Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our Collective (Protestant) Short-term Memory

There was a point to the Protestant Reformation but it seems to have become obscured in the detritus of political correctness and its first-, or second-born; illegitimate child, Ecumenism. "You just need to be loving," is the melody line sung in many churches today. Love is good; it is the center piece of the Gospel; it is the focal point of Scripture and I refuse to even imply that love deserves anything but first place. To admit there is a "first place" is to admit the existence of those who "also ran."
I'd be willing to bet (this would be a thought-bet), that mainline protestants don't know how or why their church came into existence. Perhaps we don't know who may have shed their blood to build up what we say, "I believe," today.
Question: who was the 'Morningstar of the Reformation? Nope!. Martin Luther is the wrong answer. It was Wickliffe who was born in 1330 and died in 1384; a hundred years before the Holy Spirit led Martin Luther to comprehend and champion, "sola fide". Wickliffe was the first translate the Bible (Latin Vulgate to English), and put it into the hands of common people; people like us and our parents. Martin Luther and all the other reformers stand on the shoulders ofWickliffe.
Wickliffe outsmarted the Church of Rome (which was after his head, so to speak) by dying, which of course saved him from being martyred. But forty-years later the vindictive's dug up his remains, burned them and threw them into a nearby creek. Oh, the symbolism of it all. Just as the creek flowed to a river which eventually flowed to the ocean, so did the work of Wickliffe flow to all of Europe and eventually around the world. Who is powerful enough to stop the spread of truth?
Each of the succeeding reformers added a strand to the lifeline that was tossed by adept hands to save the world from being buried under tradition and baptized paganism. I realize perfectly well what I am saying and that some will be insulted, others angry, but some will say, "Thank you Lord."
For most of us television is preferable to reading but here is a short list of required reading for devoted Protestants;
1) D'Aubingne: The History of the Reformation
2) John Knox: The Reformation in Scotland
3) Foxe: Foxe's Book of Martyrs
It might be a long, cold winter (climatically, financially, politically, spiritually, [pick one]), so any or all of these would give one foundation for understanding the price that was paid by the reformers and the hundreds of thousands who believed and followed them. Deep runs the blood that was shed by Rome during the ages when men were trying to extinguish the candle of tradition and start a fire in the lighthouse of God's Word.
If you like working the Internet, check this out; Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre. [Paris; 24 August 1572]. That will give one pause and plenty of food for thought. When you pray this evening, thank the Lord for leading the world out from under the finely shod foot of Rome.
Make it a good day, a good read, and a life rededicated to Jesus the Christ. e.c.

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