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            I grew up in a conservative church; one of the denominations in the Reformed tradition, which , of course was one of the large group who were Protestants, begun at the Reformation.  There was one thing which puzzled me then and even more so as I grew older.   It was that, although they were in the habit of reading through every year for three or more decades they seemed to learn nothing from the Bible, either in their conduct or knowledge of the Scriptures.  After all we heard  many times that the Reformation had set us free to read and study the Bible for ourselves, which we did but it seemed to make no real difference in our lives.  Some people raised their children more strict than others and these families provided the elders, Sunday school teachers, etc.  But even among this group the conversation was more about the church activities than on deeper spiritual or Biblical truths.  The rest of the people never so much as showed any interest in biblical truths or in the Bible itself.  If anyone so much as mentioned the Bible there was a nervous shuffling of feet and the subject shifted to safer topics.  The deepest anyone ever got was to argue as to whether we should have wine or grape juice for communion.

I wrote above that most of these people would read the Bible through every year. At each meal, breakfast, dinner (at noon) and supper the father would ask the blessing on the food and after the meal he would read a chapter of the Bible and then give thanks for the food.  It was thus, that the Bible would be read or heard all the way through every year. 

The First Four Hundred years

At first, the church was very much alive, having received the New Testament from the apostles, evangelists or those who had either had been with the apostles and heard them or had seen the Lord when He was on earth.  For some reason the common people of the early church could grasp the writings of the apostles which give seminary trained theologians such a head ache today. The  Old Testament was taught and learned as well by the common people.  Apparently, the people did not need a special class of learned men to teach them although their were those who tried who were called the Gnostics.  Among other things they taught that matter was evil and spirit was good.  For this reason God could not enter the world in a human body.  The body was just an illusion or for some other reason He onlyseemed to come in the flesh.  This was one of the things that John the Apostle fought against.  See especially I John 4:1-4.  So you see that although the Bible taught that Jesus had come in the flesh, these people knew better. They had a special insight that the average Christian did not have.


The Catholic Church.

The Church of Rome could be set for it’s beginning  at about 400 AD.  It lasted without official opposition for over a thousand years until the Protestant Refomation.  The Catholic Church not only claimed itself above the Bible but also claimed that it was over the nations. (One of the results was that it gained a great deal of wealth)  while impoverishing the nations where ever they were in control).  We see this mentioned in Revelation17:2 and 18: “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls—And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth”.  During all this time, and more so as time went on, the common people were forbidden to own a Bible or even to read it. If they were caught they would risk suffering a horrible death.  They were told that the bible was too dangerous for the common man to touch or read.  That was the duty of the church.  The church would explain it to them or say nothing as they saw fit.  In  reality the Bible was dangerous all right, but the real danger was that the people might understand it and see the errors of the church.  Finally, except in places where the church had the physical strength the people revolted. This is somewhat of an overstatement but generally speaking, where in southern Europe came the renaissance, in northern Europe it was the Reformation under Martin Luther.

One more thought on the wealth of the church at the expense of the nations. InRevelation 2:9 we read : I know the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and are not ; but are the synagogue of Satan.  The Catholic Church claims that the church has replaced Israel and that they are now spiritual Israel.  Therefore the question follows: Does Satan rule much that goes on in the Catholic Church?  We see that it is the Catholic Church that gains it’s wealth at the expense of the nations.  Now let’s just look at Isaiah 14:12: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning. How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations.


The Protestant Reformation

  • In 1517 Martin Luther nailed the ninety-seven points to the door of the church at Wittenburg and the protestant reformation was launched.  Now the people had finally been set free of that which bound the conscience.  We were now at last free to read and believe the Bible, each one for himself.  But instead of being truly free I think we perhaps exchanged one type of bondage for another.  There were many who were in bondage to the tyranny of Rome but this was in many ways worse.  Now the people were in a more subtle kind of  bondage. We thought we had been set free from a cruel spiritual bondage by a Protestantism that had set the people free but kept them as tightly as before.  The people knew of the bondage they were freed from and saw the protestant churches as their liberators.  The leaders of the reformation; many of whom meant well, did not leave all of the evils of the church of Rome. They took too much along.  As an example, the Catholic church had seven sacraments which covered every thing from birth to life.  Miss just one and you could not enter heaven.  This gave the priest power over the people and at least some of the reformers were not going to let that one go.  There were also those who sincerely believed that this would help to keep the simple folk in line and help them to live godly lives.  Two of the sacraments that were accepted by the leaders of the  Reformation were baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  These two were invented by the Catholic Church.  Augustine, who lived around the year 400 AD pressed hard for infant baptism.  There is scarcely a doctrine of the catholic church which did not have it’s embryo in the teachings of Augustine.  This includes the teaching that the church replaced and is now spiritual Israel and the doctrine of  infant baptism.  All of these teachings were very important to the reformation leaders.  The people were by and large antisemitic and so it was politically expedient for the church to be the same. But it was the sacraments that gave  the clergy the power.  Withhold baptism from a child and he could not enter heaven unless he died too soon and the parents were not able to get the new born baby baptized.  This was forgivable but only if the circumstances were such that it simply could not be done.  As the child grew older, he,  perhaps as a teenager would make what was known as confession of faith and become a full member of the church. After that he was married and he and his wife(if they had walked the same road) had their children baptized.  Imagine a young woman has a child but her husband has not yet made confession of faith so the child can not be baptized.  She marches him right over to the pastor to make the proper arrangements and now the little one can go to heaven if he dies.  So here is the problem.  The church teaches one thing and the Bible another.
  • There were a number of areas where the bible taught one thing and the church believed and taught something other.  On of these which was taken from the Catholic Church was the doctrine that the church had replacedIsrael. From this followed the teaching of infant baptism.  Some of the reformers did not see this as biblical but inGermanyand other places inEurope this was found to be not only good for control of the common people but politically expedient as well. The same was true about some of the teachings of Calvin, a clone of Paul before Paul was saved.  Never mind that the Bible taught that Abraham’s children would dwell in theland of Canaan forever. Never mind that the Bible said very plainly that  Jesus had paid for the death of all.  The people were simply reading certain verses wrong, or so they were told. The seminary trained minister told them that were mistaken and that the original and the Greek really said the exact opposite and the people gave up on even trying to understand it.
  • Thus was bad enough but a worse thing coming along was evolution which not only came from the world but many of the church hierarchy accepted as well. What was a person to think when the ministers were not sure and some at least leaned in that direction.  The Bible was very clear in the first chapter of Genesis that God had created the world in six days but the scientists were just as definite that the creation took millions of years and the ministers did not want to touch the subject.  I suppose they did not want to be seen as ignorant before the world.  Another thing that puzzled me was that, although the false teaching, even from the churches’ point of view always came from the top, the big guns were kept in readiness for those at the bottom.  The people just believed what they heard from the leaders.
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Written by biblestruth

September 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Posted in scripture

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