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.


From:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesley

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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.

From:
https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo%C3%A3o_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



From:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.

From:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Calvin

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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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Organising the church
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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.
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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”.
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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.
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Catechisms
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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
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“Faith alone justifies us, and not works”.
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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.”
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The Luther Bible influenced other vernacular translations, such as William Tyndale’s English Bible (1525 forward), a precursor of the King James Bible.

Hymnodist
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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The affair caused lasting damage to Luther’s reputation.

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

From:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther

Reformers – Jan Hus (1369 – 1415)

Hus by an unknown artist, 16th century

Jan Hus, sometimes Anglicized as John Hus or John Huss, also referred to in historical texts as Iohannes Hus or Johannes Huss) was a Czech theologian, Roman Catholic priest, philosopher, master, dean and rector of the Charles University in Prague, church reformer, inspirator of Hussitism, a key predecessor to Protestantism and a seminal figure in the Bohemian Reformation.

After John Wycliffe, the theorist of ecclesiastical reform, Hus is considered the first Church reformer, as he lived before Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. His teachings had a strong influence on the states of Western Europe, most immediately in the approval of a reformed Bohemian religious denomination, and, more than a century later, on Martin Luther himself. He was burned at the stake for heresy against the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, including those on ecclesiology, the Eucharist, and other theological topics.

After Hus was executed in 1415, the followers of his religious teachings (known as Hussites) rebelled against their Roman Catholic rulers and defeated five consecutive papal crusades between 1420 and 1431 in what became known as the Hussite Wars. Both the Bohemian and the Moravian populations remained majority Hussite up until the 1620s, when a Protestant defeat in the Battle of the White Mountain caused the Lands of the Bohemian Crown to return under Habsburg control and become a subject to a campaign of return to Roman Catholicism.

Early life

Jan Hus was born in Husinec, Bohemia, c. 1369. At an early age he traveled to the Imperial City of Prague, where he supported himself by singing and serving in churches. His conduct was positive and his commitment to his studies was remarkable.

In 1393, Hus earned the degree of Bachelor of Arts at the University of Prague, and he earned his master’s degree in 1396. In 1400, he was ordained as a priest. In 1402 Hus began preaching inside the city demanding a reformation of the Church. He served as rector of the University of Prague in 1402–03. He was appointed a preacher at the newly built Bethlehem Chapel around the same time. Hus was a strong advocate for the Czechs and the Realists, and he was influenced by the writings of John Wycliffe. Although church authorities banned many works of Wycliffe in 1403, Hus translated Trialogus into Czech and helped to distribute it.

Career

Hus attacked the Church by denouncing the moral failings of clergy, bishops, and even the papacy from his pulpit.
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In 1406, two Bohemian students brought to Prague a document bearing the seal of the University of Oxford and praising Wycliffe. Hus proudly read the document from his pulpit.
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Papal Schism

In 1408, the Charles University in Prague was divided by the Western Schism, in which Gregory XII in Rome and Benedict XIII in Avignon both claimed the papacy. Wenceslaus felt Gregory XII might interfere with his plans to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor.
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Antipope Alexander V

In 1409, the Council of Pisa tried to end the schism by electing Alexander V as Pope, but Gregory and Benedict did not submit. (Alexander was declared an “antipope” by the Council of Constance in 1418.)
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Crusade against Naples

Alexander V died in 1410 and was succeeded by John XXIII (also later declared an antipope). In 1411, John XXIII proclaimed a crusade against King Ladislaus of Naples, the protector of rival Pope Gregory XII. This crusade was preached in Prague as well. John XXIII also authorized indulgences to raise money for the war. Priests urged the people on and these crowded into churches to give their offerings. This traffic in indulgences was to some a sign of the corruption of the church needing remediation.
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Hus asserted that no Pope or bishop had the right to take up the sword in the name of the Church; he should pray for his enemies and bless those that curse him; man obtains forgiveness of sins by true repentance, not money.
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Hus leaves Prague and appeals to Jesus Christ

By this time, Hus’ ideas had become widely accepted in Bohemia, and there was broad resentment against the Church hierarchy. The attack on Hus by the Pope and Archbishop caused riots in parts of Bohemia. Wenceslaus and his government took the side of Hus, and the power of his adherents increased from day to day. Hus continued to preach in the Bethlehem Chapel. The churches of the city were put under the ban, and the interdict was pronounced against Prague. To protect the city, Hus left and went into the countryside, where he continued to preach and write.

Before Hus left Prague, he decided to take a step which gave a new dimension to his endeavors. He no longer put his trust in an indecisive King, a hostile Pope or an ineffective Council. On 18 October 1412 he appealed to Jesus Christ as the supreme judge. By appealing directly to the highest Christian authority, Christ himself, he bypassed the laws and structures of the medieval Church. For the Bohemian Reformation, this step was as significant as the 95 theses nailed to the door of the Wittenberg church by Martin Luther in 1517.

After Hus left Prague for the country, he realized what a gulf there was between university education and theological speculation on one hand, and the life of uneducated country priests and the laymen entrusted to their care on the other. Therefore, he started to write many texts in Czech, such as basics of the Christian faith or preachings, intended mainly for the priests whose knowledge of Latin was poor.

Trial

On 5 June 1415, he was tried for the first time, and for that purpose was transferred to a Franciscan monastery, where he spent the last weeks of his life. Extracts from his works were read, and witnesses were heard. He refused all formulae of submission, but declared himself willing to recant if his errors should be proven to him from the Bible. Hus conceded his veneration of Wycliffe, and said that he could only wish his soul might some time attain unto that place where Wycliffe’s was. On the other hand, he denied having defended Wycliffe’s doctrine of The Lord’s Supper or the forty-five articles; he had only opposed their summary condemnation. King Sigmund admonished him to deliver himself up to the mercy of the Council, as he did not desire to protect a heretic.

At the last trial, on 8 June 1415, thirty-nine sentences were read to him, twenty-six of which had been excerpted from his book on the Church (De ecclesia), seven from his treatise against Palecz (Contra Palecz), and six from that against Stanislav ze Znojma (Contra Stanislaum). The danger of some of these doctrines to worldly power was explained to Sigismund to incite him against Hus. Hus again declared himself willing to submit if he could be convinced of errors. This declaration was considered an unconditional surrender, and he was asked to confess:

that he had erred in the theses which he had hitherto maintained;
that he renounced them for the future;
that he recanted them; and
that he declared the opposite of these sentences.

He asked to be exempted from recanting doctrines which he had never taught; others, which the assembly considered erroneous, he was not willing to revoke; to act differently would be against his conscience. These words found no favorable reception. After the trial on 8 June, several other attempts were purportedly made to induce him to recant, which he resisted.

Condemnation

The condemnation took place on 6 July 1415, in the presence of the assembly of the Council in the Cathedral. After the High Mass and Liturgy, Hus was led into the church. The Bishop of Lodi (then Giacomo Balardi Arrigoni) delivered an oration on the duty of eradicating heresy; then some theses of Hus and Wycliffe and a report of his trial were read.
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With curses, Hus’ ornaments were taken from him, his priestly tonsure was destroyed, and the sentence of the Church was pronounced, stripping him of all rights, and he was delivered to secular authorities. Then a tall paper hat was put upon his head, with the inscription “Haeresiarcha” (i.e. the leader of a heretical movement). Hus was led away to the stake under a strong guard of armed men.

Execution
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God is my witness that the things charged against me I never preached. In the same truth of the Gospel which I have written, taught, and preached, drawing upon the sayings and positions of the holy doctors, I am ready to die today.
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Aftermath

Responding with horror to the execution of Hus, the people of Bohemia moved even more rapidly away from Papal teachings, provoking Rome to pronounce a crusade against them (1 March 1420): Pope Martin V issued a Papal bull authorising the killing of all supporters of reformers like Hus and Wycliffe.

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But the doctrine was seized eagerly by the radical party, the Taborites, who made it the central point of their system. According to their book, the Church is not that hierarchy which is generally designated as Church; the Church is the entire body of those who from eternity have been predestined for salvation.
Christ, not the pope, is its head. It is no article of faith that one must obey the pope to be saved. Neither internal membership in the Church nor churchly offices and dignities are a surety that the persons in question are members of the true Church.

To some, Hus’s efforts were predominantly designed to rid the Church of its ethical abuses, rather than a campaign of sweeping theological change. To others, the seeds of the Reformation are clear in Hus’s and Wycliffe’s writings. In explaining the plight of the average Christian in Bohemia, Hus wrote, “One pays for confession, for mass, for the sacrament, for indulgences, for churching a woman, for a blessing, for burials, for funeral services and prayers. The very last penny which an old woman has hidden in her bundle for fear of thieves or robbery will not be saved. The villainous priest will grab it.” (Macek, 16)

Legacy
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Although Bohemia was the site of one of the most significant pre-reformation movements, there are only few Protestant adherents remaining in modern times; mainly due to historical reasons such as persecution of Protestants by the Catholic Habsburgs, particularly after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620; restrictions during the Communist rule; and also the ongoing secularization.

Jan Hus was a key contributor to Protestantism, whose teachings had a strong influence on the states of Europe and on Martin Luther.
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Jan Hus is considered as a martyr saint in some jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church.


Jan Hus preaching, illumination from a Czech manuscript, 1490s


From:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Hus

Reformers – John Wycliffe (1320 – 1384)

John Wycliffe was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, and seminary professor at the University of Oxford. He was an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century.

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

Wycliffe was also an advocate for translation of the Bible into the vernacular. He completed a translation directly from the Vulgate into Middle English in the year 1382, now known as Wycliffe’s Bible. It is probable that he personally translated the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and it is possible he translated the entire New Testament, while his associates translated the Old Testament. Wycliffe’s Bible appears to have been completed by 1384, additional updated versions being done by Wycliffe’s assistant John Purvey and others in 1388 and 1395.

Wycliffe’s followers were known as Lollards and followed his lead in advocating predestination, iconoclasm, and the notion of caesaropapism, while attacking the veneration of saints, the sacraments, requiem masses, transubstantiation, monasticism, and the very existence of the Papacy.

Beginning in the 16th century, the Lollard movement was regarded as the precursor to the Protestant Reformation. Wycliffe was accordingly characterised as the evening star of scholasticism and the morning star of the English Reformation. Wycliffe’s writings in Latin greatly influenced the philosophy and teaching of Czech reformer Jan Hus, whose execution in 1415 sparked a revolt and led to the Hussite Wars.

Politics
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He entered the politics of the day with his great work De civili dominio (“On Civil Dominion”). This called for the royal divestment of all church property. His ideas on lordship and church wealth caused his first official condemnation in 1377 by Pope Gregory XI, who censured 19 articles. Wycliffe argued that the Church had fallen into sin and that it ought therefore to give up all its property and that the clergy should live in complete poverty. The tendency of the high offices of state to be held by clerics was resented by many of the nobles. John of Gaunt, who had his own reasons for opposing the wealth and power of the clergy, possibly used a naive Wycliffe as his tool.

Doctrines

Wycliffe had come to regard the scriptures as the only reliable guide to the truth about God, and maintained that all Christians should rely on the Bible rather than on the teachings of popes and clerics. He said that there was no scriptural justification for the papacy.

Theologically, his preaching expressed a strong belief in predestination that enabled him to declare an “invisible church of the elect”, made up of those predestined to be saved, rather than in the “visible” Catholic Church. To Wycliffe, the Church was the totality of those who are predestined to blessedness. No one who is eternally lost has part in it. There is one universal Church, and outside of it there is no salvation.

His first tracts and greater works of ecclesiastical-political content defended the privileges of the State. By 1379 in his De ecclesia (“On the Church”), Wycliffe clearly claimed the supremacy of the king over the priesthood. He rejected the concept of purgatory, and disapproved of clerical celibacy, pilgrimages, the selling of indulgences and praying to saints.

So far as his polemics accord with those of earlier antagonists of the papacy, it is fair to assume that he was not ignorant of them and was influenced by them. It was Wycliffe who recognised and formulated one of the two major formal principles of the Reformation – the unique authority of the Bible for the belief and life of the Christian.

Attack on monasticism
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In the 1380 Objections to Friars, he calls monks the pests of society, enemies of religion, and patrons and promoters of every crime. He directed his strongest criticism against the friars, whose preaching he considered neither scriptural nor sincere, but motivated by “temporal gain”. While others were content to seek the reform of particular errors and abuses, Wycliffe sought nothing less than the extinction of the institution itself, as being repugnant to scripture, and inconsistent with the order and prosperity of the Church. He advocated the dissolution of the monasteries.

Views on the papacy
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The books and tracts of Wycliffe’s last six years include continual attacks upon the papacy and the entire hierarchy of his times. Each year they focus more and more, and at the last, the pope and the Antichrist seem to him practically equivalent concepts.

The English Bible

In keeping with Wycliffe’s belief that scripture was the only authoritative reliable guide to the truth about God, he became involved in efforts to translate the Bible into English.
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For this reason the Wycliffites in England were often designated by their opponents as “Bible men”.

Last days

In the years before his death in 1384 he increasingly argued for Scriptures as the authoritative centre of Christianity, that the claims of the papacy were unhistorical, that monasticism was irredeemably corrupt, and that the moral unworthiness of priests invalidated their office and sacraments.
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Legacy

Wycliffe was instrumental in the development of a translation of the Bible in English, thus making it accessible to laypeople. He also had a strong influence on Jan Hus.
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John Wycliffe at work in his study


From:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wycliffe

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.

From:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Waldo

History of Protestantism in Brazil

A Brief History of Protestantism in Brazil
By Alderi Souza de Matos

The political-religious context (1500-1822)

Portugal emerged as an independent nation of Spain during the Reconquista (1139-1249), that is, the struggle against the Muslims who had conquered much of the Iberian Peninsula several centuries before. His first king was D. Afonso Henriques. The new country had strong links with England, with which it would later sign the Treaty of Windsor in 1386. The apogee of Portugal’s history was the period of great navigations and great discoveries, with the consequent formation of the Portuguese colonial empire in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

At the end of the Middle Ages, the strong integration between the church and the state in the Iberian Peninsula gave rise to the phenomenon known as “patronage” or royal patronage. By the standard, the Church of Rome gave a civil ruler a certain degree of control over a national church in appreciation for its Christian zeal and as an incentive for future actions in favor of the church. Between 1455 and 1515, four popes granted patronage rights to the Portuguese kings, who were thus rewarded for their efforts to defeat the Moors, discover new lands and bring other peoples to Christianity.

Therefore, the discovery and colonization of Brazil was a joint venture of the Portuguese State and the Catholic Church, in which the crown played the predominant role. The state provided ships, funded expenses, built churches and paid the clergy, but also had the right to appoint bishops, collect tithes, approve documents, and interfere in almost every area of church life.

One of the first official representatives of the Portuguese government to visit Brazil was Martim Afonso de Souza, in 1530. Three years later, the system of hereditary captaincies was implemented, but it was not successful. In view of this, Portugal began to appoint general governors, the first of whom was Tomé de Sousa, who arrived in 1549 and built Salvador in Bahia, the first capital of the colony.

With Tomé de Sousa came the first members of a new Catholic religious order that had recently been officialized (1540) – the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. Manoel da Nobrega, José de Anchieta and his companions were the first missionaries and educators of colonial Brazil. This order would operate uninterruptedly in Brazil for 210 years (1549-1759), exerting enormous influence on its religious and cultural history. Many Jesuits were defenders of the Indians, such as the famous priest Antonio Vieira (1608-97). At the same time, they became the largest landowners and slave masters of colonial Brazil.

In 1759 the Society of Jesus was expelled from all Portuguese territories by the prime minister of King Joseph I, Sebastião José de Carvalho and Melo, the Marquis of Pombal (1751-1777). Because of their wealth and influence, the Jesuits had many enemies among ecclesiastical leaders, landowners and civil authorities. His expulsion resulted both from the anti-clericalism that spread throughout Europe and from the “regalism” of Pombal, that is, the notion that all the institutions of society, especially the church, were to be entirely subservient to the king. Pombal also determined the transfer of the colonial capital from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro.

From the beginning of the colonization, the Portuguese crown was slow in its support to the church: the first diocese was founded in 1551, the second only in 1676 and in 1750 there were only eight dioceses in the vast territory. No seminary for the secular clergy was created until 1739. However, the crown never failed to collect tithes, which became the principal colonial tribute. With the expulsion of the Jesuits, who were largely independent of civil authorities, the church became even weaker.

During the colonial period, the activity of the Bandeirantes, adventurers who went through the interior in search of precious stones and slaves, was decisive for the territorial expansion of Brazil. His actions were facilitated and encouraged by the Iberian Union, that is, the control of Portugal by Spain for sixty years (1580-1640). The Bandeirantes even attacked the Jesuit missions of the Paraná river basin, known as “reductions”, bringing hundreds of Indians to the slave markets of São Paulo. The enslavement of Indians and blacks was a constant in the colonial period. Another striking phenomenon was the gold rush in Minas Gerais (1693-1760), which brought benefits and problems.

In the colonial period there were two quite distinct types of Catholicism in Brazil. In the first place, there was the religiosity of settlers, slaves and planters, centered in the “big house” and characterized by informality, a small emphasis on dogmas, devotion to the saints and Mary, and moral permissiveness. At the same time, in the urban centers there was the Catholicism of religious orders, more disciplined and aligned with Rome. There were also the brotherhoods, which sometimes had considerable independence from the hierarchy.

In conclusion, in the colonial period the state exercised a strict control over the ecclesiastical area. As a result, the church found it difficult to adequately carry out its evangelistic and pastoral work. Popular Catholicism was culturally strong, but weak on the spiritual and ethical levels. Despite its weaknesses, the church was an important factor in building unity and national identity.
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First Mass in Brazil
Anti-Protestantism as a symptom.
Brazil was colonized under the sign of the Counter-Reformation.

Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal Churches

The three waves or phases of Brazilian Pentecostalism were as follows: (a) 1910-1940 decades: simultaneous arrival of the Christian Congregation in Brazil and Assembly of God, who dominated the Pentecostal field for 40 years; (B) decades of 1950-1960: fragmentation of Pentecostalism with the emergence of new groups – Foursquare Gospel, Brazil For Christ, God is Love and many others (São Paulo context); (C) 70s and 80s: advent of neopentecostalism – Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, International Church of the Grace of God and others (Carioca context).

(A) Christian Congregation in Brazil: founded by the Italian Luigi Francescon (1866-1964). Based in Chicago, he was a member of the Italian Presbyterian Church and joined Pentecostalism in 1907. In 1910 (March-September) he visited Brazil and started the first churches in Santo Antonio da Platina (PR) and São Paulo, among Italian immigrants. He came 11 times to Brazil until 1948. In 1940, the movement had 305 “houses of prayer” and ten years later 815.

(B) Assembly of God: had as founders the Swedes Daniel Berg (1885-1963) and Gunnar Vingren (1879-1933). Baptists of origin, they embraced Pentecostalism in 1909. They met at a Pentecostal conference in Chicago. Like Luigi Francescon, Berg was influenced by Baptist pastor William H. Durham, who participated in the Los Angeles revival (1906). Feeling called to work in Brazil, they arrived in Bethlehem in November 1910. Their early adherents were members of a Baptist church with which they collaborated.

(B) Foursquare Church: founded in the United States by evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944). Missionary Harold Williams founded the first IEQ in Brazil in November 1951, in São João da Boa Vista. In 1953 began the National Crusade of Evangelization, being Raymond Boatright the main evangelist. The church emphasizes four aspects of Christ’s ministry: he who saves, baptizes with the Holy Spirit, heals and will come again. Women can exercise pastoral ministry.

(C) Evangelical Pentecostal Church Brazil For Christ: founded by Manoel de Mello, an evangelist of the Assembly of God who later became pastor of IEQ. Separated from the National Crusade of Evangelization in 1956, organizing the campaign “Brazil for Christ”, from which the church arose. He joined the WCC in 1969 (he resigned in 1986). In 1979 he inaugurated his great temple in Sao Paulo, being official speaker Philip Potter, secretary-general of the WCC. Present was the Cardinal Archbishop of São Paulo, Paulo Evaristo Arns. Manoel de Mello died in 1990.

(D) Church Deus é Amor (God is Love): founded by David Miranda (born in 1936), the son of a farmer from Paraná. Coming to São Paulo, he became a small Pentecostal church and in 1962 founded his church in Vila Maria. Soon it was transferred to the center of the city (Praça João Mendes). In 1979, the “world headquarters” was acquired in Baixada do Glicério, the largest evangelical temple in Brazil, with capacity for ten thousand people. In 1991 the church claimed to have 5,458 temples, 15,755 workers and 581 hours per day on radios, as well as to be present in 17 countries (mainly Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina).

(E) Universal Church of the Kingdom of God: founded by Edir Macedo (born 1944), the son of a merchant from Rio de Janeiro. He worked for 16 years in the State Lottery, during which time he went up to an administrative post. Of catholic origin, it entered the Church of New Life in adolescence. He left this church to found his own, originally called the Church of the Blessing. In 1977 he left public employment to devote himself to religious work. That same year came the name of IURD and the first radio program. Macedo lived in the United States from 1986 to 1989. When he returned to Brazil, he transferred the church’s headquarters to São Paulo and acquired Rede Record de Televisão. In 1990 the IURD elected three federal deputies. Macedo was imprisoned for twelve days in 1992, under the accusation of stelionate, quackery and healerism.

from:
maniadehistoria.wordpress.com

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.

 

“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.
https://www.slideshare.net/…

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.”
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…

The Truth Restored

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

(continues in the comments … )