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

The Formal Cause of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura

The following sermon is the first half of a two-part series on the Protestant Reformation, in celebration and memorial of its 500th year anniversary.

The series covered the formal cause of the Reformation (sola scriptura, “scripture alone”), as well as its material cause (sola fide, “faith alone”). I preached on the former topic, as found below.


The Formal Cause of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura
South City Church
10/15/2017

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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

No Higher Authority Than God Himself: The Case for Sola Scriptura from Hebrews 6:13

In Hebrews 6, the author of Hebrews recounts God swearing an oath to confirm his promises to Abraham.

Now when people swear, they do so by appealing to some sort of authority higher than themselves in order to validate their promise. But what happens when God swears to confirm his promise?

For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself (Heb 6:13).

When God swears, he swears by his own authority, because there is no possible higher authority. There is no authority higher or equal to God himself to which he can appeal. He is the highest.

And so, by extension, God’s Word is the highest authority. No authority can possibly usurp it. The scriptures stand alone as our supreme authority.

#SolaScriptura #500Reformation

 

The ‘Priesthood of All Believers’ for Work

I composed the following as a devotional for some of my Christian coworkers at work.


For those of us who are Protestant, we will likely be celebrating the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this coming fall.

In light of that, as we think of our Christian calling in relation to our work, it’s more than fitting to recount the Protestant doctrine of the priesthood of all believers.

Christian historical philosopher Alister McGrath explains in the following:

“From the outset, Protestantism rejected the critical medieval distinction between the ‘sacred’ and ‘secular’ orders. While this position can easily be interpreted as a claim for the desacralization of the sacred, it can equally well be understood as a claim for the sacralization of the secular. As early as 1520, Luther had laid the fundamental conceptual foundations for created sacred space within the secular. His doctrine of the ‘priesthood of all believers’ asserted that there is no genuine difference of status between the ‘spiritual’ and the ‘temporal’ order. All Christians are called to be priests – and can exercise that calling within the everyday world. The idea of ‘calling’ was fundamentally redefined: no longer was it about being called to serve God by leaving the world; it was now about serving God in the world.”

The spearhead of recovering this Biblical theology was Protestant reformer Martin Luther:

Continue reading