Reflections Upon the Protestant Reformation

Preface

This time each year marks the anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation. Its beginning is attributed to that now famous, yet once obscure circumstance which took place five hundred years ago, when Martin Luther nailed ninety five-theological theses to the Wittenberg castle door. As I ponder the alignment of the two anniversaries, one annual the other bi millennial, I’m immediately drawn back to my own introduction to the history some thirty-two years ago. When I say “introduction” I don’t mean to say that I had never heard of the event called the Protestant Reformation, for indeed I had. What I mean to say is it had no personal significance to me before that time.

Growing up in what is supposed to be a Christian nation, I had no prior religious instruction whatsoever. Consequently, the Protestant Reformation was nothing more than some obscure historical event which took place hundreds of years ago, and as far as I knew it had no relevance to the present. My agnosticism on the matter changed however, right about this time in late 1985. It changed when I commenced to read a book on American history which had in its pages a section on the Reformation, one which dealt briefly with what it was about in reference to this nation’s founding. When I say “this nation” I mean America as an English colony settled by Puritans in the early part of the seventeenth century, long before it was a Republic.

While reading this book with its brief introduction to the Protestant Reformation, I was struck with the thought of how much of an influence it had upon the Republic that emerged at the end of the eighteenth century. For the principles presented in it focused on a restoration of religious freedom that was lost when institutional tyranny had been imposed upon the people of Europe in the Middle Ages. This involved the restoration of the knowledge of personal salvation with God, the overthrow of spiritual bondage to sin through dead works not found in the Bible. Without realizing it at the time, by pondering these things my own personal relationship with God, or lack thereof, was called into question. This inevitably directed me toward reading the word of God which when I did it freed me from the bondage of sin and death by the same truth that was rediscovered and recovered at the time of the Protestant Reformation. So here below in its entirety is what I read from that book.

The Protestant Reformation[1]

The Protestant Reformation was both a product of the Renaissance and a profound rejection of much of its humanistic emphasis. The Renaissance certainly prepared the way for Protestants with its emphasis upon going back to early or original documents, upon corruption with the passage of time, upon exact translation, with its opposition to superstition. And with its critical attitude toward what had come down from the most recent past. Most Protestant reformers were themselves men of the Renaissance in background and training.

On the other hand, if the Protestant Reformation was not an effort to restore the Medieval outlook, it was at least an effort to revive the focus upon the enduring and the eternal, the concern with final things, above all, with salvation. The mysticism which was so prominent in the late Middle Ages was present among some of the reformers. The belief in witches and witchcraft, too, which had been widespread in the late Middle Ages continued to be widespread among Protestants. It certainly ran counter to the Renaissance outlook.

Most of the difficulties of providing exact dates for the Renaissance do not apply to the Reformation. Its beginning and spread can be dated with considerable precision. Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses (propositions) on the church door at Wittenberg in 1517. He was tried at the Diet of Worms in 1521 and commanded to recant (withdraw his opposition) on some of his positions. Luther declared that unless he was persuaded of his error by evidence from the Scriptures and reason he could not and would not recant. The Reformation was underway. It spread rapidly, too, from place to place and country to country throughout northwestern Europe. Ulrich Zwingli succeeded in converting the German-speaking portion of Switzerland, or most of it, to the Protestant persuasion in the 1520s. Denmark became Lutheran in 1523, followed by Norway in 1537. England was taken out of the Roman Catholic Church in 1534, and in 1560 the Scottish church became Presbyterian.

All that is a way of saying, too, that Protestantism spread rapidly and that it must surely have been an idea for which the times were ripe. Certainly, there was a widespread belief that the Church needed extensive reform. Erasmus had done much to spread that idea. Renaissance popes lived in great splendor, lavished wealth upon fine furnishings for their residences, quite often had fathered several illegitimate children, and some were clearly depraved. The widespread sale and worship of relics (alleged remains of some part of the body of saints) was offensive to men of learning. The sale of indulgences (grants of forgiveness for sins) in order to raise money for great church enterprises was an open scandal. There had been no formal reform of the Church for more than two centuries, and it had become increasingly a worldly institution. The Church resisted all attempts at reform, so that at last the only option left open for those who would have reform was to revolt from it.

The two most influential leaders of the revolt from the Roman Catholic Church were Martin Luther[2] and John Calvin.[3] Luther belonged to a strictly disciplined order of monks and was a teacher. By his own account, despite his blameless life according to the teaching of the Church, he was uncertain about his relationship to God. He was impressed by the majesty and goodness of God and did not see how as worthless a creature as man could merit salvation. The sacraments and other good works prescribed by the Church did not seem to him sufficient to bridge the gulf between him and God. Thinking this way, he says that it came as a revelation when he read the words in Romans, 1:15: “The just shall live by faith.” And he came to believe that it was not through any efforts of his own nor by any good works that he could be reconciled to God. That was God’s doing, not his. He had only to believe and accept.

Luther and his followers dispensed with most of the sacraments. Luther held that the individual must approach God through Jesus Christ, and that no human intermediary was either necessary or effective. Thus, much of the priestly function of the clergy was abandoned. In short, the Medieval forms of the Church were cut away. The swift spread of Protestantism suggests that in religion, as elsewhere, many people no longer felt or believed in the system that had prevailed. Note, too, that this direct approach to God was individualistic, not corporate. This did not mean, at the time, that the individual was free to choose his own church or ways of worship— that was something that would develop well into the future—, but it did mean that the individualizing tendency of the Renaissance was entering a new realm.

John Calvin was quite different in temperament, in training, and in the cast of his mind from Martin Luther. Calvin was French; Luther was German. That is difference enough in itself, though Luther may have increased the difference by his own influence. Luther translated the Bible into German, and this was certainly a formative influence on the German language. Luther was emotional, volatile, passionate, and somewhat erratic; Calvin was cool, rational, precise, and persistent. Luther was trained in the philosophy of the Middle Ages; Calvin was much more the scholar of the Renaissance. Above all, Calvin was trained in the law, and his theology was logical and legalistic. But their differences should not be overemphasized. Calvin claimed to be following in Luther’s footsteps, to be developing his ideas and accepting much he had done as correct. Their paths did diverge, however, in the churches that were founded. The Lutheran church derived from Luther. The Reformed churches, Presbyterian usually, derived from Calvin.

Calvin’s most famous work was the Institutes of the Christian Religion. Protestant reformers generally placed great weight upon Scriptures, none more than Calvin. As one historian has said, “He saw the Bible as the sole reliable authority for our knowledge of God. Without attempting to accord equal weight to every passage of the Scriptures, he regarded the will of God as immutable and Christ as operating timelessly in both Testaments.” Calvin emphasized the sovereignty of God, the evil nature of man, God’s choice of men to salvation, and man’s dependency on God. He set forth a series of doctrines, supported them with extensive scriptural references, and spelled out the logical implications of the beliefs. Calvin was the theologian of the Protestant movement, and his influence went much beyond those who accepted his specific beliefs as a whole.

As late as the 1560’s, anyone following the course of religious developments in Europe might have concluded that all of the continent was going to be swept into the Protestant camp. The day of the Catholic Church was coming to a close, he might have concluded. Such an opinion would have been in error. At the very moment when it appeared that Catholicism was about to be overcome, the Church was headed for reform itself. At the council of Trent, which concluded its business in the early 1560’s, Catholic doctrine was reformulated and restated. The papacy had been reformed already. New religious orders, most notably the Jesuits, became the spearhead of a renewed religious zeal and vitality. Not only did the Church hold on to much of its following in southern Europe, but it once again became the church militant. Although Christian unity had been shattered, the vitality of Christianity had been revived in a diversity of churches.

Influence of the Reformation on America

The Reformation of the Christian church brought about a great deal of change upon European society, with its emphasis on the authority of the Scriptures, and upon the nature of the individual regarding standing with God in salvation. It spelled the end to spiritual and economic feudalism. Under the Medieval system of feudalism the individual was considered largely irrelevant, being consigned to exist entirely for the ends and purposes of the church and state. It was a model that was well suited to the Roman Church state. The Papacy represented an absolute religious monarchy over the populace, while the King did the same in the civil sense. This is where the phrase “for God and King” originated, for it gave the individual an identity, a kingdom, a religion, and a duty to fulfill within it from cradle to grave.

The first early push back to the feudal system came in the form of the Magna Carta, the establishment of English common law and Parliamentary government in the thirteenth century.[4] Although it did not bring an end to feudalism in England, it did begin to instill the idea of the individual having certain rights and representation within the minds of English subjects. This was furthered in the next century through the efforts of John Wycliffe[5] and the Lollard[6] movement associated with him. Wycliffe was a scholastic theologian and philosopher within the Roman Catholic church, who abhorred many of its teachings, especially the tyrannical authority of the papal system. Wycliffe especially abhorred the fact that people under the control of the papacy were denied the ability to read and hear the Bible spoken in their own language, since the only church approved translation of it was the Latin Vulgate. So John Wycliffe set out to use his language skills in order to translate the Bible from Latin into English for common use. English scholar William Tyndale[7] took this one step further in the sixteenth century by translating the Bible into English from the original Hebrew and Greek texts, and for the same reason. Its result was a revolution of thought in the English-speaking world owing to the fact that Tyndale coined many new English words and phrases in the translation in order to convey theological concepts accurately from their original languages. This also helped to fuel the Reformation in England which had begun in Germany by Martin Luther, and furthered in Switzerland by John Calvin.

Along with the spiritual effects of the Reformation through the proliferation of Scripture knowledge, there also came another effect as well. This was the beginning of a desire by some toward the separating of both the state and the church from each other in society, though the residual effects of feudalism lingered on for quite a long time afterward as seen in many conflicts which ensued. Various questions were raised about church polity and liturgy, and what exactly was the relationship of the church to the state. The specific conflicts that raged in England as a result of the Reformation are what brought the Pilgrim fathers to American shores early in the seventeenth century. Instead of trying to reform the then existing society, as the European Reformers did a century before, the Pilgrims were by God’s providence able to create an entirely new one from scratch, modeled after the Protestant ideals which emerged from the Reformation.

The religious makeup of the English colony was quite interesting. Each of the original thirteen states was established by charter of the King as independent colonies. Some had established churches while others did not. All the New England states except for Rhode Island established Congregationalism, while New York and several of the southern states were Anglican. Eventually, Rhode Island became a Baptist, Maryland a Roman Catholic, and Pennsylvania a Quaker state. By the time of the founding of the Republic, an attitude of toleration and respect for sincerely held religious convictions became enshrined in the Constitution.[7]

Biblical Considerations

Protestantism established several important principles that contributed heavily to the formation of early American thought about Christianity. With the reintroduction of the Bible, plainly taught and applied to the common man, Protestantism was responsible for a major shift in thought about not only church authority, but authority in general as it related to civil society. In Medieval days, the church and most notably the papacy, stood between God and the people. The institution of the church called the Magisterium was considered to be divinely inspired authority. So people knew nothing of God, of Christ, and of salvation but what they were told by the authority. This being, human authority and therefore, easily corruptible, it became exactly that.

By the restoration of Bible teaching, there came the knowledge of God’s authority in His Son Jesus Christ, who through His chosen apostles wrote His words in the pages of the New Testament. Jesus also affirmed the inspiration and authority of the Hebrew Old Testament.[8] The tyranny of corrupt men imposing false teachings and requirements on the masses of the people was effectively overthrown by this. It was not long too, before natural conclusions would be made concerning civil authorities as well, for they had previously exercised tyranny over people with the divinely claimed consent of the papacy. Protestantism eventually ended the feudal system which viewed both the church and state as a combined heavenly authority on earth. Instead, the two became thought of as authorities that have respect to their own spheres of influence, which are delegated by God to them through His word, and accountable to Him in the ultimate sense. Since Scripture reveals an authority structure in the church that relies on the common suffrage of the people in choosing its officers, it only stands to reason that the civil rulers should be chosen the same way.

Fundamental to spiritual freedom is the biblical theology of salvation. Salvation is a free gift from God which cannot be earned. The Medieval mind set viewed works as fundamental to acceptance with God. Therefore, it was legalistic in nature. Since it was focused primarily on what men did rather than what they believed, It had no assurance of salvation, only the threat of eternal damnation for those who did not measure up to the standards as set forth by the church. This way of thinking established morality as a standard for righteousness, one defined by the churches dogma and sacraments. But the word of God says otherwise. It says that righteousness is obtained by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:16,17).

Of what does this faith consist it is asked? We are told that it is faith in the righteousness of Christ according to His perfect life and sacrificial death. “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:21-26)

God declares the one who has faith in Jesus Christ as righteous (Rom. 5:1). The sin of the believer is imputed to Him at the cross, while His righteousness is imputed to their account, the forgiveness of sins and a right standing with God, all apart from any work that might or could be done by them. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Cor. 5:21).

Salvation with God, by faith in His word, ended more than a thousand years of religious tyranny. But something else happened as well. It is clear from the Bible that this direct, authoritative communication to men, by which they are bidden to respond in faith, negated any need for human priesthood. Instead it established the priesthood of the believer, in the sense that God’s people come to Him through their Savior and Advocate Jesus Christ. “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.” (Heb. 7:25-28).

Jesus Christ is the great High Priest of God’s people, who mediates on their behalf His righteousness and shed blood. “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (I John 2:1,2).

The continual benefit of His sacrifice and imputed righteousness removes the need for priests administering sacraments for reasons related to salvation. The Christian is not only free from the tyranny of the law’s demands, but is also able to live by faith in good conscience before God. The residual effect of this sort of direct accountability with God translated into a belief in the primacy of the conscience regarding everything in life. It laid the foundation for the concept of imputed rights given by God that became enshrined in the Bill of Rights.[9] Of course, there are laws enacted within civil society which the duly appointed authorities are duty bound to uphold in order to maintain peace and justice. And every person living within the jurisdiction of those laws is duty bound to submit themselves to the authorities according to it (Rom. 13:1-10). But the question of what a person should believe and practice in terms of their religion, or in terms of their political philosophy became the province of God and not of men. In other words, the right to believe and speak our mind and to associate voluntarily with whomever we choose, is sacred, and therefore, must be protected within society, for it is answerable only to God.

The Protestant Reformation completely redefined the concept of government. The Medieval concept of the kingdom of God was earthly and sensual, therefore, it was incumbent upon man to create a theocratic system on earth in order to implement it. This gave rise to the Holy Roman Empire that ruled Europe for a thousand years.[10] Within this empire there existed a sort of joint custody regarding control of the people under its rule. There was a completely autocratic view held of authority. And it was shared presumably by both the heads of state and the heads of the church. The relationship that existed between the church and state was extremely mysterious however, for no one really understood exactly how it operated. There was one church that exercised spiritual domination over numerous kingdoms, and there was a single Emperor in authority over the empire. Each King within the empire vied for the preeminence, always being ready to do the Popes bidding in exchange for his blessing. The kings of Europe were related through intermarriage manipulated by the Pope. This created mergers between kingdoms, ones that were approved by him. Wars between them were instigated by the Pope too, in order to accomplish his own ends and increase his power and wealth. Economic, civil and religious feudalism served this system quite well. It was constructed around the notion that God relied upon man to implement His kingdom on earth. In essence, it established man as the sovereign ruler of this earthly kingdom.

The Reformation turned this whole idea on its head by showing from Scripture that God is alone Sovereign in the world He created. The Scripture shows that God is not bound to earth, but transcends it being above and beyond it in His nature. “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings” (Acts 17:24-26). God does not need man for any reason, It is quite the opposite, he is dependant upon the Creator for everything including the development of the kingdom.

God does not just step back from creation as though it had some power or law of its own in order for it to operate. He is the Sovereign Ruler and upholder of every atom, every molecule of nature. Therefore, He superintends everything that comes to pass within the cosmos by His sovereign providence. “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.” (Ps. 115:3). It pleased God to appoint His Son both King and Heir of the world and the One through whom He does all these things (Col. 1:16-18; Heb. 1:1-4). Furthermore, He is the One through whom all earthly kings and authorities rule. Earthly rule is delegated authority, not inherent. The idea of some royal family or some ecclesiastical succession having an inherent right to rule on earth apart from His decree and providence is absolutely absurd. Every earthly ruler is put in their position by God, who will also remove them at His own discretion (Dan. 4:28-37).

Nevertheless, rulers in God’s kingdom are to be chosen by the people they govern. “When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.” (Deut. 17:14,15). The principle of elected representative government is enshrined in the Holy Scriptures. Although God is the one who decrees what earthly ruler will reign within a given sphere of dominion, it is the duty of the people to recognize who this is through normal circumstances of selection. A ruler must have the qualifications necessary for this calling, not simply the next in line of succession. Otherwise, how then would they be recognizable to the people as qualified? This principle makes the people responsible before God just as much as the ruler they choose.

The feudal system of Medieval Europe viewed the king as chosen by God, but recognition of it depended on the approval of the church, and more specifically that of the Pope. This gave the king an implicit Divine right over the people, one that elevated him above even the laws of the land. As long as he was on proper terms with the Pope anything done by a king was considered legitimate. This was challenged in England by the advent of the Magna Carta and the establishment of a Parliament. But the biblical principle of representative government chosen by the people did not come to fruition until after the Reformation, briefly in England first, but then permanently in America second.[11]

This raises an interesting question, doesn’t the idea too democratically choose a king, rather than having one imposed through autocratic means lead to the possibility of anarchy? When the history of Israel is examined, it reveals many things. Israel’s first king was Saul, who indeed was chosen by the people and placed into power by God (I Sam. 9:15-17). Saul’s reign turned out to be a disaster, as he ended up being replaced providentially by David rather than by an immediate heir. But this simply shows us that God rules by providence, beginning with His decree and ending with its execution in terms of the outcome of events. For when we examine the process of Saul’s election it is apparent that the people did not seek a king according to God’s specification, but rather, one that was like that of the pagan nations around them (I Sam. 8:4-9). So God gave them what they wanted in Saul in order to show them the folly of their desire, and that they would be ready to receive the man of God. “After this the people were ready to choose a king set before them by God’s own choosing. “And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22). Recognition of God’s will in choosing a leader requires the study of His word and submission to it by the people. “All these men of war, who could keep ranks, came to Hebron with a loyal heart, to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest of Israel were of one mind to make David king.” (I Chron. 12:38).

Concluding Remarks

The history of America has been shaped and directed by a Sovereign God, and a large part of that has included the influence of the Protestant Reformation. Many more things could be shown in order to highlight the influence it has had. Sadly though, today even in churches most people can barely recount anything about this. And it seems as though an anti Christian secular humanism has taken over and dismissed our heritage and its connection to the Christian faith. This is a direct result of apostasy in the church and the deliberate dumbing down of America through the public “fool” system. But its influence cannot be removed, no matter how ignorant and how obstinate people have become regarding God and His written word. If God was able to reform the church and the society that surrounded it in the sixteenth century through the power of His inspired written word, He is able to do it again if He chooses. “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.” (Ps. 115:3).

Notes:

[1] A Basic History of the United States, Volume 1, The Colonial Experience 1607-1774 by Clarence B. Carson, Ph.D. Published by Western Goals, 111 S. Columbia St. Alexandria, Virginia, 22314, 1983, The Protestant Reformation (pp 28-31).

[2] Ibid. (p28). Martin Luther (1483-1546) Luther was first a monk, then a priest and a university professor as a Roman Catholic. He took positions contrary to those of his church in 1517. In consequence, he was found guilty of heresy, ordered to recant, and refused. After 1521, he became the leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, his native land, where he began to pick up support from local rulers. Luther translated the Bible into German and is the founder of the Lutheran church.

[3] Ibid. (p30). John Calvin (1509-1564) Although Calvin took training in the Roman Catholic Church, he turned instead to the study of the law. He broke from the Roman church in 1534 and was not long in emerging as the leading thinker in the Protestant movement. He left his native France in 1536 to take up residence in Geneva, Switzerland, where he spent most of the rest of his life. His interpretations of Christianity became the basis of the Reformed churches which were formed in many lands. American Puritanism and the Presbyterian churches were offshoots of Calvinism.

[4] The Magna Carta (1215) is short for the Latin phrase Magna Carta Libertatum which means “the Great Charter of the Liberties.” It was drafted as a charter between King John of England (1166-1216) a group of rebel Barons. It established the beginnings of a Parliamentary system of government in England, as well as the beginning of a constitutional law system referred to as English common law. At first, it had application to the relationship between the King and his nobleman, who were the feudal landowners within the kingdom. Eventually, it developed into a legal code by which every English subject had recourse to justice through the legal system.

[5] John Wycliffe (1320s-1385) was English scholar and professor at Oxford. Wycliffe is considered an early reformer within the Roman Catholic establishment in England. John Wycliffe became an outspoken critic of papal power and the corruption that existed within the Roman Catholic clergy. But more to the point, he disagreed with a number of unbiblical teachings that were practiced in the church, related to sacramental salvation and the veneration of saints. A contemporary of his, Thomas Bradwardine the archbishop of Canterbury, wrote a book which deeply influenced Wycliffe toward this end entitled “On the Cause of God against the Pelagians.” It taught a view of sovereign grace similar to that of Augustine. John Wycliffe was condemned as a heretic and sentenced to death.

[6] The Lollard movement was a fourteenth century pre reformation movement led by John Wycliffe. It was actually one of several other movements that existed in Europe from the fourth century on, in Protest against the Popes authority and other unbiblical teachings of the Roman church state. Other groups like the Lollards such as the Waldenses were able to maintain possession of the Scriptures right up until the dawn of the Reformation, despite papal efforts to keep them from the common man, and relentless attempts to stamp out these “schismatics.”

[7] William Tyndale (1494-1536) was an English Reformer best known for producing the first new English translation Bible. He studied theology at Oxford and became fluent in several languages including French, Greek, Hebrew, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. Interest in the Scriptures led Tyndale to the Dutch scholar Erasmus’ work on the revision of Jerome’s Latin Vulgate. Erasmus was able to obtain extant Greek manuscripts of the Byzantine text type which he used in compiling his own Greek New Testament text. Tyndale used his work in translating the Bible into English. Besides translating the Bible, William Tyndale wrote on both theological and polemical topics. His doctrinal position would best be described as Lutheran. Since it was illegal in England since the days of Wycliffe to possess a copy of the Bible in English, William Tyndale did so at great risk to his life on behalf of English-speaking Christians. This inevitably resulted in his condemnation and death. However, the largest portion of Tyndale’s work was providentially preserved in the authorized Bible commissioned by King James in 1611.

[8] Jesus and the apostles frequently quoted and applied the Old Testament in support of its inspiration and authority. For example: Matt. 19:3-5; Mark 12:10,11; Luke 24:25-27,44,45; John 10:34,35; Acts 8:30-35; Rom. 4:3, 9:17, 10:11-13; Gal. 3:8, 4:30; I Tim. 5:18; James 2:8,23, 4:5,6; I Pet. 2:6-8. Both Paul and Peter declare the Old Testament to be Scripture, Rom. II Tim. 3:15,16; II Pet 1:20,21. Luke, Paul and Peter refer to the Old Testament as the oracles (sacred writings) of God, Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12; I Pet. 4:11.

[9] The Bill of Rights is a list of amendments to the Constitution, added as legal protections against Government tyranny over individuals. The most important amendments are the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 14th. Briefly stated they are the first, the right to free speech and association; the second, the right to self protection; the fourth, the right to privacy; the fifth, the right against self incrimination; the tenth, states rights; the fourteenth, the right to free movement. Few people know today that the founders of the American Republic respected English Jurist William Blackstone, and used his Commentary on English Law in the production of the Constitution. It was used until the 1930’s as the main textbook on law in the United States. Since that time, there has been a vicious attack on the founding principles.

[10] The Holy Roman Empire (800-1806) was a multinational state in western Europe designed to perpetuate the failing Byzantine Empire which began as one half (eastern) of the Roman Empire in the fourth century. After the fall of Rome the eastern Empire in Asia Minor (Turkey) became the seat by default. The Holy Roman Empire was an attempt by the Pope to revive the western Roman Empire and maintain control of the church. Pope Leo III crowned the Frank King Charlemagne as Emperor. By the end of the first millennium the Kingdom of Germany was the largest territory, therefore, it led to a succession of German Emperors. Also, establishment of the Holy Roman Empire created a permanent separation of the eastern and western churches.

[11] We refer here to the Commonwealth (1649-1660) in which England during this time was a Republic. The American colony during this time was part of the English Commonwealth as well.

 

Advertisements
Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
%d bloggers like this: