Reformation Week

 

Yesterday, 497 years ago, a priest (and a monk) by the name of Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the door of the palace church in Wittenberg. Some say this started the Reformation, and in a way it did. But these were things he thought the church should discuss, and this was the normal method of bringing them to the authorities attention.

 

 

 

And see that’s the thing, the Reformation didn’t really get going until the Roman Church excommunicated Luther, that’s when he decided he had no more choice. And I note that the Roman Church also reformed along the same line quite soon as well. Even in churches, competition is a good thing, it seems. But there were some bad consequences as well of this schism 500 years ago, such as the 30 Years War which devastated Germany.

 

Some people have told me that every 4000 years the laity have to reform the church, and you know it does sort of seem like it. At Chalcedon in 451 we lost the Copts, In the Great Schism in 1054 the Orthodox split off from Rome, and in 1517  the Reformation got started. Well, its 2014 now, and all our churches seem riven by strife, What’s next? i doubt anyone knows, but I think we’d be well advised to stick pretty close together, or Islam or cultural relativism might inherit the earth. Perilous times, indeed.

 

One thing we should note in these times when so many try to restrict the availability of the internet and social media. One of the main factors in the success of the Reformation was the availability of a new social medium: The printing press, that spread the word of what was happening all over Europe within a few months, instead of years (if ever) as formerly.

 

Perilous times call for men and heroes, and Edward Bouverie Pusey has a message for us:

 

Many things will combine to wrest it from you, my younger brethren. Through one thing only can you hold it, the grace of God. New, though false, lights dazzle at the outset of life; novelty attracts ; the old faith may be pictured to you as antiquated ; a strict oneness of faith as illiberal ; the very Love of God is set in array against the Revelation of God, as though God could not mean what yet He has said ; belief in God, as He has revealed Himself, may be pictured to you as derogatory to God. “Go not after them, nor follow them,” is your Saviour’s warning as to those who shall come in His Name, and whom He hath not sent. Old must the faith be, since as soon as man needed redemption, the Redeemer was promised, and the truths of the Gospel lay implicitly involved in the revelation to Adam; and He Who eighteen hundred years ago, more fully declared it as the power of God unto salvation, changeth not. “One” must it be, for contradictories cannot both be true, and He has said, there is “One Faith,” as there is “One God ” and “One Lord.”

 

Read more at FAITH: THE GIFT OF GOD (17): HOLD FAST TO THE FAITH

 

Interestingly, he was a friend of the Blessed John Henry Newman. I hear that there is a coffee house in Oxford, that has two drinks, that are exactly the same, the Pusey, and the Newman. One is designed to stay and the other to go.

 

Last Sunday was Reformation Sunday and tomorrow is All Saints Sunday, or where I grew up Totenkopf, when we remember those that have gone before us in the Faith, Amongst them the Rev Dr. Martin Luther

 

 

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15 Responses to Reformation Week

  1. There is a big gap between Pusey, Newman and the Protestant Reformation! And of course this is both historical and theological. I am reminded of the Reformation debate between Cardinal Jacopo Sadoleto and John Calvin in Letters. Sadoleto’s prose is, as most of Roman Catholicism clothed in humanism, as we see it still is today, with men like the lastest pope “Francis”. But Calvin’s is biblically intense in the rhetoric of passion and the epistemology of the Reformation Protestant and Confessional! Thankfully the Catholic Church does have regenerate people, but not much has changed in their theology, I was raised in that church, Irish Roman Catholic…and the so-called land of Saints, Scholars & Kings! And with other good Irish men and people, we had men like the Anglican Archbishop James Ussher, but more important the Reformation of the Church, the Ecclesia semper reformada – the church always reforming in Spirit and Truth! Aye, I will take the passion and bible of Calvin, as too Luther! And in my opinion we can simply never Catholicize Luther! At least in the Roman sense. The true Church is Catholic and Universal, but not Papal! That’s my position, and I would recommend that open minds would read: The Council of Trent on Justification. If you can find the revelation of the Bible here, good luck!

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  2. Bible students (thats all of us) should see Alister McGrath’s classic book: Iustitia Dei, A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, (Cambridge 1986, Two Volumes). It is now in One Volume, (1998/2000 Cambridge). And here we can see that the R. Catholic and Protestant Reformational (Luther/Calvin, etc.) doctrine of Justification are miles apart!

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  3. Also, for those serious theological students out there, the book by Dr. Cornelis Venema (Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary), ‘The Gospel Of Free Acceptance In Christ, An Assessment of the Reformation and ‘New Perspectives’ on Paul, (The Banner of Truth Trust, 2006) is a must read!

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  4. the unit says:

    Fr. Robert I’ll never be able to read all that you recommend. I’ve mentioned where my training in faith in Jesus came from. It was always in simple terms. I had to google Christian justification to see that what I was taught was just that. In my case through Grace only.

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    • Amen Unit, that is what both the Bible and the Reformation/Reformers teach! But surely not “Catholicism”!

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      • the unit says:

        I never knew much about what Catholicism taught. I just thought in grammar school they taught we all had to have fish for lunch on Friday. 🙂

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        • the unit says:

          Perhaps it’s funny if not, well ok. Actually we ordered take home from Captain D’s last night. For me I love the hush puppies, don’t know the religious implication of that, other than corn bread with lots of butter is justification to eat too much. 🙂

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        • NEO says:

          I don’t either but agree with the cornbread and butter. 🙂

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        • the unit says:

          And for Fr. Robert…I didn’t have to “work” up an appetite either. 🙂

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        • the unit says:

          And Fr. Robert…NO slight meant to your educational effort. I studied and found that is old Norse meaning. Always love your explanations.

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        • @Unit: Not a problem at all mate, I come from simple Irish folk! I was taught common sense and manners as a wee lad. I respect your profound walk with our Lord!

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        • the unit says:

          Yes Fr. Robert, we’ve chatted for a while. You know I josh earnestly, not lie like Obama’s Josh Earnest. 🙂

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        • @Unit: Yes I am always “theologically” and “biblically” serious first, but being Irish (born there, Ireland), I have my own sense of joviality! Btw, “by Jove” comes from the sign of Jupiter! 😉 (From here we get “pater” or Father. In Roman mythology, Jupiter is the god ruling over all other gods and all people: identified with the Greek Zeus. Of course the largest planet!

          How’s that for a bit of know-nothing serious! 😉

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        • Btw, one of my Father’s (RIP) hobbies, being a scientist, was Astronomy. He had an astronomy club, and a rather large Telescope. I met some big scientific names along the way, mostly as a boy and young teen. Several Germans and of course Europeans. I had a great childhood!

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