Tag Archives: History

The Principles of Protestantism, Part 4 – Grace Alone

II – Grace Alone

Starting with Scripture as the first principle of Protestantism, we now proceed to grace as the second. The division between the two is comprehended by the designation of the formal and the material causes of salvation. Scripture alone is the formal principle as it is the authority by which salvation is revealed and understood. That is a marked departure from the Roman Pope and Magisterium. Grace alone is the material principle as it is the cause of salvation apart from any other thing such as sacraments or human effort. Actually, the material principle in salvation is comprehended by three things which are Christ alone, given by Grace alone, and received through faith alone. A review of many writers reveals a diversity of thought regarding the order of these principles. Some place faith before grace, while others put the glory of God as the first principle. Lutherans tend to view the principles of Protestantism as primarily three in number, grace, faith, and Scripture. Any order seems appropriate as long as it is constructed properly in terms of a logical explanation of each. So with this in mind, we have chosen grace as the next principle. Continue reading

Advertisements

The Principles of Protestantism, Part 3 – Scripture Alone

I – Scripture Alone

The first point of protest against the Roman Catholic Pope concerned the place of the Bible in the Christian church. The Bible then as now is regarded by the Roman Catholic church as the Holy Scripture of God. That was never in dispute. However, the issue in dispute between the Reformers and the Pope was the place the Bible occupied in the church’s dogma and practice. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

The Principles of Protestantism, Part 2 – Introduction

Introduction: Christianity in America today is in rapid decline

It should be clear to anyone who pays attention to various polls and statistics that are conducted concerning the present health of the Christian church in America that it is in decline. In spite of a number of high profile mega churches in various parts of the country, the overall numbers of people committing themselves to the Christian church is decreasing. Polls should never be a determining factor for analyzing what the church is doing by way of service to the Lord. But there is one thing that is rather interesting about them. They seem to suggest that Americans are fundamentally a spiritually minded people, way more so than their European counterparts. But when it comes to defining what they believe in terms of historic orthodox definitions of the Christian faith that is entirely a different story. The point is that most Americans find little reason to identify, or even associate with any sort of historic expression of the Christian faith. Continue reading

The Reformation At 500 Conference

This year I attended a different conference than the one I usually attend in October. The conference was sponsored by the Trinity Foundation Ministry held in Johnson City Tennessee. For those who have never heard of the Trinity Foundation it is an apologetic ministry devoted to promoting the philosophy of Gordon Clark known as Scriptural Presuppositionalism. Most Christians have at some point heard of the word presuppositionalism. The word itself seems to be rather evident as to its meaning. As Christians we suppose God and His word to be true before entertaining any arguments regarding their defense. The question is why do we presuppose this to be true? This is what presuppositionalism purports to answer. Continue reading