The Reformation as a Movement of the Scripture

The printing press was invented in 1440, allowing written works — like the Bible — to be widely produced and distributed.

Desiderius Erasmus’ Greek New Testament of the Bible, the first of its kind to be made, was published in 1516, facilitating the movement “ad fontes,” and a close examination of scripture in its original language.

The Protestant Reformation kicked off contemporaneously, circa 1517.

Coincidence? I think not.

When the Word of God is unleashed, expect theological reform.

At the heart of the Reformers’ agenda was to put the scriptures into the hands and ears of the people. Contrast that with the Roman Catholic Church, who, at the time, forbid preaching or translating the Bible into the common language. (Of what were they afraid?)

The Reformation was a movement of the scriptures.

#500Reformation

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Rome’s Implicit Rejection of Scripture’s Absolute Authority

The Roman Catholic Church holds itself up as the official interpreter of scripture.

But to claim such is for the Roman Catholic Church to assert itself into a position of standing over scripture. No longer would God and his Word serve as a supreme authority. Final appeal would not be made to the scripture itself, but to Rome and it’s interpretation of it.

In such a model, the Roman Catholic Church would, in essence, serve as the highest authority. But to make something other than God the highest authority is functionally to say that something has more authority than God himself, which is blasphemy Continue reading

Goodreads Reviews of Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism by R.C. Sproul

Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman CatholicismAre We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism by R.C. Sproul

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is written to those who are Protestant, in an effort to help them sense the theological chasm between Protestantism and Rome. As such, it is not written as much with an eye towards Catholics, to help them understand Protestant convictions or arguments.

Almost all attention is given to unpacking Catholic thought. Protestant views are only mentioned occasionally in so much as to provide a contrast. But they are not expanded upon.

The above is not a critique of the book, just a clarification that if you are looking for a book that contrasts Protestant and Catholic belief, simultaneously making a case for Protestantism, for example, this is not your book. Sproul, rather, is detailing Catholic thought with an aim of depressing inappropriate ecumenical tendencies (i.e., blowing off differences with Rome) among protestants.

As he proceeds towards this aim, Sproul does a fair job presenting Catholic views. He is charitable, and avoids caricatures, which are all too common among protestants. He gives the needed nuance to Catholic views. He wants to help protestants genuinely understand Catholic theology, and to see it’s rationale.

This book is to be recommended for those looking to understand Catholicism better, specifically on those key subjects where it differs most significantly from Protestant thought.

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Augustine on Sola Scriptura

I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error. And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the manuscript is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand it. As to all other writings, in reading them, however great the superiority of the authors to myself in sanctity and learning, I do not accept their teaching as true on the mere ground of the opinion being held by them; but only because they have succeeded in convincing my judgment of its truth either by means of these canonical writings themselves, or by arguments addressed to my reason. … [Others are] not … to be read like those of prophets or of apostles, concerning which it would be wrong to doubt that they are free from error.

~ Augustine of Hippo

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#500Reformation

Martin Luther on Pastoral Study

Some pastors and preachers are lazy and no good. … They do not pray; they do not study; they do not read; they do not search the Scripture. …

[T]he [pastoral] call is: Watch, study, attend to reading. In truth, you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well.

Therefore, dear sirs and brethren, pastors and preachers, pray, read, study, be diligent. Truly, this evil, shameful time is not the season for being lazy, for sleeping and snoring. Use the gift that has been entrusted to you, and reveal the mystery of Christ.

–Martin Luther, What Luther Says: An Anthology, comp. Ewald M. Plass (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), entry no. 3547, 1110.