“TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.”

Paulo

 

22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

33 So Paul departed from among them.

34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. Acts 17:23-34

“The Crime of All Ages”

“There is a system on this earth that claims that it is above God, which is higher than God, and has authority in his life more than the authority of God, and that very soon this test will come to a point; when this authority will be tested and its allegiance will be in question. And then you will be asked to choose one or the other; if you choose one, you will choose the beast, you will get your mark, but if you choose the other, then you will get the mark or the seal of God, and you will be sealed to God.

Obedience is not only in the day; because the Sabbath represents, how much of the Law? All Law; because the authority of the Law is based on the Seal. So the Sabbath is merely an authentication of the whole Law.

We must develop a character similar to that of Christ, we must allow the Law to transform us, we need a relationship with the LORD.
Simply by keeping the Law, no one will be saved, but if we have a relationship with God we can be saved, and we will be saved, but we need to have a right relationship with God, then we will also keep His Law.”

217 – The Crime of All Ages / Total Onslaught – Walter Veith

3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Matthew 15:3

8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:8,9

13If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

14Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. Isaiah 58:13,14

“with judgment and with justice”

SENHOR Jesus Ressuscitado

The LORD expects of us, Judgment and Justice, the judgment in the minds and justice in our actions.

The Law represents the Light of God’s reason for the mind so that people obtain judgment and practice justice.

And people struggle with their own reasons and desires, doubts and false certainties to support their beliefs taken as truth; in a world enslaved by the shadow of idolatries, false gods, and human greed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3:24,25

The Holy Spirit is not a hostage to darkness, idolatry, doubts, and human reason.

Human, worldly reason is scandalized with Christ because when the “I” accepts Christ, and is baptized by immersion in water, assumes that Christ died to reconcile his soul with the Spirit of the Creator; this is called Conversion, and means, in symbol, by Faith, that by the Sacrifice of Christ, the “I” dies, and the soul is reconciled to God; this is called Salvation, if we are faithful to the end.

This is the New Testament, the New Covenant of God with men, after the First Covenant with the Law given by God to Moses.

God offered His own Son, the LORD Jesus, to reconcile the souls/spirits of the people with the Spirit of the Father.

3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Romans 6:3

3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3

19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.” Galatians 2:19

9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9

4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Galatians 5:4

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” Galatians 5:18

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” Romans 7:4

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

 “8 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 3:8

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:28,29

23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:23

18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:18

1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.” Isaiah 56:1

6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6,7

Reformers – John Wesley (1703 – 1791)


Portrait by George Romney (1789),
National Portrait Gallery, London

John Wesley (…) was an English 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 as an Anglican 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 left 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.
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Wesley’s “Aldersgate experience”
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Wesley recounted his Aldersgate experience in his journal: “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

A few weeks later, Wesley preached a sermon on the doctrine of personal salvation by faith, which was followed by another, on God’s grace “free in all, and free for all.” Daniel L. Burnett writes: “The significance of Wesley’s Aldersgate Experience is monumental. It is the pivotal point in his life and the Methodist movement. Without it the names of Wesley and Methodism would likely be nothing more than obscure footnotes in the pages of church history.”

Burnett calls this event Wesley’s “Evangelical Conversion”. It is commemorated in Methodist churches as Aldersgate Day.

After Aldersgate: Working with the Moravians

When forbidden from preaching from the pulpits of parish churches, Wesley began open-air preaching.
Wesley allied himself with the Moravian society in Fetter Lane. In 1738 he went to Herrnhut, the Moravian headquarters in Germany, to study. On his return to England, Wesley drew up rules for the “bands” into which the Fetter Lane Society was divided and published a collection of hymns for them. He met frequently with this and other religious societies in London but did not preach often in 1738, because most of the parish churches were closed to him.

Wesley’s Oxford friend, the evangelist George Whitefield, was also excluded from the churches of Bristol upon his return from America. Going to the neighbouring village of Kingswood, in February 1739, Whitefield preached in the open air to a company of miners. Later he preached in Whitefield’s Tabernacle. Wesley hesitated to accept Whitefield’s call to copy this bold step. Overcoming his scruples, he preached the first time at Whitefield’s invitation sermon in the open air, near Bristol, in April 1739. Wesley wrote,

I could scarce reconcile myself to this strange way of preaching in the fields, of which he [Whitefield] set me an example on Sunday; having been all my life till very lately so tenacious of every point relating to decency and order, that I should have thought the saving of souls almost a sin if it had not been done in a church.

Wesley was unhappy about the idea of field preaching as he believed Anglican liturgy had much to offer in its practice. Earlier in his life he would have thought that such a method of saving souls was “almost a sin.” He recognised the open-air services were successful in reaching men and women who would not enter most churches. From then on he took the opportunities to preach wherever an assembly could be brought together, more than once using his father’s tombstone at Epworth as a pulpit. Wesley continued for fifty years—entering churches when he was invited, and taking his stand in the fields, in halls, cottages, and chapels, when the churches would not receive him.

Late in 1739 Wesley broke with the Moravians in London. Wesley had helped them organise the Fetter Lane Society, and those converted by his preaching and that of his brother and Whitefield had become members of their bands. But he believed they fell into heresy by supporting quietism, so he decided to form his own followers into a separate society. “Thus,” he wrote, “without any previous plan, began the Methodist Society in England.” He soon formed similar societies in Bristol and Kingswood, and Wesley and his friends made converts wherever they went.

Persecutions and lay preaching

From 1739 onward, Wesley and the Methodists were persecuted by clergy and magistrates for various reasons. Though Wesley had been ordained an Anglican priest, many other Methodist leaders had not received ordination. And for his own part, Wesley flouted many regulations of the Church of England concerning parish boundaries and who had authority to preach. This was seen as a social threat that disregarded institutions. Clergy attacked them in sermons and in print, and at times mobs attacked them. Wesley and his followers continued to work among the neglected and needy. They were denounced as promulgators of strange doctrines, fomenters of religious disturbances; as blind fanatics, leading people astray, claiming miraculous gifts, attacking the clergy of the Church of England, and trying to re-establish Catholicism.

Wesley felt that the church failed to call sinners to repentance, that many of the clergy were corrupt, and that people were perishing in their sins. He believed he was commissioned by God to bring about revival in the church, and no opposition, persecution, or obstacles could prevail against the divine urgency and authority of this commission. The prejudices of his high-church training, his strict notions of the methods and proprieties of public worship, his views of the apostolic succession and the prerogatives of the priest, even his most cherished convictions, were not allowed to stand in the way.

Seeing that he and the few clergy co-operating with him could not do the work that needed to be done, Wesley was led, as early as 1739, to approve local preachers. He evaluated and approved men who were not ordained by the Anglican Church to preach and do pastoral work. This expansion of lay preachers was one of the keys of the growth of Methodism.

Chapels and organisations

As his societies needed houses to worship in, Wesley began to provide chapels, first in Bristol at the New Room, then in London (first The Foundery and then Wesley’s Chapel) and elsewhere.

(…) in 1743 he drew up a set of “General Rules” for the “United Societies”. These were the nucleus of the Methodist Discipline, still the basis.

Wesley laid the foundations of what now constitutes the organisation of the Methodist Church.
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As the number of preachers and preaching-places increased, doctrinal and administrative matters needed to be discussed; so John and Charles Wesley, along with four other clergy and four lay preachers, met for consultation in London in 1744. This was the first Methodist conference; subsequently, the conference (with Wesley as its president) became the ruling body of the Methodist movement.
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Ordination of ministers

As the societies multiplied, they adopted the elements of an ecclesiastical system. The divide between Wesley and the Church of England widened. The question of division from the Church of England was urged by some of his preachers and societies, but most strenuously opposed by his brother Charles. Wesley refused to leave the Church of England, believing that Anglicanism was “with all her blemishes, […] nearer the Scriptural plans than any other in Europe”.
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In 1784, he believed he could not longer wait for the Bishop of London to ordain someone for the American Methodists, who were without the sacraments after the American War of Independence. The Church of England had been disestablished in the United States, where it had been the state church in most of the southern colonies. The Church of England had not yet appointed a United States bishop to what would become the Protestant Episcopal Church in America.
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Although Wesley rejoiced that the Methodists in America were free, he advised his English followers to remain in the established church and he himself died within it.

Doctrines, theology and advocacy

The 20th-century Wesley scholar Albert Outler argued in his introduction to the 1964 collection John Wesley that Wesley developed his theology by using a method that Outler termed the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. In this method, Wesley believed that the living core of Christianity was revealed in Scripture; and the Bible was the sole foundational source of theological development. The centrality of Scripture was so important for Wesley that he called himself “a man of one book”—meaning the Bible—although he was well-read for his day. However, he believed that doctrine had to be in keeping with Christian orthodox tradition. So, tradition was considered the second aspect of the Quadrilateral.

Wesley contended that a part of the theological method would involve experiential faith. In other words, truth would be vivified in personal experience of Christians (overall, not individually), if it were really truth. And every doctrine must be able to be defended rationally. He did not divorce faith from reason. Tradition, experience and reason, however, were subject always to Scripture, Wesley argued, because only there is the Word of God revealed “so far as it is necessary for our salvation.”

The doctrines which Wesley emphasised in his sermons and writings are Prevenient Grace, present personal salvation by faith, the witness of the Spirit, and sanctification. Prevenient grace was the theological underpinning of his belief that all persons were capable of being saved by faith in Christ. Unlike the Calvinists of his day, Wesley did not believe in predestination, that is, that some persons had been elected by God for salvation and others for damnation. He understood that Christian orthodoxy insisted that salvation was only possible by the sovereign grace of God. He expressed his understanding of humanity’s relationship to God as utter dependence upon God’s grace. God was at work to enable all people to be capable of coming to faith by empowering humans to have actual existential freedom of response to God.

Wesley defined the witness of the Spirit as: “an inward impression on the soul of believers, whereby the Spirit of God directly testifies to their spirit that they are the children of God.” He based this doctrine upon certain Biblical passages (see Romans 8:15–16 as an example). This doctrine was closely related to his belief that salvation had to be “personal.” In his view, a person must ultimately believe the Good News for himself or herself; no one could be in relation to God for another.

Sanctification he described in 1790 as the “grand depositum which God has lodged with the people called ‘Methodists’.” Wesley taught that sanctification was obtainable after justification by faith, between justification and death. He did not contend for “sinless perfection”; rather, he contended that a Christian could be made “perfect in love”. (Wesley studied Eastern Orthodoxy and particularly the doctrine of Theosis). This love would mean, first of all, that a believer’s motives, rather than being self-centred, would be guided by the deep desire to please God. One would be able to keep from committing what Wesley called, “sin rightly so-called.” By this he meant a conscious or intentional breach of God’s will or laws. A person could still be able to sin, but intentional or wilful sin could be avoided.

Secondly, to be made perfect in love meant, for Wesley, that a Christian could live with a primary guiding regard for others and their welfare. He based this on Christ’s quote that the second great command is “to love your neighbour as you love yourself.” In his view, this orientation would cause a person to avoid any number of sins against his neighbour. This love, plus the love for God that could be the central focus of a person’s faith, would be what Wesley referred to as “a fulfilment of the law of Christ.”
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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.

. He 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 asserted that “to make the Gospel a religion alone is to destroy it”.

. He cares about 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 God’s hands, we trust in Him and He is faithful in taking care of us. His salvation reaches us wholly.

. Emphasizes the passion for evangelization. We desire and should work with passion, perseverance and joy so that God’s love and mercy 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 victory through disciplined life, in the centralization of love , in Christian safety and 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. (the love of God), emphasizing the balance between acts of piety (acts of devotion) and acts of mercy (the practice of love for others).

https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesley#Doutrina
(Google translate)

Support for abolitionism

Later in his ministry, Wesley was a keen abolitionist, speaking out and writing against the slave trade. He published a pamphlet on slavery, titled Thoughts Upon Slavery, in 1774. To quote from one of his tracts against the slave trade: “Liberty is the right of every human creature, as soon as he breathes the vital air; and no human law can deprive him of that right which he derives from the law of nature”. Wesley influenced George Whitefield to journey to the colonies, spurring the transatlantic debate on slavery. Wesley was a friend of John Newton and William Wilberforce, who were also influential in the abolition of slavery in Britain.

Personality and activities

Wesley travelled widely, generally on horseback, preaching two or three times each day. Stephen Tomkins writes that he “rode 250,000 miles, gave away 30,000 pounds, … and preached more than 40,000 sermons… ” He formed societies, opened chapels, examined and commissioned preachers, administered aid charities, prescribed for the sick, helped to pioneer the use of electric shock for the treatment of illness, superintended schools and orphanages and published his sermons.

Wesley practised a vegetarian diet and in later life abstained from wine for health reasons. Wesley warned against the dangers of alcohol abuse in his famous sermon, The Use of Money, and in his letter to an alcoholic.
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Though Wesley favoured celibacy than marital bond, he married very unhappily at the age of 48 to a widow, Mary Vazeille, described as “a well-to-do widow and mother of four children.” The couple had no children. Vazeille left him 15 years later. John Singleton writes: “By 1758 she had left him – unable to cope, it is said, with the competition for his time and devotion presented by the ever-burgeoning Methodist movement. (…)

Death

Wesley on his deathbed: “The best of all is, God is with us”. Mezzotint by John Sartain.

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Wesley died on 2 March 1791, at the age of 87. As he lay dying, his friends gathered around him, Wesley grasped their hands and said repeatedly, “Farewell, farewell.” At the end, he said, “The best of all is, God is with us”, lifted his arms and raised his feeble voice again, repeating the words, “The best of all is, God is with us.” He was entombed at his chapel on City Road, London.

Because of his charitable nature he died poor, leaving as the result of his life’s work 135,000 members and 541 itinerant preachers under the name “Methodist”. It has been said that “when John Wesley was carried to his grave, he left behind him a good library of books, a well-worn clergyman’s gown” and the Methodist Church.

Literary work

Wesley wrote, edited or abridged some 400 publications. As well as theology he wrote about music, marriage, medicine, abolitionism and politics. Wesley was a logical thinker and expressed himself clearly, concisely and forcefully in writing. His written sermons are characterised by spiritual earnestness and simplicity. They are doctrinal but not dogmatic. His Forty-Four Sermons and the Notes on the New Testament (1755) are Methodist doctrinal standards. Wesley was a fluent, powerful and effective preacher; he usually preached spontaneously and briefly, though occasionally at great length.
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Wesley adapted the Book of Common Prayer for use by American Methodists. In his Watch Night service, he made use of a pietist prayer now generally known as the Wesley Covenant Prayer, perhaps his most famous contribution to Christian liturgy. He also was a noted hymn-writer, translator and compiler of a hymnal.
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Commemoration and legacy

Wesley continues to be the primary theological influence on Methodists and Methodist-heritage groups the world over; the largest bodies being the United Methodist Church, the Methodist Church of Great Britain and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Wesleyan teachings also serve as a basis for the holiness movement, which includes denominations like the Wesleyan Church, the Free Methodist Church, the Church of the Nazarene, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Church of God (Anderson, IN), and several smaller groups, and from which Pentecostalism and parts of the Charismatic Movement are offshoots. Wesley’s call to personal and social holiness continues to challenge Christians who attempt to discern what it means to participate in the Kingdom of God. In addition, he refined Arminianism with a strong evangelical emphasis on the Reformed doctrine of justification by faith.
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In 2002, Wesley was listed at number 50 on the BBC’s list of the 100 Greatest Britons, drawn from a poll of the British public.

 

John Wesley

 

Reformers – João Ferreira de Almeida (1628 – 1691)

 

João Ferreira Annes d’Almeida, or simply João Ferreira de Almeida (Torre de Tavares, Portugal, 1628 – Batavia, Indonesia, 1691) was a preacher minister of the Reformed Church in the Dutch East Indies, especially recognized for being the first to translate The Holy Bible for the Portuguese language(…) The first single-volume edition of a complete translation of the Bible into Portuguese was printed only in 1819 in London. Besides the translation of the Bible, João Ferreira de Almeida also wrote some works against the teachings of the Catholic Church.
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Conversion to Protestantism

In 1642, at the age of fourteen, João Ferreira de Almeida left the Catholic Church and converted to Protestantism. While sailing between Batavia and Malacca, both Dutch possessions in the East, Almeida was able to read an anti-Catholic treatise in Castilian, titled “Difference of a Christandade“, later translated by him in Portuguese language. This pamphlet attacked some of the doctrines and concepts of Roman Catholicism of the time, including the use of Latin during religious offices. This caused a great effect in Almeida, so that, when arriving at Malacca that same year, it joined the Dutch Reformed Church and it was dedicated immediately to the translation of passages of the Gospels from Castilian to Portuguese.
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Holy Bible Translator

Two years after rejecting the doctrines of the Catholic Church, João Ferreira de Almeida embarked on a huge project: the translation of the whole New Testament into Portuguese, using as a basis the Latin version of Teodoro de Beza, also referring to translations in Castilian, French and Italian. The work was completed in less than a year, when Almeida was only sixteen years old.
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In the time of Almeida, a translator for the Portuguese language was very useful for the churches of that region. In addition to being the language commonly used in Presbyterian congregations, it was the most widely spoken language in many parts of India and Southeast Asia. It is believed, however, that the Portuguese employed by Almeida both in preaching and in the translation of the Bible were quite erudite and therefore difficult to understand for the majority of the population. This impression is reinforced by a statement given by him in Batavia, when he proposed to translate some sermons, in words, “into the adulterated Portuguese language known to this congregation.”

The main principle of translation used by Ferreira de Almeida was that of formal equivalence (following the syntax of the original text in the target language), and he utilized the Textus Receptus as textual basis. His Portuguese style is described as “classical and erudite”; the Brazilian Bible Society states that Ferreira de Almedia sought to reflect both the form, style, and language register of the original texts in his translation.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo%C3%A3o_Ferreira_de_Almeida

(…) the Inquisition had ordered that a portrait of Almeida be burned in a public square in Goa. It was also during the stay in Ceylon that probably the translator met his wife and got married. From Roman Catholicism to Protestantism, like him, he was called Lucretia Valcoa de Lemmes (or Lucrecia de Lamos). (…) Later, the family was completed, with the birth of a boy and a girl.

João Ferreira de Almeida.
Google images

 

Ideas and personality

Being considered one of the first Protestant missionaries to visit that country, since he served as a converted missionary in the service of a foreign country, and also because of the direct exposure of what he considered to be false doctrines of the Catholic Church, as well as to the denunciation of moral corruption between The clergy, many among the Portuguese-speaking communities came to regard him as apostate and traitorous. These confrontations resulted in a trial by a court of the Inquisition in Goa, India, in 1661, being sentenced to death for heresy. The governor-general of the Netherlands called him back to Batavia, thus avoiding the consummation of the sentence.

From 1663 (35 years old onwards, therefore), Almeida worked in the Portuguese-speaking congregation of Batávia, where he remained until the end of his life. In this new phase, he had an intense activity as a pastor. The records in this regard show much of your ideas and personality. Among other things, Almeida was able to convince the presbytery that the congregation he led should have his own Lord’s Supper. He also proposed that the poor who received cash help from the church should be required to attend and attend the catechism. He volunteered to visit the slaves of the Company of the Indies in their neighborhoods, giving them classes of religion-a suggestion not accepted by the presbytery-and very often alerted the congregation to “papist influences.”

At the same time, he resumed the work of Bible translation, which began in his youth. It was only then that he came to dominate the Dutch language and to study Greek and Hebrew. In 1676, Almeida informed the presbytery that the New Testament was ready. Then began the translator’s battle to see the published text – he knew that the presbytery would not recommend printing the work without being approved by reviewers appointed by the presbytery itself. And also that, without this recommendation, he would not be able to obtain other necessary permissions for the fact to materialize: that of the Government of Batavia and that of the East India Company in Holland.
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In October 1691, Almeida died. On that occasion he had come to Ezekiel 48:31. The translation of the Old Testament was completed in 1694 by Jacobus op den Akker, a Dutch Calvinist pastor. After going through many changes, it was printed in Batavia, in two volumes: the first in 1748 and the second in 1753.

Recognition

Between October 2006 and March 2007, the RTP1 television program, The Great Portuguese, held a popular vote to choose The Great Portuguese. That vote, indicated João Ferreira de Almeida as the 19th most important character in the history of Portugal.

 

João Ferreira de Almeida

 

Reformers – Roger Williams (1603 – 1683)


Roger Williams statue by Franklin Simmons

Roger Williams was a Puritan minister, English Reformed theologian, and Reformed Baptist who founded the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He was a staunch advocate for religious freedom, separation of church and state, and fair dealings with American Indians, and he was one of the first abolitionists.

Williams was expelled by the Puritan leaders from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for spreading “new and dangerous ideas”, and he began settling the Providence Plantations as a refuge offering what he called “liberty of conscience” in 1636. In 1638, he founded the First Baptist Church in America, also known as the First Baptist Church of Providence. He was a student of Native American languages, and he organized the first attempt to prohibit slavery in any of the British American colonies.

Early life

Roger Williams was born in London (…) He had a spiritual conversion at an early age, of which his father disapproved.
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He married Mary Barnard (1609–76) on 15 December 1629 at the Church of High Laver, Essex, England. They ultimately had six children, all born in America: Mary, Freeborn, Providence, Mercy, Daniel, and Joseph.

Williams knew that Puritan leaders planned to migrate to the New World. He did not join the first wave, but he decided before the year ended that he could not remain in England under Archbishop William Laud’s rigorous administration. He regarded the Church of England as corrupt and false, and he had arrived at the Separatist position by the time that he and his wife boarded the Lyon in early December, 1630.

Life in America

The Boston church offered Williams a post in 1631 filling in for Rev. John Wilson[3] while Wilson returned to England to fetch his wife. However, Williams declined the position on grounds that it was “an unseparated church”. In addition, he asserted that civil magistrates must not punish any sort of “breach of the first table” of the Ten Commandments such as idolatry, Sabbath-breaking, false worship, and blasphemy, and that individuals should be free to follow their own convictions in religious matters. These three principles became central to his teachings and writings: separatism, liberty of conscience, and separation of church and state.

As a Separatist, Williams considered the Church of England irredeemably corrupt and believed that one must completely separate from it to establish a new church for the true and pure worship of God. The Salem church was also inclined to Separatism, and they invited him to become their teacher. The leaders in Boston vigorously protested, and Salem withdrew its offer. (…)

Settlement at Providence
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Williams wanted his settlement to be a haven for those “distressed of conscience”, and it soon attracted a collection of dissenters and otherwise-minded individuals. From the beginning, a majority vote of the heads of households governed the new settlement, but only in civil things. (…) Thus, Williams founded the first place in modern history where citizenship and religion were separate, providing religious liberty and separation of church and state. This was combined with the principle of majoritarian democracy.

Return to England and charter matters
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His first published book A Key into the Language of America (1643) proved crucial to the success of his charter, albeit indirectly. It combined a phrase-book with observations about life and culture as an aid to communicate with the Indians of New England, covering everything from salutations to death and burial. Williams also sought to correct English attitudes of superiority toward the American Indians:

Boast not proud English, of thy birth & blood;
Thy brother Indian is by birth as Good.
Of one blood God made Him, and Thee and All,
As wise, as fair, as strong, as personal.

Key was the first dictionary of any Indian language, and it fed the great curiosity of English people about the American Indians.
(…) Freedom of conscience was again proclaimed, and the colony became a safe haven for people who were persecuted for their beliefs, including Baptists, Quakers, and Jews. Still, the divisions between the towns and powerful personalities did not bode well for the colony. (…)
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In 1641, Massachusetts Bay Colony passed the first laws to make slavery legal in the colonies, and these laws were applied in Plymouth and Connecticut with the creation of the United Colonies in 1643. Roger Williams and Samuel Gorton both opposed slavery, and Providence Plantations (Providence and Warwick) passed a law on 18 May 1652 intended to prevent slavery in the colony during the time when Coddington’s followers had separated from Providence. (…)
(…) Instead, Newport entered the African slave trade in 1700, after Williams’ death, and became the leading port for American ships carrying slaves in the colonial American triangular trade until the American Revolutionary War.

Relations with the Baptists
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John Smyth, Thomas Helwys, and John Murton were co-founders of the General Baptist movement in England and had written extensively about liberty of conscience. Williams had commented on them in his Bloudy Tenent. Smyth, Helwys, and Murton were General Baptists, but a Calvinistic Baptist variety grew out of some Separatists after 1640. Williams became a Calvinist or Particular Baptist.
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Ezekiel Holliman baptised Williams in late 1638. Thus began a church that still survives as the First Baptist Church in America. A few years later, John Clarke, Williams’ compatriot in the cause of religious freedom in the New World, established the First Baptist Church in Newport, Rhode Island, which suddenly claimed to be the first Baptist church in America in 1847. If nothing else, Roger Williams had gathered and resigned from the Providence church before the town of Newport was even founded. Still, both Roger Williams and John Clarke are variously credited as being the founder of the Baptist faith in America.

Separation of church and state

Williams was a staunch advocate of separation of church and state. He was convinced that there was no scriptural basis for a state church, (…) He declared that the state should concern itself only with matters of civil order, not with religious belief, and he rejected any attempt to enforce the “first Table” of the Ten Commandments, those commandments that dealt with the relationship between God and individuals. Instead, Williams believed that the state must confine itself to the commandments dealing with the relations between people: murder, theft, adultery, lying, and honoring parents. He employed the metaphor of a “wall of separation” between church and state, which was later used by Thomas Jefferson in his Letter to Danbury Baptists (1801).

Williams considered it “forced worship” if the state attempted to promote any particular religious idea or practice, and he declared, “Forced worship stinks in God’s nostrils.” He considered Constantine the Great to be a worse enemy to Christianity than Nero because the subsequent state support corrupted Christianity and led to the death of the Christian church. He described the attempt to compel belief as “rape of the soul” and spoke of the “oceans of blood” shed as a result of trying to command conformity. The moral principles in the Scriptures ought to inform the civil magistrates, he believed, but he observed that well-ordered, just, and civil governments existed even where Christianity was not present. Thus, all governments had to maintain civil order and justice, but Williams decided that none had a warrant to promote or repress any religion. Most of his contemporaries criticized his ideas as a prescription for chaos and anarchy, and the vast majority believed that each nation must have its national church and could require that dissenters conform.

Legacy

Williams’ legacy has grown over time with changing values. His defense of Native Americans, accusations that Puritans had reproduced the “evils” of the Anglican Church, and denial that the king had authority to grant charters for colonies put him at the center of nearly every political debate during his life. By the time of American independence, however, he was considered a defender of religious freedom and has continued to be praised by generations of historians who have often altered their interpretation of his period as a whole.

 

The statue of Roger Williams at Roger Williams University

Roger Williams

 

Reformers – John Calvin (1509 – 1564)

Portrait attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger

John Calvin (…) was a French theologian, pastor and reformer in Geneva 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 Christian traditions. Various Congregational, Reformed, Reformed Baptists and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin as the chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world.

Calvin was a tireless polemic and apologetic writer who generated much controversy. He also exchanged cordial and supportive letters with many reformers, including Philipp Melanchthon and Heinrich Bullinger. In addition to his seminal Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin wrote commentaries on most books of the Bible, confessional documents, and various other theological treatises.

Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530. After religious tensions erupted in widespread deadly violence against Protestant Christians in France, Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland, where in 1536 he published the first edition of the Institutes. In that same year, Calvin was recruited by Frenchman William Farel to join the Reformation in Geneva, where he regularly preached sermons throughout the week; but the governing council of the city resisted the implementation of their ideas, and both men were expelled. At the invitation of Martin Bucer, Calvin proceeded to Strasbourg, where he became the minister of a church of French refugees. He continued to support the reform movement in Geneva, and in 1541 he was invited back to lead the church of the city.

Following his return, Calvin introduced new forms of church government and liturgy, despite opposition from several powerful families in the city who tried to curb his authority. During this period, Michael Servetus, a Spaniard regarded by both Roman Catholics and Protestants as having a heretical view of the Trinity, arrived in Geneva. He was denounced by Calvin and burned at the stake for heresy by the city council. Following an influx of supportive refugees and new elections to the city council, Calvin’s opponents were forced out. Calvin spent his final years promoting the Reformation both in Geneva and throughout Europe.

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By 1532, Calvin received his licentiate in law and published his first book, a commentary on Seneca’s De Clementia. (…) On 1 November 1533 he devoted his inaugural address to the need for reform and renewal in the Roman Catholic Church. The address provoked a strong reaction from the faculty, who denounced it as heretical, forcing Cop to flee to Basel. (…)

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Sometime in 1537 he was selected to be a “pastor” although he never received any pastoral consecration. For the first time, the lawyer-theologian took up pastoral duties such as baptisms, weddings, and church services.

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(1554) in August of that year, he married Idelette de Bure, a widow who had two children from her first marriage.
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Idelette and Calvin had no children survive infancy.

Reform in Geneva (1541–1549)

In supporting Calvin’s proposals for reforms, the council of Geneva passed the Ordonnances ecclésiastiques (Ecclesiastical Ordinances) on 20 November 1541. The ordinances defined four orders of ministerial function: pastors to preach and to administer the sacraments; doctors to instruct believers in the faith; elders to provide discipline; and deacons to care for the poor and needy. They also called for the creation of the Consistoire (Consistory), an ecclesiastical court composed of the lay elders and the ministers. The city government retained the power to summon persons before the court, and the Consistory could judge only ecclesiastical matters having no civil jurisdiction. Originally, the court had the power to mete out sentences, with excommunication as its most severe penalty. The government contested this power and on 19 March 1543 the council decided that all sentencing would be carried out by the government.

In 1542, Calvin adapted a service book used in Strasbourg, publishing La Forme des Prières et Chants Ecclésiastiques (The Form of Prayers and Church Hymns). Calvin recognised the power of music and he intended that it be used to support scripture readings. (…)

In the same year of 1542, Calvin published Catéchisme de l’Eglise de Genève (Catechism of the Church of Geneva), which was inspired by Bucer’s Kurze Schrifftliche Erklärung of 1534. Calvin had written an earlier catechism during his first stay in Geneva which was largely based on Martin Luther’s Large Catechism. The first version was arranged pedagogically, describing Law, Faith, and Prayer. (…)

Historians debate the extent to which Geneva was a theocracy. On the one hand, Calvin’s theology clearly called for separation between church and state. Other historians have stressed the enormous political power wielded on a daily basis by the clerics.

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An analysis of his sermons by T. H. L. Parker suggests that Calvin was a consistent preacher and his style changed very little over the years. John Calvin was also known for his thorough manner of working his way through the Bible in consecutive sermons. From March 1555 to July 1556, Calvin delivered two hundred sermons on Deuteronomy. (…)

(…) Shows and entertainments were expressly forbidden by their religion; and for more than two hundred years there was not a single musical instrument allowed in the city of Geneva. They condemned auricular confession, but they enjoined a public one; and in Switzerland, Scotland, and Geneva it was performed the same as penance.” (…)

Discipline and opposition (1546–1553)

Calvin encountered bitter opposition to his work in Geneva. Around 1546, the uncoordinated forces coalesced into an identifiable group whom he referred to as the libertines, but who preferred to be called either Spirituels or Patriots. According to Calvin, these were people who felt that after being liberated through grace, they were exempted from both ecclesiastical and civil law. (…)

(…) On 27 June an unsigned threatening letter in Genevan dialect was found at the pulpit of St. Pierre Cathedral where Calvin preached. Suspecting a plot against both the church and the state, the council appointed a commission to investigate. (…) A civil court condemned Gruet to death and he was beheaded on 26 July. Calvin was not opposed to the civil court’s decision.
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Final years (1555–1564)

Calvin’s authority was practically uncontested during his final years, and he enjoyed an international reputation as a reformer distinct from Martin Luther. Initially, Luther and Calvin had mutual respect for each other. A doctrinal conflict had developed between Luther and Zurich reformer Huldrych Zwingli on the interpretation of the eucharist. Calvin’s opinion on the issue forced Luther to place him in Zwingli’s camp. Calvin actively participated in the polemics that were exchanged between the Lutheran and Reformed branches of the Reformation movement. At the same time, Calvin was dismayed by the lack of unity among the reformers.
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Calvin sheltered Marian exiles (those who fled the reign of Catholic Mary Tudor in England) in Geneva starting in 1555. Under the city’s protection, they were able to form their own reformed church under John Knox and William Whittingham and eventually carried Calvin’s ideas on doctrine and polity back to England and Scotland.
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Impact on France

Calvin was deeply committed to reforming his homeland, France. The Protestant movement had been energetic, but lacked central organizational direction. With financial support from the church in Geneva, Calvin turned his enormous energies toward uplifting the French Protestant cause. (…)

Theology

Calvin developed his theology in his biblical commentaries as well as his sermons and treatises, but the most comprehensive expression of his views is found in his magnum opus, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. (…)

The first statement in the Institutes acknowledges its central theme. It states that the sum of human wisdom consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. Calvin argues that the knowledge of God is not inherent in humanity nor can it be discovered by observing this world. The only way to obtain it is to study scripture. Calvin writes, “For anyone to arrive at God the Creator he needs Scripture as his Guide and Teacher.” He does not try to prove the authority of scripture but rather describes it as autopiston or self-authenticating. He defends the trinitarian view of God and, in a strong polemical stand against the Catholic Church, argues that images of God lead to idolatry. At the end of the first book, he offers his views on providence, writing, “By his Power God cherishes and guards the World which he made and by his Providence rules its individual Parts.” Humans are unable to fully comprehend why God performs any particular action, but whatever good or evil people may practise, their efforts always result in the execution of God’s will and judgments.

The second book includes several essays on original sin and the fall of man, which directly refer to Augustine, who developed these doctrines. He often cited the Church Fathers in order to defend the reformed cause against the charge that the reformers were creating new theology. In Calvin’s view, sin began with the fall of Adam and propagated to all of humanity. The domination of sin is complete to the point that people are driven to evil. Thus fallen humanity is in need of the redemption that can be found in Christ. But before Calvin expounded on this doctrine, he described the special situation of the Jews who lived during the time of the Old Testament. God made a covenant with Abraham, promising the coming of Christ. Hence, the Old Covenant was not in opposition to Christ, but was rather a continuation of God’s promise. Calvin then describes the New Covenant using the passage from the Apostles’ Creed that describes Christ’s suffering under Pontius Pilate and his return to judge the living and the dead. For Calvin, the whole course of Christ’s obedience to the Father removed the discord between humanity and God.

In the third book, Calvin describes how the spiritual union of Christ and humanity is achieved. He first defines faith as the firm and certain knowledge of God in Christ. The immediate effects of faith are repentance and the remission of sin. This is followed by spiritual regeneration, which returns the believer to the state of holiness before Adam’s transgression. Complete perfection is unattainable in this life, and the believer should expect a continual struggle against sin. Several chapters are then devoted to the subject of justification by faith alone. He defined justification as “the acceptance by which God regards us as righteous whom he has received into grace.” In this definition, it is clear that it is God who initiates and carries through the action and that people play no role; God is completely sovereign in salvation. Near the end of the book, Calvin describes and defends the doctrine of predestination, a doctrine advanced by Augustine in opposition to the teachings of Pelagius. Fellow theologians who followed the Augustinian tradition on this point included Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther, though Calvin’s formulation of the doctrine went further than the tradition that went before him. The principle, in Calvin’s words, is that “All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.”

The final book describes what he considers to be the true Church and its ministry, authority, and sacraments. He denied the papal claim to primacy and the accusation that the reformers were schismatic. For Calvin, the Church was defined as the body of believers who placed Christ at its head. By definition, there was only one “catholic” or “universal” Church. Hence, he argued that the reformers “had to leave them in order that we might come to Christ.” The ministers of the Church are described from a passage from Ephesians, and they consisted of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and doctors. Calvin regarded the first three offices as temporary, limited in their existence to the time of the New Testament. The latter two offices were established in the church in Geneva. Although Calvin respected the work of the ecumenical councils, he considered them to be subject to God’s Word found in scripture. He also believed that the civil and church authorities were separate and should not interfere with each other.

Calvin defined a sacrament as an earthly sign associated with a promise from God. He accepted only two sacraments as valid under the new covenant: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (in opposition to the Catholic acceptance of seven sacraments). He completely rejected the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and the treatment of the Supper as a sacrifice. He also could not accept the Lutheran doctrine of sacramental union in which Christ was “in, with and under” the elements. His own view was close to Zwingli’s symbolic view, but it was not identical. Rather than holding a purely symbolic view, Calvin noted that with the participation of the Holy Spirit, faith was nourished and strengthened by the sacrament. In his words, the eucharistic rite was “a secret too sublime for my mind to understand or words to express. I experience it rather than understand it.”

Calvin and the Jews

(…) In his theology, Calvin does not differentiate between God’s covenant with Israel and the New Covenant. He stated, “all the children of the promise, reborn of God, who have obeyed the commands by faith working through love, have belonged to the New Covenant since the world began.” Nevertheless, he was a covenant theologian and argued that the Jews are a rejected people who must embrace Jesus to re-enter the covenant.
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Response to Questions and Objections of a Certain Jew. In it, he argued that Jews misread their own scriptures because they miss the unity of the Old and New Testaments.

Political thought

The aim of Calvin’s political theory was to safeguard the rights and freedoms of ordinary people. Although he was convinced that the Bible contained no blueprint for a certain form of government, Calvin favored a combination of democracy and aristocracy (mixed government). He appreciated the advantages of democracy. To further minimize the misuse of political power, Calvin proposed to divide it among several political institutions like the aristocracy, lower estates, or magistrates in a system of checks and balances (separation of powers). Finally, Calvin taught that if rulers rise up against God they lose their divine right and must be deposed. State and church are separate, though they have to cooperate to the benefit of the people. Christian magistrates have to make sure that the church can fulfill its duties in freedom. In extreme cases the magistrates have to expel or execute dangerous heretics. But nobody can be forced to become a Protestant.

Calvin thought that agriculture and the traditional crafts were normal human activities. With regard to trade and the financial world he was more liberal than Luther, but both were strictly opposed to usury. Calvin allowed the charging of modest interest rates on loans. Like the other Reformers Calvin understood work as a means through which the believers expressed their gratitude to God for their redemption in Christ and as a service to their neighbors. Everybody was obliged to work; loafing and begging were rejected. The idea that economic success was a visible sign of God’s grace played only a minor role in Calvin’s thinking. It became more important in later, partly secularized forms of Calvinism and became the starting-point of Max Weber’s theory about the rise of capitalism.

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Calvin provided many of the foundational documents for reformed churches, including documents on the catechism, the liturgy, and church governance. (…) He also produced several confessions of faith in order to unite the churches.

Legacy
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By 1585, Geneva, once the wellspring of the reform movement, had become merely its symbol. Calvin had always warned against describing him as an “idol” and Geneva as a new “Jerusalem”. He encouraged people to adapt to the environments in which they found themselves. (…) Despite his differences with the Lutherans, he did not deny that they were members of the true Church. Calvin’s recognition of the need to adapt to local conditions became an important characteristic of the reformation movement as it spread across Europe.
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Several leading divines, either Calvinist or those sympathetic to Calvinism, settled in England (Martin Bucer, Peter Martyr, and Jan Laski) and Scotland (John Knox). During the English Civil War, the Calvinistic Puritans produced the Westminster Confession, which became the confessional standard for Presbyterians in the English-speaking world.

John Calvin

“the stranger”

 

9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Exodus 23:9

19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:19

41 Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name’s sake; 1 Kings 8:41

33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. Leviticus 19:33

49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you. Exodus 12:49

18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Deuteronomy 10:18

10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:10

19 When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. Deuteronomy 24:19

20 When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. Deuteronomy 24:20

21 When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. Deuteronomy 24:21

22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 23:22

6 And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, Leviticus 25:6

6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD. Leviticus 18:6

6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD. Jeremiah 7:6

6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Zechariah 7:10

29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. Ezekiel 22:29

7 In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow. Ezekiel 22:7

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Matthew 25:38

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Matthew 25:43

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Matthew 25:44

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. Matthew 25:45

12 Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. Psalms 39:12

34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:34

3 Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. Jeremiah 22:3

15 One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. Numbers 15:15

14 And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land. Numbers 9:14

14 And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Deuteronomy 16:14

26 And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; seeing all the people were in ignorance. Numbers 15:26

5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:5

 

 

Reformers – Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)


“Luther at Erfurt”, which depicts Martin Luther discovering the doctrine of sola fide. Painting by Joseph Noel Paton, 1861.

Martin Luther, O.S.A.; (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation.

Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the Catholic view on indulgences. 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, consequently, 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 (German: evangelisch) as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ.

His translation of the Bible into the German 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.

In two of his later works, Luther expressed antagonistic views towards Jews, writing that Jewish homes and synagogues should be destroyed, their money confiscated, and liberty curtailed. Condemned by virtually every Lutheran denomination, these statements and their influence on antisemitism have contributed to his controversial status.
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Philosophy proved to be unsatisfying, offering assurance about the use of reason but none about loving God, which to Luther was more important. Reason could not lead men to God, he felt, and he thereafter developed a love-hate relationship with Aristotle over the latter’s emphasis on reason. For Luther, reason could be used to question men and institutions, but not God. Human beings could learn about God only through divine revelation, he believed, and Scripture therefore became increasingly important to him.
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He taught that true repentance does not involve self-inflicted penances and punishments but rather a change of heart.

Start of the Reformation
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On 31 October 1517, Luther wrote to his bishop, Albrecht von Brandenburg, protesting the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences”, which came to be known as the Ninety-five Theses. Hans Hillerbrand writes that Luther had no intention of confronting the church, but saw his disputation as a scholarly objection to church practices, and the tone of the writing is accordingly “searching, rather than doctrinaire.”
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According to one account, Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517.

Justification by faith alone
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“That is why faith alone makes someone just and fulfills the law,” he wrote. “Faith is that which brings the Holy Spirit through the merits of Christ.” Faith, for Luther, was a gift from God; the experience of being justified by faith was “as though I had been born again.” His entry into Paradise, no less, was a discovery about “the righteousness of God” – a discovery that “the just person” of whom the Bible speaks (as in Romans 1:17) lives by faith. He explained his concept of “justification” in the Smalcald Articles:

The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24–25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23–25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us … Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark 13:31).

Luther’s rediscovery of “Christ and His salvation” was the first of two points that became the foundation for the Reformation. His railing against the sale of indulgences was based on it.
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Excommunication

On 15 June 1520, the Pope warned Luther with the papal bull (edict) Exsurge Domine that he risked excommunication unless he recanted 41 sentences drawn from his writings, including the Ninety-five Theses, within 60 days. (…) Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X on 3 January 1521, in the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.
(…)

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.

(…)
The Emperor presented the final draft of the Edict of Worms on 25 May 1521, declaring Luther an outlaw, banning his literature, and requiring his arrest.
(…)
In 1521 Luther dealt largely with prophecy, in which he broadened the foundations of the Reformation, placing them on prophetic faith. His main interest was centered on the prophecy of the Little Horn in Daniel 8:9–12, 23–25. The antichrist of 2 Thessalonians 2 was identified as the power of the Papacy. So too was the Little Horn of Daniel 7, coming up among the divisions of Rome, explicitly applied.
(…)

Do you know what the Devil thinks when he sees men use violence to propagate the gospel? He sits with folded arms behind the fire of hell, and says with malignant looks and frightful grin: “Ah, how wise these madmen are to play my game! Let them go on; I shall reap the benefit. I delight in it.” But when he sees the Word running and contending alone on the battle-field, then he shudders and shakes for fear.

(…)
Luther’s pamphlets against the Church and the hierarchy, often worded with “liberal” phraseology, now led many peasants to believe he would support an attack on the upper classes in general.
(…)

Marriage

Katharina von Bora, Luther’s wife, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526.

Some priests and former members of religious orders had already married, including Andreas Karlstadt and Justus Jonas, but Luther’s wedding set the seal of approval on clerical marriage.
(…)

Organising the church
(…)
Luther’s thought is revolutionary to the extent that it is a theology of the cross, the negation of every affirmation: as long as the cross is at the center, the system building tendency of reason is held in check, and system building does not degenerate into System.
(…)

For Luther’s biographer Martin Brecht, this partnership “was the beginning of a questionable and originally unintended development towards a church government under the temporal sovereign”.
(…)
Luther based his order on the Catholic service but omitted “everything that smacks of sacrifice”, and the Mass became a celebration where everyone received the wine as well as the bread. He retained the elevation of the host and chalice, while trappings such as the Mass vestments, altar, and candles were made optional, allowing freedom of ceremony.
(…)

Catechisms
(…)
Luther’s Small Catechism proved especially effective in helping parents teach their children; likewise the Larger Catechism was effective for pastors. Using the German vernacular, they expressed the Apostles’ Creed in simpler, more personal, Trinitarian language. He rewrote each article of the Creed to express the character of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. Luther’s goal was to enable the catechumens to see themselves as a personal object of the work of the three persons of the Trinity, each of which works in the catechumen’s life.

That is, Luther depicted the Trinity not as a doctrine to be learned, but as persons to be known. The Father creates, the Son redeems, and the Spirit sanctifies, a divine unity with separate personalities. Salvation originates with the Father and draws the believer to the Father. Luther’s treatment of the Apostles’ Creed must be understood in the context of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments) and the Lord’s Prayer, which are also part of the Lutheran catechetical teaching.

Translation of the Bible
(…)
“Faith alone justifies us, and not works”.
(…)
He intended his vigorous, direct language to make the Bible accessible to everyday Germans, “for we are removing impediments and difficulties so that other people may read it without hindrance.”
(…)
The Luther Bible influenced other vernacular translations, such as William Tyndale’s English Bible (1525 forward), a precursor of the King James Bible.

Hymnodist
(…)
Luther connected high art and folk music, also all classes, clergy and laity, men, women and children. His tool of choice for this connection was the singing of German hymns in connection with worship, school, home, and the public arena.
(…)
Luther’s hymns inspired composers to write music. Johann Sebastian Bach included several verses as chorales in his cantatas and based chorale cantatas entirely on them, (…)

Epistemology

Some scholars have asserted that Luther taught that faith and reason were antithetical in the sense that questions of faith could not be illuminated by reason. He wrote, “All the articles of our Christian faith, which God has revealed to us in His Word, are in presence of reason sheerly impossible, absurd, and false.” and “[That] Reason in no way contributes to faith. […] For reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things.” However, though seemingly contradictorily, he also wrote in the latter work that human reason “strives not against faith, when enlightened, but rather furthers and advances it”, bringing claims he was a fideist into dispute. Contemporary Lutheran scholarship, however, has found a different reality in Luther. Luther rather seeks to separate faith and reason in order to honor the separate spheres of knowledge that each applies to.

On Islam

Luther had argued against resisting the Turks in his 1518 Explanation of the Ninety-five Theses, provoking accusations of defeatism. He saw the Turks as a scourge sent by God to punish Christians, as agents of the Biblical apocalypse that would destroy the antichrist, whom Luther believed to be the papacy, and the Roman Church.
(…)
In 1542, Luther read a Latin translation of the Qur’an. He went on to produce several critical pamphlets on Islam, which he called “Mohammedanism” or “the Turk”. Though Luther saw the Muslim faith as a tool of the devil, he was indifferent to its practice: “Let the Turk believe and live as he will, just as one lets the papacy and other false Christians live.” He opposed banning the publication of the Qur’an, wanting it exposed to scrutiny.

Antinomian controversy
(…)
Claiming that the law – in any form – should not be preached to Christians anymore would be tantamount to asserting that Christians are no longer sinners in themselves and that the church consists only of essentially holy people.

On the other hand, Luther also points out that the Ten Commandments – when considered not as God’s condemning judgment but as an expression of his eternal will, that is, of the natural law – also positively teach how the Christian ought to live. This has traditionally been called the “third use of the law.” For Luther, also Christ’s life, when understood as an example, is nothing more than an illustration of the Ten Commandments, which a Christian should follow in his or her vocations on a daily basis.
(…)

Bigamy of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse

From December 1539, Luther became implicated in the bigamy of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, who wanted to marry one of his wife’s ladies-in-waiting.
(…)
The affair caused lasting damage to Luther’s reputation.

Antisemitism
(…)
Though Luther rarely encountered Jews during his life, his attitudes reflected a theological and cultural tradition which saw Jews as a rejected people guilty of the murder of Christ, and he lived in a locality which had expelled Jews some ninety years earlier.
He considered the Jews blasphemers and liars because they rejected the divinity of Jesus. In 1523, Luther advised kindness toward the Jews in That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew and also aimed to convert them to Christianity. When his efforts at conversion failed, he grew increasingly bitter toward them.
(…)
Luther was the most widely read author of his generation, and within Germany he acquired the status of a prophet. According to the prevailing opinion among historians, his anti-Jewish rhetoric contributed significantly to the development of antisemitism in Germany, and in the 1930s and 1940s provided an “ideal underpinning” for the Nazis’ attacks on Jews.
(…)

Legacy and commemoration
(…)
Luther made effective use of Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press to spread his views. He switched from Latin to German in his writing to appeal to a broader audience. Between 1500 and 1530, Luther’s works represented one fifth of all materials printed in Germany.

In the 1530s and 1540s, printed images of Luther that emphasized his monumental size were crucial to the spread of Protestantism.
(…)
Martin Luther is honored in various ways by Christian traditions coming out directly from the Protestant Reformation, i.e. Lutheranism, the Reformed tradition, and Anglicanism.
(…)

 

“Luther at Erfurt”, which depicts Martin Luther discovering the doctrine of sola fide. Painting by Joseph Noel Paton, 1861.

Martin Luther

 

Reformers – Peter Waldo (1140 – 1205)

Statue of Peter Waldo at the Luther Memorial at Worms, Germany

Peter Waldo, Valdo, Valdes, or Waldes (c. 1140 – c. 1205), also Pierre Vaudès or de Vaux, was a leader of the Waldensians, a Christian spiritual movement of the Middle Ages.

Relationship with Waldenses

Some authors have regarded Waldo as founder of the Waldensians. However, Eberhard of Béthune cited evidence showing that the name Waldenses appeared in documents (1170) more than 10 years before the major years of Waldo’s activism. Bernard, abbot of Foncald, wrote about the heretics who were known as “Valdensis,” who were condemned during the pontificate of Pope Lucius II in 1144, decades before Peter Waldo. These extant citation sources document that the name Valdenses had been applied to religious groups before Peter Waldo’s time.

Life and work

Most details of Waldo’s life are unknown. Extant sources relate that he was a wealthy clothier and merchant from Lyons and a man of some learning. Sometime shortly before the year 1160, he was inspired by a series of events, firstly, after hearing a sermon on the life of St. Alexius, secondly, rejection of transubstantiation when it was considered a capital crime to do it, thirdly, the sudden and unexpected death of a friend during an evening meal. From this point onward he began living a radical Christian life, giving his property over to his wife, while the remainder of his belongings he distributed as alms to the poor.

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.” Waldo condemned what he considered as papal excesses and Catholic dogmas, including purgatory and transubstantiation. He said that these dogmas were “the harlot” from the book of Revelation. By 1170 Waldo had gathered a large number of followers, referred to as the Poor of Lyons, the Poor of Lombardy, or the Poor of God. They evangelized their teaching while traveling as peddlers. Often referred to as the Waldensians (or Waldenses), they were distinct from the Albigensians or Cathari.

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 ofLatin.

In 1179, Waldo and one of his disciples went to Rome, where they were welcomed by Pope Alexander III and the Roman Curia. They had to explain their faith before a panel of three clergymen, including issues which were then debated within the Church, such as the universal priesthood, the gospel in the vulgate or local language, and the issue of voluntary poverty. The results of the meeting were inconclusive. Waldo’s ideas, but not the movement itself, were condemned at the third Lateran Council in the same year. The leaders of the Waldensian movement were not yet excommunicated.

In 1180, Waldo composed a profession of faith which is still extant.

Driven away from Lyons, Waldo and his followers settled in the high valleys of Piedmont, and in France, in the Luberon, as they continued in their pursuit of Christianity based on the New Testament. Finally, Waldo was excommunicated by Pope Lucius III during the synod held at Verona in 1184. The doctrine of the Poor of Lyons was again condemned by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, when they mentioned the group by name for the first time, and declared its principles to be heresy. Fearing suppression from the Church, Waldo’s followers fled to the mountainous regions of northern Italy.

Peter Waldo

 

Queen Elizabeth I

shall desire you all, my lords, (chiefly you of the nobility, everyone in his degree and power) to be assistant to me that I, with my ruling, and you with your service, may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth. (Elizabeth at the beginning of her reign)
Quotes

Daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She had been raised as a Protestant but she wanted the country’s religious problems to calm down.
Elizabeth I

In 1558, Mary I dies and Elizabeth I rises to the throne. At 25 she is crowned Queen of England. It soon reestablishes the Anglican structure for the Church. In 1562 he restored the Act of Supremacy, establishing the sovereign as head of the Anglican Church. . In 1563, the new ecclesiastical body defines the 39 basic points of Anglicanism. The resurrection of Anglicanism is applauded by many nobles who reconquer the lands confiscated by the Church of Rome. Eight years later, the Queen is excommunicated by the Catholic Church.
Elizabeth I

In 1570 Pope Pius V (r 1566-72) excommunicated Elizabeth, describing her as “the pretended Queen of England, the Servant of Wickedness.” The pope declared her deposed. He declared her subjects “not to obey her” and threatened excommunication for any who remained faithful to her rule. Elizabeth’s Catholic subjects were being asked to choose between their faith of their queen while there were those looking forward to military opposition to Elizabeth from Catholic France or Spain.
Queen Elizabeth

The long reign of Elizabeth and her strict management of religion consolidated the Church of England, and England as a Protestant country.
(…)
The Catholic executions during the forty five years of Elizabeth`s reign were mainly for treason because of the Catholic commitment to the Pope – they could not nor would not, serve two masters and refused the oath of loyalty.
Elizabeth

There is only one Christ, Jesus, one faith. All else is a dispute over trifles.
(Elizabeth’s response to the Catholic/Protestant divide)
Quotes

Prayer Composed By Queen Elizabeth I

O Most Glorious King, and Creator of the whole world, to whom all things be subject, both in heaven and earth, and all best Princes most gladly obey. Hear the most humble voice of thy handmaid, in this only happy, to be so accepted. How exceeding is thy goodness, and how great mine offences. Of nothing hast thou made me not a worm, but a Creature according to thine own image, heaping all the blessings upon me that men on earth hold most happy. Drawing my blood from kings and my bringing up in virtue; giving me that more is, even in my youth knowledge of thy truth: and in times of most danger, most gracious deliverance: pulling me from the prison to the palace: and placing me a Sovereign Princess over thy people of England. And above all this, making me (though a weak woman) yet thy instrument, to set forth the glorious Gospel of thy dear Son Christ Jesus.

Thus inthese last and worst days of the world, when wars and seditions with grievous persecutions have vexed almost all Kings and Countries, round about me, my reign hath been peaceable, and my realm a receptacle to thy afflicted church. The love of my people hath appeared firm, and the devices of mine enemies frustrate. Now for these and other thy benefits (O Lord of all goodness) what have I rendered to thee? Forgetfulness, unthankfulness and great disobedience. I should have magnified thee, I have neglected thee. I should have prayed unto thee, I have forgotten thee. I should have served thee, I have sinned against thee. This is my case. Then where is my hope? If thou Lord wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, who may abide it? But thou art gracious and merciful, long suffering and of great goodness, not delighting in the death of a Sinner. Thou seest whereof I came, of corrupt seed: what I am, a most frail substance: where I live in the world full of wickedness: where delights be snares, where dangers be imminent, where sin reigneth, and death abideth.

This is my state. Now where is my comfort? In the depth of my misery I know no help (0 Lord) but the height of thy mercy, who hast sent thine only Son into the world to save sinners. This God of my life and life of my soul, the King of all comfort, is my only refuge. For his sake therefore, to whom thou hast given all power, and wilt deny no petition, hear my prayers. Turn thy face from my sins (0 Lord) and thine eyes to thy handiwork. Create a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Order my steps in thy word, that no wickedness have dominion over me, make me obedient to thy will, and delight in thy law. Grant me grace to live godly and to govern justly: that so living to please thee, and reigning to serve thee I may ever glorify thee, the Father of all goodness and mercy. To whom with thy dear Son, my only Saviour, and the Holy Ghost my Sanctifier, three persons and one God: be all praise, dominion and power, world without end.

AMEN
Prayer

 

 

English Reformers:
John Wycliffe (1328 – 1384)
Roger Williams (1603 – 1683)
John Wesley (1703 – 1791)

 

“a reward”

Paulo cartas

 

14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1 Corinthians 9:14-27

 

“no respect of persons”

 

7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. Galatians 3:8

3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; Job 27:3

7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7

5 The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful. Isaiah 32:5

9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; Romans 2:9

8 But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand. Isaiah 32:8

25 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Proverbs 11:25

13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; 2 Corinthians 9:13

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:11

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. Romans 10:12

32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 1 Corinthians 10:32

21 And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: Luke 20:21

19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Luke 18:19

4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? James 2:4

39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. John 9:39

22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 1 Corinthians 1:22

24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:24

17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Acts 19:17

21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:21

17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 1 Peter 1:17

21 Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. Job 32:21

11 For there is no respect of persons with God. Romans 2:11

9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. James 2:9

25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. Colossians 3:25

10 He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons. Job 13:10

7 Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts. 2 Chronicles 19:7

9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. Ephesians 6:9

17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: Deuteronomy 10:17

 

 

 

“the children of light”

 

7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: Ecclesiastes 11:7

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. John 1:4

5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. John 9:5

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: Ephesians 5:8

36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them. John 12:36

3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3

6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Psalm 37:6

6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; Isaiah 42:6

10 The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God. Jeremiah 51:10

23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: Proverbs 6:23

2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Isaiah 9:2

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. John 3:20

13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Ephesians 5:13

18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Proverbs 4:18

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10

21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour. Proverbs 21:21

31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. Proverbs 16:31

 

 

 

The Voyage

 

The most necessary and longest voyage is the voyage that comes out of the darkness and goes to the Light, where is the Home and the Homeland of Hope for those who believe in Christ, where again we will be called Children of God rescued and saved by The Lord Jesus.

It is a voyage impossible to do without the mercy, protection, and guidance of The Lord Jesus; and for this, we must have faith alone in Him. And He himself is Who decides the moment for who will do it, although it is offered to all, without differentiation.

No preparation is necessary, the Lord knows the conditions of each one and will provide what is necessary individually because He Himself is the Principle, the Way, and the End. Therefore, let us be sure that we will not do it alone, nor will we be abandoned during the voyage because we have been bought by Him for it; and so we will also join the Myriads of Myriads of His Army who also have traveled the same Way to the Fatherland.

In this voyage, we will understand how transient our existence is here on earth and in this body; we will learn to be honest with each other, to forgive and to love, to renounce evil — the absence of Light and the place of darkness — and to understand that evil is contrary to our happiness and our peace; and though it is under His dominion, it is contrary to all that The Lord God has created; and only those who refuse to accept His Truth and His Justice they will suffer it. We will learn the nobility of desiring and be practicing only the Good, and loving the Love, respecting the things of God, and understanding His love and His mercy with all.

We must gather all our strength to persevere in the Way to the end, the arrival; and in the course of the voyage, if possible, do not stop, do not doubt, do not look back, do not complain, and keep the look, mind, and heart fixed on the goal, with the objective of reaching The Lord’s Home, before His Presence; where we rest will be.

For those who can understand, know that this is the reason for life.

 

 

 

 

 

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
.

 

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

 

(continues in the comments … )

Ellen Gould White

 

Ellen 2

Ellen Gould White (Gorham, November 26, 1827 – St. Helena, July 16, 1915) was an American Christian, prophetess and writer. A person of remarkable spiritual talents who lived most of her life during the 19th century, but through her writings she continues to exert an extraordinary impact on millions of individuals around the world.

Throughout her life she has written more than 5,000 articles and 49 books; but today, including compilations of his manuscripts, more than 100 books are available in English, and about 70 in Portuguese. Ellen G. White is the most translated writer in the history of literature. His writings cover a wide range of topics including religion, education, health, social relations, evangelism, prophecies, publications work, nutrition and administration. His masterpiece on the happy Christian life, Way to the Christ, has already been published in about 150 languages.

 

Oração..

“The Bible should never be studied without prayer. Before opening your pages, we must ask for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and we will receive it.”

“You must learn the simple art of trusting the word of God; then you will have firm ground under your feet. “

“Persevering in prayer is the condition to receive. We should always pray if we are to grow in our faith and experience.”

“The Word of God is filled with precious promises and helpful advice. She is infallible; for God can not err.”

“Prayer does not bring God down to us, but lift us up to Him.”

“Prayer takes hold of Omnipotence, and obtains for us the victory.”

“The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, is the only sword that I can safely use.”

“If you have the voice and the time to pray, God will have time and a voice to answer.”

“One day we will see that untended prayers and frustrated hopes take place among our greatest blessings.”

 

Ellen 3.

“Personal consecration is necessary, and we can not have it without the sanctity of the heart being cultivated and caressed.”

“Divine grace, which only Christ can communicate, is a living, purifying, refreshing and refreshing water of the soul.”

“The grace of God and the law of His kingdom are in perfect harmony; go hand in hand.”

“It is right to wish to be good and to live a sanctified life. But none of this has value if it is only in desire.”

“The fullness of joy is to be found in complete submission to God.”

 

Ellen 6

“Christ is the source of every right impulse. He is the only one who can implant enmity against sin in the heart.”

“The will has to consent, the faith to lay down its security in Christ, before Satan can have dominion over us.”

“When we contemplate the Savior, and His light enlightens us, we can see the sinfulness of our heart.”

“Repentance includes sorrow for sin and withdrawal from it. We will not forsake sin until we recognize how dangerous it is.”

“The human being causes the greatest evils and the greatest injustice to himself when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of God.”

“The will of God is to cleanse us from sin, to become His children and enable us to live a life of holiness.”

“As insignificant as this or that transgression may appear to the human eye, no sin is small in the sight of God.”

“The supposed faith in Christ that leads one to shirk the obligation to obey God is not faith, but presumption.”

“Presumption is the falsification of faith, wrought by Satan.”

“The tempter can never compel us to do evil. You can not dominate minds unless you submit to their control.”

“God hath provided in Christ means to overcome every evil trait of character, and to resist every temptation, however strong.”

“Christ is ready to deliver us from sin, but He does not do it against our will.”

“God wants each of us to be perfect in Him in order to represent the perfection of His character before the world.”

“The most difficult sermon to preach and the hardest to put into practice is that of self-denial.”

“Watch out for the postponements! Do not let the decision to abandon your sins and seek purity of heart through Jesus.”

“Christ made it possible for the character to be perfumed with good.”

 

Familia

“Cultivate the habit of talking to the Savior when alone, when you are walking and when busy with daily work.”

“Christ always sends messages to those who are attentive to His voice.”

“The most common tasks, performed with loving fidelity, are beautiful in the sight of God.”

“God will not be pleased with anything inferior to the best we can offer.”

“Many people of ability do little because little they undertake.”

“The only way to avoid worry is to bring Christ to every difficulty.”

“Take your needs, joys, sorrows, worries, and fears to God. You will not be able to overwhelm Him, nor make Him tired.”

“Look up, you who are in doubt and afraid; for Jesus lives to make intercession for us.”

 

Ellen 4.

“God does not deal with us as human beings treat one another. His thoughts are of mercy, love, and tender compassion.”

“Love is a plant of divine origin that must be cultivated among us.”

“The time spent in criticizing the motives and deeds of Christ’s servants would be better spent in prayer.”

“If we have good religion at home, we will have good religion in the church.”

“The greater the ambient darkness, the greater the clarity of the light which shines forth from Christian faith and example.”

“Separate yourselves from your idols and from the world, and the world will not separate you from God.”

“You who have in your heart the desire to obtain something better than what the world can give, recognize in this need the voice of God speaking to your mind.”

 

Ellen 5.

“If you want to find in the mine of truth, the richest treasures, you must dig deep.”

“If the heart was renewed by the Spirit of God, life will bear witness to it.”

“The Bible presents a perfect standard of character; is an infallible guide under all circumstances until the end of life’s journey.”

“The work in heaven never ceases, and man should not rest from doing good.”

 

Frases Cristãs