Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Is Reformed Theology?: Sola Scriptura

     In our 3rd video lesson studying Reformed Theology, R. C. continues to build on the foundations of the historic faith.  This is a great history lesson that will always have contemporary application in this present age.  In early 16th century Europe, the common people did not possess personal copies of the Scripture and were reliant upon the Roman Catholic church exclusively for instruction from God.  The problem?  The church used 2 sources of revelation in order to catechize their subjects:  Scripture and tradition.  When man deviates from Scripture (adds or subtracts from it), all kinds of problems are inevitable and this was certainly the case at this time.  The Catholic church, at her Pope's edict, could adopt and initiate doctrine that was considered as authoritative as Scripture.  The church hierarchy could also interpret Scripture and tradition subjectively in order to accomplish their ungodly ends.  Not surprisingly, the Catholic church corrupted this power over the common people with un-biblical and oppressive teachings . . . normally for the vexing of people's consciences in order to acquire their money!
     Martin Luther was a Catholic monk (he wasn't "Lutheran") and Doctor of Theology when he posted his 95 Thesis at Wittenberg, Germany.  On Luther's thesis were 95 points of contention with Roman Catholic teachings and abuses.  Luther's intention was not to start the Protestant Reformation, but to bring the Catholic church into conformity to the Scriptures.  At the Diet (Roman Catholic assembly) of Worms in 1521, with the threat of excommunication (and likely death by burning) if he would not recant his protest, Luther boldly stood for the Word of God.  He did not recant of his criticisms of Rome or of his prolific writings!  The recovery of the Word of God was costly as war ensued throughout Germany with lots of bloodshed.  Luther went on to translate the Bible into the German language and led a movement of Reformation throughout Europe that put the Bible into the hands of common folk.  The Lord caused nothing short of a revival, which led to several centuries of some of the best theological writing in church history.  We are the beneficiaries of the Reformation today as most Americans households have multiple bibles.  What a privilege and responsibility it is to have God's Word!

Chapter 1 of the 1689 London Baptist Confession:  Of the Holy Scriptures (a great reformed confession of sola Scriptura . . . great devotional material if you follow the Scripture verses listed!):

This is a clip from the movie Luther at the Diet of Worms . . . this movie on the life of Martin Luther is a must-see for the whole family . . . the producer took pains to ensure it was historically accurate down to the very words Luther spoke (it gives me chills every time and we own the movie!):

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