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Archive for the 'Church History' Category

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Thanking God for the Reformation

Part 7

What are Romans 1:16-17 and Romans 3:22-23 all about that to be the catalyst for change and reformation of Martin Luther?

 

The Church before the Reformation G’day and welcome to our series, Thanking God for the Reformation, where we are looking at and celebrating that momentous event in history, and including in that, Church history. These are extracts from the book “Heroes And Heretics Abound” available on Amazon sites.

 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:21-24

We know that the verses from Romans 1:16-17 were used by God, to be the catalyst for Martin Luther to commence what we call the Reformation. But what is it about these verses, caused him to think like that?

Please do download the podcast using the link below and hear what this message has to say for you today in the 21st century: some 2,000 years after they were written and 500 years after affecting Martin Luther - words which are still alive and active today.

 

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Thanking God for the Reformation

Part 6: Into The 18th Century and The Age of Reason

 

G’day and welcome to our series, 'Thanking God for the Reformation', where we are looking at and celebrating that momentous event in history, and including in that, Church history. These are extracts from the book “Heroes And Heretics Abound” available on Amazon sites.

The 18th century is widely regarded as the ‘Age of Reason’ – the age of scientific discovery. Science was discovering the natural laws that governed the earth. Quickly God was become merely at best an impersonal observer and the supernatural, spiritual worlds and the divine inspiration of Scriptures were being denied.
Within general society, the 'need for God' disappeared as science and philosophy felt they could explain everything without the need of a God or gods. For the church, this was a century of stagnation and decay. In the USA, the original evangelical fervour had faded into commerce and prosperity.
However, there were glimpses of the Church being empowered. Not all was lost! There were still glimmers of the church still being alive! In the mid-18th century there was a spiritual revival throughout the USA and Britain.

Come and hear more of this exciting adventure of Church History - the catalyst of which was the birth of the Reformation commenced by Martin Luther... We look to America and Jonathon Edwards and return to England and the Wesley brothers.

The church is almost 2000 years old now. The Holy Spirit is still at work, empowering the church despite the Age of Reasoning and the wide-spread ignorance of the spiritual aspects of life.

This is the last in this series! The story of the Church continues, and will continue until the object and source of the Church’s faith, Jesus Christ returns in glory just as He has promised to do! Let’s learn the lessons of Church History and give thanks to God for those who have gone before us and help make the Church what it is today.

 

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Thanking God for the Reformation

Part 5 - English Reformation

 

The Church before the Reformation G’day and welcome to our series, Thanking God for the Reformation, where we are looking at and celebrating that momentous event in history, and including in that, Church history. These are extracts from the book “Heroes And Heretics Abound” available on Amazon sites.

 

We are now in England in the early 16th century! Protestantism had commenced earlier in the 14th century with John Wycliffe who we looked at earlier. Wycliffe was the 'Morning Star of the English Reformation'. The main issue in the 14th to 16th centuries, as we have seen, was the movement towards 'None but Christ saves'. That is, the Gospel is good news for all of humanity, regardless of who they are, that nobody can earn their salvation, but rather salvation is a free gift from God for all those who choose to receive it. The main issue in the 17th century however, was 'None but Christ reigns'. How so? How did this Reformation come about?

Download the mp3 podcast using the links below to learn more!

In today's Podcast we look at such people & events of history as:

  • Henry VIII
  • Pope Clement VII
  • Thomas Cranmer
  • Mary Tudor also know as "Queen Bloody Mary"
  • Queen Elizabeth I
  • James VI of Scotland
  • James I of England
  • Presbyterian
  • National Covenant
  • Puritans
  • Separatists
  • Baptists

 

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Thanking God for the Reformation

Part 4

 Luther was not alone!

G’day and welcome to our series, Thanking God for the Reformation, where we are looking at and celebrating that momentous event in history, and including in that, Church history. These are extracts from the book “Heroes And Heretics Abound” available on Amazon sites.

However, Martin Luther was not alone in reforming the Church. Not by a long way. Let's look together at who these people were, thanking God for them as we hear about just three of these people:

  • Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531)
  • John Calvin (1509-1564)
  • Menno Simons (1496-1561)


Additionally we look briefly at the response to the Protestant movement, including a Counter Reformation. Download the mp3 using the links below to hear more about this fascinating period of Church History, which still resonates today...

 

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Thanking God for the Reformation

Part 3 - Luther's 95 Theses

 G’day and welcome to our series, Thanking God for the Reformation, where we are looking at and celebrating that momentous event in history, and including in that, Church history. These are extracts from the book “Heroes And Heretics Abound” available on Amazon sites.

As we saw yesterday in Part 2 of this series, on 31st October 1517, Luther nailed his 95 Theses, statements against indulgences, to the Castle Church door at Wittenberg. Here are the opening 3 statements of Luther’s 95 Theses… Download the audio mp3 using the link below to hear them all… They may not be as you think!

 

1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Matthew 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.

 

 These are extracts from the book “Heroes And Heretics Abound” available on Amazon sites.

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Thanking God for the Reformation

Part 2 - Reformation Is Born

 

The Church before the Reformation G’day and welcome to our series, Thanking God for the Reformation, where we are looking at and celebrating that momentous event in history, and including in that, Church history. These are extracts from the book “Heroes And Heretics Abound” available on Amazon sites.


Change is gathering apace and we now see a great split. A split from within the Roman Catholic Church – the beginnings of the Protestant Church. Our main person we will look at is Martin Luther – one of the very giants of Church history.

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Luther was the Professor of Biblical Studies at Wittenberg University in Germany. Luther tried to find God as an Augustinian monk but he was unable to come to terms with God's righteous demands. He eventually realised through prayer and reading the Scriptures, that he could do nothing of his own to fulfil or satisfy God’s righteous demands upon him. He came to see that justification before Almighty God was by faith alone, through grace alone, which was a gift of God.

Included in the aftermath of this discovery, were these key dates and events as the Reformation of Christianity and the Church gathered pace.

1517: Luther’s 95 Theses, statements against indulgences were nailed to the Castle Church door at Wittenberg on 31st October He rapidly gained a following in Germany, and was aided by the advent of the printing press.
1519: Luther publicly denied the supremacy and infallibility of the Pope and Church.
1520: Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X
1521: Diet Of Worms. Luther was outlawed by Emperor Charles V of Spain. He was hidden by friends for 8 months, during which he translated the New Testament into German.
1528: Diet Of Spruger. A change in German law allowed each German State to follow the religion of its reigning prince. Once announced, change of religion was forbidden.
1529: Diet Of Speyer. Decides the Lutheran states were to remain Lutheran and the Catholic states to remain Catholic; not allowed to change. Evangelical princes protested at the restriction and the name Protestant was given to this movement.
1530: Diet Of Augsburg. Protestants submitted a statement of belief which was rejected, but became the basis of Lutheran doctrine.
1547: war broke out between Catholic and Protestant states. This war was won by the Catholics, but Protestantism was finally recognised legally in 1552.

Core Truths

There were 3 main truths resulting from this Reformation which we hold fast today in general in large parts of the Church, particularly Protestantism:

  • Final authority of God's Word
  • Justification by faith, a gift of God's grace
  • The priesthood of all believers.


Lutheranism spread from Germany to Denmark, Norway and Sweden. However, having said that, it should be noted that, wrongly or rightly, Luther still accepted as truth the following theological standpoints:

  • Consubstantiation - a 'real presence' of Christ's body with bread and wine though not that the bread actually became His body. As opposed to transubstantiation held by the Roman Catholic Church which says the bread and wine becomes the flesh and blood of Jesus.
  • Infant baptism as necessary for salvation.


We may get the idea that this man was dour and humourless. However, he maintained a sense of humour and obviously like laughing. An indication of that, is in this quote attributed to him:

“If you are not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there.”

Tomorrow in part 3, we will look at Luther's 95 Theses...

 

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Thanking God for the Reformation

Part 1

 

The Church before the Reformation G’day and welcome to our series, Thanking God for the Reformation, where we are looking at and celebrating that momentous event in history, and including in that, Church history. These are extracts from the book “Heroes And Heretics Abound” available on Amazon sites.

Download the mp3 using the link below to listen to the full

We start, however, in the 14th and 15th centuries where there was a great European revival of interest in the values of classical Greek and Roman literature, art, philosophy and politics. It started in Italy and spread throughout Europe. Scholars were called humanists as they moulded their life on the teachings of the great Greek and Roman classical literature. Scholastic freedom grew exponentially. There was also an increase in other areas of life: Roman morality, paganism, the Greek New Testament and the study thereof. Many new universities throughout Europe were started.

We look together at three men, albeit briefly, at what they had to do with the Church at that time:

  • Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498)
  • John Colet (1466-1519)
  • Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (1467-1536)

Erasmus is described as the one who laid the egg which was hatched my Martin Luther...

We then conclude today with a look at the Devotional Movement and the prime architect, Thomas à Kempis...

Download the mp3 using the link below to listen to the full text

 

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Partakers Friday Prayers!


We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations - that reveals Church unity!


Today we pray a Morning Prayer from the Syrian Clementine Liturgy. This Liturgy, which dates from the 4th century, was celebrated in Syria and throughout the Church of Antioch. It is the oldest model known in Antioch, and is a liturgy is related to the Apostle James. Come pray! Play & download the video and share this page!


A Morning Prayer from the 4th Century Syrian Clementine Liturgy

O God,

You are the unsearchable abyss of peace,

the ineffable sea of love,

the fountain of blessings,

and the bestower of affection.

~~~~~

O God,

You who sends peace to those that receive it;

open to us this day the sea of Your love,

and water us with the plenteous streams

from the riches of Your grace.

~~~~~

Make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace.

Kindle in us the fire of Your love;

sow in us Your fear;

strengthen our weakness by Your power!

~~~~~

Bind us closely to You

and to each other

in one firm bond of unity;

for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Amen.


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HAHA 28

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Part 28

The Church at the start of the Age of Reason

G’day! Welcome to Partakers and to our series, HAHA – Heroes and Heretics Abound. Together we are looking at the story of the church from its origins through to the Age of Reasoning in the 18th century. Today we are the eighteenth century and to the last in this series.

The 18th century is widely regarded as the ‘Age of Reason’ – the age of scientific discovery. Science was discovering the natural laws that governed the earth. With the advent of the theory of evolution, the idea of a supernatural world was dispensed with. Quickly God had become merely at best an impersonal observer and the supernatural, spiritual worlds and the divine inspiration of Scriptures were being denied.

Within general society, the 'need for God' disappeared as science and philosophy felt they could explain everything without the need of a God or gods. For the church, this was a century of stagnation and decay. In the USA, the original evangelical fervour had faded into commerce and prosperity.

However, there were glimpses of the Church being empowered. Not all was lost! There were still glimmers of the church still being alive! In the mid-18th century there was a spiritual revival throughout the USA and Britain.

America – In America, there was the Great Awakening! Revival started in 1730 under the passionate and spiritual preaching of Jonathon Edwards. He was followed by George Whitfield, an Englishman who waited for 6 weeks in 1740 and preached to crowds of thousands. Many thousands turned to the church and became Christians during this time of revival.

Jonathon Edwards (1703 – 1758) – Edwards’ conversion took place when one day he was reading 1 Timothy 1:17 “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Later in life he looked back and wrote "As I read the words, there came into my soul, and was as it were diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being; a new sense, quite different from any thing I ever experienced before… I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to him in heaven; and be as it were swallowed up in him for ever!" You can see the reference in it's context by clicking here 

As regards to his approach to science, rather than scurrying away from it as many church leaders did, Edwards like some others, embraced it! As he went on in life, while many in the church found that science was pushing them to an impersonal view of God, Edwards went the other way. He embraced the natural world as evidence of God’s craftsmanship and design. He went on to become perhaps America’s finest philosopher and thinking as well as a mighty preacher and church leader.

Wales – In Wales, revival broke out in the Church of England in 1738-1742 under the divinely inspired preaching of Howell Harris and Griffith Jones. It was during this time that George Whitefield was converted before he went to the USA to preach the same gospel there!

England – Perhaps the greatest names in England were the Wesley brothers - John (1703 - 1791) and Charles (1707 - 1788)! Together they revitalised a church quickly stagnating! Open air preaching, vibrant songs and zealous sermons were their hallmarks. At the heart of their preaching and hymnody were these thoughts “Justifying faith implies, not only a divine evidence or conviction that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, but a sure trust and confidence that Christ died for my sins, that He loved me and gave Himself for me.” You can see the reference in it's context by clicking here.

Many came to faith because of them, and these people were discipled methodically. Together they founded the Methodist movement which gave birth to the Methodist denomination.

The church is almost 1800 years old now. The Holy Spirit is still at work, empowering the church despite the Age of Reasoning and the ignorance of the spiritual aspects of life.

That’s it for this time! That is the conclusion of our series HAHA! I hope you have enjoyed this speedy journey in the life of the Church! The story of the Church continues, and will continue until the object and source of the Church’s faith, Jesus Christ returns in glory just as He has promised to do! Thanks for listening! Come back to Partakers, where every day there is something new to encourage your walk as a Christian in the 21st century.

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Part 27

The Church in the Stuart Period


G’day and welcome to Partakers and to our series, HAHA – Heroes and Heretics Abound. Together we are looking at the story of the church from its origins through to the Age of Reasoning in the 18th century. Last time we looked at the Protestant Reformation gathering apace in 16th century England.

The main issue in the 16th century, as we saw together was “None but Christ saves” - that the Gospel is good news for all of humanity, that nobody can earn their salvation, but rather salvation is a free gift from God for all those who choose to receive it.

The main issue in the 17th century however, was 'None but Christ reigns'. The Stuart monarchy promoted the 'Divine Right of Kings', the God given authority to rule country and church. James VI of Scotland became king in 1567, and tried to re-establish the Episcopalian system, undermining the Presbyterian system. In 1603, he became the King of England as well and became James I of England.

The Scots never accepted his authority over the church and fought to maintain religious freedom. James and his son Charles harassed the Puritans and drove many out of the country to Holland. King James I however did authorise a new translation of the Bible – what we today know as the King James Version or Authorised Version.

National Covenant - The Archbishop of Canterbury tried to impose a new system of Church Government (Episcopalian) on Scotland, but the Scots rejected this and many signed a national covenant to maintain the freedom of the Presbyterian Church.

1638 - The General Assembly of the Church to establish who was head. The people led by Henderson accepted the king as king, but not as the head of the church. War broke out and the Scots, under General Alexander Leslie, defeated Charles in 1640.

1643 - Both the English and Scottish Parliaments signed a Covenant binding themselves to seek the reformation of religion along Reformed lines.

1643-49 - The Westminster Assembly of divines met to establish a basis for a united church in Britain. The Westminster Confession of Faith became the statement of faith for the Presbyterian Church.

The Puritans - Many Christians wanted greater reformation in the Church, following Calvin's model of Church Government and worship. Some separated from the Church of England altogether because they were considered still to be too closely attached with the Roman Catholic Church. . They formed distinctive groups embracing a greater purity of worship, doctrine and personal piety. Some went so far as to totally separate themselves from all other Christians and started autonomous local gatherings of believers. These independent churches were the beginning of the Congregational Church.

The Separatists -  These Separatists were persecuted by both the Roman Catholic & Protestant churches, and many were driven out of England to Holland were there was great religious freedom. They were hounded out of England by King James I and then by King Charles. Many left for Holland. However in 1620, some returned to England and left for America (New England) on the Mayflower. They wanted a new land where they could worship God with total freedom and virtually establish His kingdom on earth. By 1643 some 20,000 had arrived resulting in America's origins being deeply religious.

The Baptists - Some of these Puritans maintained believers baptism by immersion was also essential. This started John Smyth in an independent church in Holland. A remnant of this church returned to England, and established the first Baptist Church, resulting in over 300 churches in England by 1660.

That’s it for this time! Next time in our series HAHA, we will look at the last of this series - the church in the 18th century confronted by the Age of Reason and scientific materialism! Thanks for listening! Come back to Partakers where every day there is something new to encourage your walk as a Christian in the 21st century.

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