Following on from http://www.godsplan.org.uk/perfection21-27eight.htm
The time is now ripe for 9 http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thenumbernine.htm
J E BRADBURN
The next notable revolt against the papal Church occurred in the sixteenth century, and assumed such proportions as to be designated the Reformation. The movement began in Germany about 1517, when Martin Luther, a monk of the Augustinian order and an instructor in the University of Wittenberg, publicly opposed and strongly denounced Tetzel, the shameless agent of Papal indulgencies. Luther was contentious in his conviction that the whole system of church penances and indulgencies was contrary to Scripture, reason, and right. In line with the academic custom of the day—to challenge discussion and debate on disputed questions—Luther wrote his famous ninety five theses against the practice of granting indulgencies, and a copy of these he mailed to the door of Wittenberg church, inviting criticism thereon from all scholars. The news spread, and the theses were discussed in all scholastic centres of Europe. Luther then attacked other practices and doctrines of the Roman Church. And the Pope Leo X https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Leo_X issued a “Bull” or papal decree against him, demanding an unconditional recantation (to deny believing in something or withdraw something previously said) on pain of excommunication from the Church. Luther publicly burnt the pope’s document, and thus declared his open revolt. The sentence of excommunication was pronounced.
We cannot follow here in detail the doings of this bold reformer. Suffice to say, he was not long left to fight single handed. Among his able supporters was Philip Melanchthon, a professor in Wittenberg. Luther was summoned before a council or Dief (a negative adverb used to form structures indicating that something is to no degree or in no way the case or conveying the general notion 'no'. It is often used to express refusal, denial, or the negation of a statement just made), at Worms in 1521. There he openly declared for individual freedom of conscience. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dief There is inspiration in his words:
“I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the council, because it is clears as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless, therefore, I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning—unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted,—and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other, may God help me! Amen” http://www.godsplan.org.uk/christianrace.htm
The religious controversy spread throughout Europe. At the Second Dief of Spires (1529) an edict was issued (a formal proclamation, especially one issued by a government, ruler, or other authority) against the reformers; to this the representatives of seven German principalities and other delegates entered a formal protest, in consequence of which action the reformers were hence known as Protestants. John, Elector of Saxony, supported Luther in his opposition to papal authority, and undertook the establishment of an independent church, the constitution and plan of which were prepared at his instance by Luther and Melanchthon. Luther died in 1548, but the work of revolution, if not in truth reformation, continued to grow. The Protestants, however, soon became divided among themselves, and broke up into many contending sects.
In Switzerland, Ulrich Zwingli led in the movement toward reform. He was accused of heresy, and when placed on trial, he defended himself on the authority of the Bible as against papal edict, and was for the time successful. The contest was bitter, and in 1531 the Catholics and Protestants of the region engaged in actual battle, in which Zwingli was slain, and his body brutally mutilated.
John Calvin next appeared as the leader of the Swiss reformers, thought he was an opponent of many of Zwingli’s doctrines. He exerted great influence as a teacher, and is known as an extremist in doctrine. He advocated and vehemently (to support or speak in favour of something, and expressed with or showing conviction or intense feeling), defended the tenet of absolute predestination (an established fundamental belief, especially one relating to religion), thus denying the free agency of man. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/persecution.htm http://www.godsplan.org.uk/markofcain.htm (only the enemy Satan and his followers believe in free agency of man). In France, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland, leaders arose and the Protestants became strong in their opposition to the Roman Church, although the several divisions were antagonistic to one another on many points of doctrine.
One effect of this Protestant uprising was the partial awakening of the Roman Church to the need of internal reform, and an authoritative restatement of Catholic principles was attempted. The movement was largely accomplished through the famous Council of Trent (1545—1563), which body disavowed for the Church the extreme claims made for “indulgencies” (a thing that is indulged in; a luxury; e.g. penance for misdemeanours and forgiveness paid in cash, or other valuables) [Self-punishment for sin] and denied responsibility for many of the abuses with which the Church had been charged, But in connection with the attempted reform came a demand for more implicit obedience to the requirements of the Church.
Near the end of the fifteenth century, in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the court of the Inquisition, then known as the Holy office, had been established in Spain. (Sometime in 1588 only 25 years https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Armada the Spanish Armada was launched by Spain) The prime purpose of this secret tribunal was the detection and punishment of heresy. Of this infamous institution as operative in Spain, Myers says: “The Holy Office, as the tribunal was styled, thus became the instrument of the most incredible cruelty. Thousands were burnt at the stake, and tens of thousands more condemned enduring penalties scarcely less terrible. Queen Isabella, in giving her consent to the establishment of the tribunal in her dominions, was doubtless actuated by the purest religious zeal, and sincerely believed that in suppressing heresy she was discharging a simple duty, and rendering God good service. ‘In the love of Christ and His Maid-Mother,’ she says, ‘I have caused great misery; I have depopulated towns and districts, provinces, and kingdoms.’”
Now, in the 16th century, in connection with the attempted reform in the doctrines of Catholicism, the terrible Inquisition, “assumed new vigour and activity, and heresy was sternly dealt with.” Consider the following as throwing light on the conditions of that time: “At this point, in connection with the persecutions of the Inquisition, we should not fail to recall that in the 16th century a refusal to conform to the established worship was regarded by all, by Protestants as well as Catholics, as a species of treason against society and was dealt with accordingly.
Thus we find Calvin at Geneva consenting to the burning of Servetus (1553) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Servetus because he published views that the Calvinists thought heretical; and in England we see the Anglian Protestants waging the most cruel, bitter, and persistent persecutions, not only against the Catholics, but also Protestants all Protestants that refused to conform to the established Church.
What shall be said of a Church that seeks to propagate (grow) its faith by such methods?
1. Are fire and sword the weapons with which truth fights her battles?
2. Are torture and death the arguments of the Gospel?
However terrible the persecutions to which the early Church was subjected at the hands of heathen enemies, the persecutions waged by the apostate Church are far more terrible. Can such a Church by any possibility be the Church of Christ? Heaven forbid!
At the time of Martin Luther’s revolt against the Church of Rome, Henry V111 reigned in England. In common with all other countries of Western Europe, Britain was profoundly stirred by the reformation movement. The king openly defended the Catholic Church and published a book in opposition to Luther’s claims. This so pleased the pope, Leo X, that he conferred upon King Henry the distinguishing title, “Defender of the Faith.” This took place about 1522, and from that time to the present, British Sovereigns have proudly borne the title.
Within a few years after his accession to this title of distinction, we find king Henry among the bitterest enemies of the Roman Church, and the change came about in this way: Henry desired a divorce from his wife, Queen Catherine, to give him freedom to marry Anne Boleyn. The pope hesitated in the matter of granting the divorce, and henry, becoming impatient, disregarded the popes authority and secretly married Anne Boleyn. The pope thereupon excommunicated the king from the Church. The English parliament, following the king’s directions, passed the celebrated Act of Supremacy in 1534. This statute declared an absolute termination of allegiance to papal authority, and proclaimed the king as supreme head of the Church in Britain. Thus originated the Church of England, without regard for or claim of divine authority, and without even a semblance of priestly succession.
Proverbs 20:24 (KJV) “Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?” http://www.godsplan.org.uk/persecution.htm
At first there was little innovation (the act or process of inventing or introducing something new) in doctrine or ritual in the newly formed church. It originated in revolt. Later a form of creed and a plan of organisation were adopted, giving the Church of England some distinctive features. During the reign of Edward V1, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, persecutions between Catholics and Protestants were extensive and violent. Several non-conformists among them the Puritans and Separatists. These were so persecuted that many of them fled to Holland as exiles. From among these came the notable colony of the Pilgrim Fathers, who crossed in the ship called Mayflower to the shores of the then recently discovered continent, and established them-selves in America.
The thoughtful student cannot fail to see in the progress of the Great Apostasy http://www.godsplan.org.uk/apostasytogodskingdom.htm and its results, the existence of an overruling power, operating toward eventual good, however mysterious its methods.
The heart rending persecutions to which the saints were subjected in the early centuries of our era, the anguish, the torture, the bloodshed, incurred in defence of the testimony of Christ, the rise of an Apostate church, blighting the intellect and leading captive the souls of men—all these dread scenes were foreknown to the Lord. While we cannot say or believe that such exhibitions of human depravity and blasphemy of heart were in accordance with the Divine Will, certainly God willed to permit full scope to the free agency of man, in the exercise of which agency some won the martyr’s crown, http://www.godsplan.org.uk/christianrace.htm http://www.godsplan.org.uk/1Maccabees.htm http://www.godsplan.org.uk/2%20Maccabees.htm and others filled the measure of their iniquity to overflowing.
Not less marked is the Divine permission in the revolts and rebellions, in the revolutions and reformations, which developed in opposition to the darkening influence of the apostate church. Wycliffe, and Huss, Luther and Melanchthon, Zwingli, and Calvin, Henry V111 in his arrogant assumption of priestly authority, John Knox in Scotland, Roger Williams in America—these and a host of others built better than they knew, in that their efforts laid in part of the foundation of the structure of religious freedom and liberty of conscience,—and this in preparation for the restoration of the gospel as had been Divinely predicted. From the sixteenth century down to the present time, sects professedly (To make a statement acknowledging something openly or publicly) founded on the tenets (an established fundamental belief, especially one relating to religion or politics) of Christianity have multiplied space. They are now to be numbered by hundreds. On every side the claim has been heard, “Lo, here is Christ.” Or “Lo, there.” There are churches named after their place of origin—as the Church of England; other sects are designated in honour of their famous promoters—Lutherans, Calvinists, Wesleyans; others are known from some peculiarity of creed or doctrine—as Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists; and Jehovah Witnesses, but down to the beginning of the 19th century there was no church even claiming name or title as the Church of Christ. The only church existing at that time venturing to assert authority by succession was the Catholic Church, which as shown was wholly without priesthood or divine commission, (But not wholly clean in past history, or South America’s Inca, Mayan, etc.).
If the so called “Mother Church” be without divine authority or spiritual power, how can her children derive (to obtain something from a source, or come from a source), the right to officiate in the things of God? Who dares affirm the absurdity that man can originate for him a priesthood which God shall honour and respect? (Only the ancient Hebrews knew, and practiced the way of Jehovah, but when they went astray they were quickly dispersed).
Granted that men may, can and do, create among them societies, associations, sects, and churches if they choose so to designate their religious organisations; granted they may formulate laws, prescribe rules, and construct elaborate plans of organisation, and government, and that all such laws, and rules and schemes of administration are binding upon those who voluntary assume membership—granted all these powers and rights—whence can such human creations derive the authority of the holy Priesthood. Without which there can be no Church of Christ? https://levendwater.org/companion/append4.html If the power and authority be, by any possibility, of human origin, there never has been a Church of Christ on earth, and the alleged saving ordinances of the gospel have never been other than empty forms.
Our review of the Great Apostasy as presented in this treatise, does not call for any detailed or critical study of The Roman Catholic Church as it exists in modern times, nor of any of the numerous Protestant denominations that have come into existence as dissenting children of the so called “Mother Church.” The apostasy was complete, as far as actual loss of priesthood and cessation of spiritual power in the church (the final or concluding part of something); are concerned, long prior to the sixteenth century revolt, known in history as the Reformation. It is instructive to observe, however, that the weakness of the Protestant sects as to any claim to divine appointment and authority, is recognised by those churches themselves. The Church of England, which, as shown, originated in revolt against the Roman Catholic Church and its pope, is without foundation of claim to divine authority in its priestly orders, unless, indeed, it dare assert the absurdity that kings and parliaments can create and take unto themselves heavenly authority by enactment of earthly statutes (belonging to or characteristic of the physical world, especially as opposed to a spiritual realm or heaven) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/spiritualmaterial.htm
The Apostasy Admitted
The fact of the great apostasy is admitted http://www.godsplan.org.uk/apostasytogodskingdom.htm
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (KJV)
1. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
2. “For man shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,”
3. “Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good.”
4. “Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
5. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
Many theologians who profess a belief in Christianity have declared the fact. Thus we read: “We must not expect to see the Church of Christ existing in its perfection on the earth. It is not to be found thus perfect, either in the collected fragments of Christendom or still less in any one of those fragments.”
John Wesley, who lived from 1703 to 1791 A.D., and who ranks as chief among the founders of Methodism, comments as follows on the apostasy of the Christian Church as evidenced by the early decline of spiritual power and the cessation of the gifts and graces of the spirit of God within the Church: “It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit were common in the Church for more than two or three centuries.
1 Corinthians 12 (KJV)
01 “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” http://www.godsplan.org.uk/gifts.htm
02 “Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.”
03 “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”
04 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”
05 “And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.”
06 “And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”
07 “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”
08 “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;”
09 “To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;”
10 “To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:”
11 “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
12 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”
13 “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
14 “For the body is not one member, but many.”
15 “If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?”
16 “And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?”
17 “If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?”
18 “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”
19 “And if they were all one member, where were the body?”
20 “But now are they many members, yet but one body.”
21 “And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”
22 “Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:”
23 “And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.”
24 “For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.”
25 “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”
26 “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
27 “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
28 “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
29 “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?”
30 “Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?”
31 “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”
We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian, and from a vain imagination of promoting the Christian cause thereby heaped riches and power and honour upon Christians in general, but in particular upon the Christian clergy. From this time they almost totally ceased, very few instances of the kind being found. The cause of this was not, as had been supposed, because there was no more occasion for them, because all the world had become Christians. This is a miserable mistake; not even a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christians (acting or being something in name only, but not in reality) The real cause of it was that the love of many, almost all Christians, so-called was waxed cold. The Christians had no more of the spirit of Christ than the other heathens. The Son of Man, when he came to examine His Church, could hardly find faith upon earth. This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian church—because the Christians had turned heathens again, and only had a dead form left.
The Church of England makes official declaration of degeneracy (immoral, depraved, or corrupt behaviour) and loss of divine authority in these words: “Laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees, have been drowned in abominable idolatry most detested by God and damnable to man for eight hundred years and more.” The “Book of Homilies,” in which occurs this declaration by the Church of England, dates form the middle of the sixteenth century. According to this official statement, therefore, the religious world had been utterly apostate for eight centuries prior to the establishment of the Church of England. The fact of a universal apostasy was widely proclaimed, for the homilies from which the foregoing citation is given were “appointed to be read in churches” in lieu of sermons under specified conditions.
The great apostasy was divinely predicted, its accomplishment is attested by both sacred and secular writ. (Not controlled by a religious body or concerned with religious or spiritual matters).
The Sequel of the great Apostasy is the restoration of the Gospel, http://www.godsplan.org.uk/apostasytogodskingdom.htm marking the inauguration of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times.
That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Taze_Russell
Ephesians 1:10 (KJV) “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:”
This epoch making event occurred in the early part of the 19th century, when the Father and the Son manifested themselves to man, and when the Holy Priesthood with all its powers and authority was again brought to earth.
REVELATION 14:6--7 (KJV)
“AND I SAW ANOTHER ANGEL FLY IN THE MIDST OF HEAVEN, HAVING THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL TO PREACH UNTO THEM THAT DWELL ON THE EARTH, AND TO EVERY NATION, AND KINDRED, AND TONGUE, AND PEOPLE,”
“SAYING WITH A LOUD VOICE, ‘FEAR GOD AND GIVE GLORY TO HIM; FOR THE HOUR OF HIS JUDGEMENT IS COME; AND WORSHIP HIM THAT MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH, AND THE SEAAND THE FOUNTAINS OF WATER” http://www.godsplan.org.uk/secondadvent.htm
Papist Testimony to the corruption of the Church” The judicious (showing wisdom, good sense, or discretion, often with the underlying aim of avoiding trouble or waste) student of Ecclesiastical history will observe that I constantly endeavour to draw my proofs from the most unexceptionable sources, For example: To prove the corrupt state of the clergy, and the abdominal practices of the Roman See (Pope), I would produce the evidence of George of Saxony, a most bigoted papist (somebody with strong opinions, especially on politics, religion, or ethnicity, who refuses to accept different views) whom the Roman Catholics always reckon among the most active of the holy defenders of their religion. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/pureHeavenlytruth.htm
Now, as with them the assertions of Luther and the other reformers go for nothing but exaggerations, misrepresentations, or direct falsehoods, let them listen at least to this duke, their steady friend and advocate, who generally, in religious concerns opposed his relation, the elector of Saxony, and who has approved of Luther’s condemnation at Worms. This George of Saxony exhibited to the to the Diet twelve heads of the grievances which called loudly for reform. Two of these are briefly as follows:
1. Indulgencies, which ought to be obtained by prayers, fasting, benevolence toward our neighbour and other good works are sold for money. Their value is extolled (to praise somebody or something with great enthusiasm and admiration) beyond all decency. The sole object is to gain a deal of money. Hence the preachers, who are bound to set forth truth, teach men nothing but lies and frauds. They are not only suffered to go on thus, but are well paid for their fraudulent harangues (to criticize or question somebody, or try to persuade somebody to do something in a forceful angry way; harassments). The reason is, the more conviction they can produce among their hearers, the more money flows into the chest. Rivers of scandalous proceedings arise from this corrupt fountain. The officials of the bishops are equally attentive to scrape money together. They vex the poor with their censures for great crimes, as whoredom, adultery, blasphemy; but they spare the rich. The clergy commit (the body of people ordained for religious service, especially in the Christian church) the very same crimes and nobody censures them. Faults which ought to be expiated (to make amends, show remorse, or suffer punishment for wrongdoing) by prayers and fasting are atoned for by money, in order that the officials may pay large sums to their respective bishops, and retain a portion of the gain for themselves. Neither when a mulct (to fine somebody as a penalty) is inflicted, is it done in a way to stop the commission of the same fault in future, but rather so that the delinquent understands he may soon do that very thing again, provided he but ready to pay.Hence all the sacraments are sold for money; and when that is not to be had, they are absolutely neglected.
2. Another distinct head of the grievances produced by this Zealous duke was expressed thus: The scandalous conduct of the clergy is a very fruitful source of the destruction of poor souls. “There must be a universal reformation; and this cannot be better affected by a general council. It is therefore the most earnest wish of us all that such a measure be adopted.”
EXTREMES INCIDENT TO THE REFORMATION
“What were the reproaches constantly applied to the Reformation by its enemies?” Which of its results are thrown in its face, as it were, unanswerable. The two principle reproaches are, first:
1. The excessive license of thought, the destruction of all spiritual authority, and the entire dissolution of religious society;
2. Tyranny, and persecution. “You provoke licentiousness (pursuing desires aggressively and selfishly, unchecked by morality, especially in sexual matters), it has been said to the Reformers: “you produce it; and, after being the cause of it, you wish to restrain and repress it. And how do you repress it? By the most harsh and violent means. You take upon yourselves, too, to punish heresy, and that by virtue of of an illegitimate authority.”-Guizot.
“The Sectarian Dogma of Justification (relating to, involved with, or devoted to a single religious group or denomination) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/justification.htm http://www.godsplan.org.uk/faith.htm by Faith alone has exercised an influence for evil since the early days of Christianity http://www.godsplan.org.uk/book1.htm The idea upon which this pernicious (wicked or meaning to cause harm) doctrine was founded, was at first associated with that of an absolute predestination (used to give strong emphasis to what is being said) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/system.htm by which man was foredoomed to destruction, or to an utterly undeserved salvation. (Which is completely wrong; and was introduced by Satanists.) [Elohim for 1000 years] http://godsplan.org.uk/messianicage.htm [The Kingdom of Jehovah will run forever.] http://www.godsplan.org.uk/kingdom.htm
Romans 8:38—39 (KJV
38 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,”
39 “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It may dissuade men from the idolatrous pursuit of false securities and redemptions in life and history. By its confidence in an eternal ground of existence which is, nevertheless, involved in man’s historical striving to the very point of suffering with, and for Him, this faith can prompt men to accept their historical responsibilities gladly. From the standpoint of such a faith history is not meaningless because it cannot complete itself; though it cannot be denied that it is tragic because men always seek prematurely to complete it.
Thus wisdom about our destiny is dependent upon a humble recognition of the limits of our knowledge and our power. Our most reliable understanding is the fruit of “grace” in which faith completes our ignorance without pretending to possess its certainties as knowledge; and in which contrition (repentance) mitigates our pride without destroying our hope.