We have an uncanny ability to use pious and theological reasoning to explain away our responsibility to do the things that we don’t want to do, all the while cloaking our sinful inhibition in a facade of Christian maturity and conscientiousness.
Søren Kierkegaard: “The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
That, or we find sophisticated ways of interpretating ourselves out of the Bible’s demands. As Søren says later, this is “the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close.”
He continues, “Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. ‘My God,’ you will say, ‘if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?’”
In other words, if your Christianity doesn’t make you uncomfortable or require much sacrifice, your Christianity is probably not that of Christ himself. It is probably not that of the Bible.
We have fashioned a God in our own image, rather than us resembling his.
1 Peter 3:18-22 – 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
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.