who was expelled by the Puritan leaders from the colony of Massachusetts because local officials thought that he was spreading ‘new and dangerous ideas’ to his congregants. Williams fled the Massachusetts colony under the threat of impending arrest and shipment to an English prison; he began the settlement of Providence Plantation in 1636 as a refuge offering freedom of conscience.

    Williams was the 1638 founder of the First Baptist Church in America, also known as the First Baptist Church of Providence.

    Williams was also a student of Native American languages, an early advocate for fair dealings with American Indians, and one of the first abolitionists in North America, having organized the first attempt to prohibit slavery in any of the British American colonies. He is best remembered as the originator of the principle of separation of church and state.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Williams

    “Doctrine
    – Belief in Baptism by immersion – just as the Anabaptists believe that baptism is an ordinance for adult people that must be respected unless the individual has no opportunity to be baptized. The difference with the Anabaptists is that Baptists practice baptism by immersion.

    – Celebration of the ordinances of baptism and also of the memorial (non-sacramental) supper, repeating the gesture of Christ and the apostles (‘do this in remembrance of me’) sharing bread and wine among all members of the Congregation.

    – Ordinance distinct from sacrament for Baptists, ordinance is different from sacrament: it must be obeyed, but it is only a symbolic act and not obligatory for salvation.

    – Separation between Church and State – even before the Enlightenment, there was already the awareness of the separation between Church and State among Baptists.

    – Freedom of Consciousness of the Individual – the believer must choose by his own conscience to serve God, and not by state pressure or Established Church.

    – Autonomy of local Churches – how Baptists originated from Congregationalism, emphasize the total autonomy of local communities, which can be grouped into conventions, associations or unions of Churches. The exception is the Reformed Baptists, who originated from Presbyterianism and Episcopalian Baptists, who emerged from Anglican missions in Zaire.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptists

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  4. John Calvin (1509 – 1564)

    “French theologian, pastor and reformer during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism, aspects of which include the doctrines of predestination and of the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation of the human soul from death and eternal damnation, in which doctrines Calvin was influenced by and elaborated upon the Augustinian and other early Christian traditions. Various Congregational, Reformed, and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin as the chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Calvin

    “Freedom of conscience. In fact, the entire US Constitution is based on what Calvin wrote. And only man should be responsible against of God for what he decides. This is the basis of the American Constitution. That is Calvinism.” 208 – Seven Seals / Total Onslaught – Walter Veith (video 1:05:26)

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  5. Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)

    Martin Luther and his wife Margarethe

    “Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the Catholic view on indulgences as he understood it to be, that freedom from God’s punishment for sin could be purchased with money. Luther proposed an academic discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his Ninety-five Theses of 1517. His refusal to renounce all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the Pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Emperor.

    Luther taught that salvation and, subsequently, eternal life are not earned by good deeds but are received only as the free gift of God’s grace through the believer’s faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority and office of the Pope by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge from God and opposed sacerdotalism by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood. Those who identify with these, and all of Luther’s wider teachings, are called Lutherans, though Luther insisted on Christian or Evangelical as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ.

    His translation of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible to the laity, an event that had a tremendous impact on both the church and German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the writing of an English translation, the Tyndale Bible. His hymns influenced the development of singing in Protestant churches. His marriage to Katharina von Bora, a former nun, set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant clergy to marry.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther

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  6. Jan Hus (1369 – 1415)

    “Excommunication on 20 December 1409, Alexander V issued a papal bull that empowered the Archbishop to proceed against Wycliffism in Prague. All copies of Wycliffe’s writings were to be surrendered and his doctrines repudiated, and free preaching discontinued. After the publication of the bull in 1410, Hus appealed to Alexander V, but in vain. The Wycliffe books and valuable manuscripts were burned, and Hus and his adherents were excommunicated by Alexander V.
    (…)
    Hus spoke out against indulgences, but he could not carry with him the men of the university. In 1412, a dispute took place, on which occasion Hus delivered his address Quaestio magistri Johannis Hus de indulgentiis. It was taken literally from the last chapter of Wycliffe’s book, De ecclesia, and his treatise, De absolutione a pena et culpa. Hus asserted that no Pope or bishop had the right to take up the sword in the name of the Church; he should pray for his enemies and bless those that curse him; man obtains forgiveness of sins by true repentance, not money. The doctors of the theological faculty replied, but without success. A few days afterward, some of Hus’s followers, led by Vok Voksa z Valdštejna, burnt the Papal bulls. Hus, they said, should be obeyed rather than the Church, which they considered a fraudulent mob of adulterers and Simonists.

    In response, three men from the lower classes who openly called the indulgences a fraud were beheaded. They were later considered the first martyrs of the Hussite Church.
    (…)
    Before Hus left Prague, he decided to take a step which gave a new dimension to his endeavors. He no longer put his trust in an indecisive King, a hostile Pope or an ineffective Council. On 18 October 1412 he appealed to Jesus Christ as the supreme judge. By appealing directly to the highest Christian authority, Christ himself, he bypassed the laws and structures of the medieval Church.[13] For the Bohemian Reformation, this step was as significant as the 95 theses nailed to the door of the Wittenberg church by Martin Luther in 1517.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Hus

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  7. John Wycliffe (1328 – 1384)

    Wycliffe attacked the privileged status of the clergy, which was central to their powerful role in England. He then attacked the luxury and pomp of local parishes and their ceremonies.

    Wycliffe was also an advocate for translation of the Bible into the vernacular. He completed a translation directly from the Vulgate into Middle English in the year 1382, now known as Wycliffe’s Bible.
    (…)
    Wycliffe’s followers were known as Lollards and followed his lead in advocating Predestination, Iconoclasm, and the notion of Caesaropapism, while attacking the veneration of Saints, the Sacraments, Requiem Masses, Transubstantiation, monasticism, and the very existence of the Papacy.

    Beginning in the 16th century, the Lollard movement was regarded as the precursor to the Protestant Reformation. Wycliffe was accordingly characterised as the evening star of scholasticism and the Morning Star of the English Reformation.[3] Wycliffe’s writings in Latin greatly influenced the philosophy and teaching of Czech reformer Jan Hus, whose execution in 1415 sparked a revolt and led to the Hussite Wars.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wycliffe

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  8. Peter Waldo (1140 – 1205)

    “The Waldensian movement was characterized from the beginning by lay preaching, voluntary poverty, and strict adherence to the Bible. Between 1175-1185 Waldo either commissioned a cleric from Lyons to translate the New Testament into the vernacular, the Arpitan (Franco-Provençal) language, or was himself involved in this translation work. Regardless of the source of translation, he is credited with providing to Europe the first translation of the Bible in a ‘modern tongue’ outside of Latin.
    (…)
    At about this time, Waldo began to preach and teach publicly, based on his ideas of simplicity and poverty, notably that “No man can serve two masters, God and Mammon.” he condemned Papal excesses and Catholic dogmas, including purgatory and transubstantiation. He said that these dogmas were “the harlot” from the book of Revelation.
    (…)
    The Roman Catholic Church began to persecute the Waldensians, and 80 were tried and sentenced to death in France. Following this, the Waldensians became critical of Catholic belief. They eventually merged with various Protestant churches that were forming in the late 16th century.[8] Centuries after Waldo’s death, this Christian movement connected with the Genevan or Reformed branch of the Protestant Reformation.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Waldo

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