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As I write this, we have been reading the Book of Luke. I thought it might interest some of you, to see what it was like, if you were a protestant of means, able to afford one of those new fangled things called a printed Bible. Some people refer the the King James Bible, as the authorized version. It was an authorized version, authorized by the King, and the translation was completed in 1611. This authorization was for the Church of England. While the Church of England was not Roman Catholic, neither was it properly protestant church. The King James Version, was commissioned, in part, to counteract the Bible popular with protestants, to help make it easier to maintain the religious hierarchy of the Church of England. The protestants were too critical of the Church of England for the Kinds tastes, so a new version was commissioned for use in the churches of the Church of England. Basically, the Church of England, was protesting the protestants. While the KJV is an "authorized version" it was the third authorize version. Prior to it, was the Bishops Bible, of 1568, and before that, was the Great Bible, of 1535. The King James version, as was said, is AN authorized version. It was not given the title of "The Authorized Version", until 1814. Lest you get the impression, that I am anti King James Version, I am not. I love the King James Version, and it has been EXTREMELY important in church history. It is a good version. There was a faction of the Church of England, known as the Puritans. They were not called the Puritans, because they were so pure and holy, though that is how many have come to think of that term. The Puritans, were about purging or purefying the church, not just of the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church, but also from issues of having a church, run by a monarch. The Puritans believed that the Church of England, was still too "Catholic" in it's operation. The puritans believed in the priesthood of all believers, not an appointed caste of Popes and Bishops and the like. This did not earn them the admiration of Kings and Popes, so they were persecuted and exiled. They were protestants, in most senses of the word. The Bible of choice, among the Puritans, was the Geneva Bible. The Geneva Bible, was the first Bible to have chapter and verse numbers, and it was translated in 1560. It was carried on the Mayflower to America, and it was the most popular English Bible, during the period of the Protestant Reformation. Why this abbreviated history lesson on early English Bible versions? I wanted you to see how easy you have it. Bibles were not often in the hands of common people. The belief of the reformers, that the Bible should be available to all, and the invention of the printing press, was the beginning of the process that lead to mass Bible access. If you were a well off Protestant, over 400 years ago, what would you have seen? Here is page of a Bible (the Geneva Bible), that was printed in English, before the King James Version.
Well, it is just about the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. For those not familiar with that, it is a time in church history, where people were waking up to how far the church had degraded since it's inception. A reformation was needed, because church leadership, to a great degree, had become corrupted. Church positions were basically for sale to the highest bidder. The church was allowing people to buy indulgences, basically a license to sin, and shorten one's time in Purgatory. These could be used for yourself, or to shorten the time of a deceased loved one. Purgatory was basically seen as a place where a person paid for their sins by suffering until their sins were paid for and they could attain to heaven. In other words, the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross was deemed inadequate - definitely not the gospel, nor in the Bible. Church leadership (and by that I mean the Pope, Bishops, Cardinals, all the way down to priests) was falling prey to pride, sexual sin, hunger for power, greed and the like. The Bible was not yet in the hands of common people, nor was it necessarily in a language that ordinary people could understand, Christians were totally dependent, on what their leaders told them the Bible said, and what the Bible meant. That was a very quick summary of the conditions that had developed in the first 1500 years of the church. It is not my purpose to lecture anyone on church history, nor am I qualified to do so. I just wanted to give a quick background of what lead to the Reformation. Generally it is held, that the Reformation began when a German monk (Martin Luther) nailed his 95 theses on the door of Wittenberg Castle. That can be debated, but it was certainly a pivotal event. Now, the main thing I came to do, was to open a discussion about the five "solas" of the reformation. These are 5 ideas, that sort of embody the spirit of the Reformation, the main things that were seen as needing to be addressed and focused upon in the church as it existed at the time. Luther's hope, was not to attack the church, or start a new denomination, nor anything of the sort. His hope was to start a bit of a dialogue or debate, an opportunity for the church to do a little self examination. Sola, comes from a Latin word meaning alone or sole. The solas are these: SOLA SCRIPTURA SOLA FIDE SOLA GRATIA SOLO CHRISTO SOLI DEO GLORIA Sola scriptura, is the idea, that only the scripture, is ultimately a trustworthy source of information about spiritual matters. The traditions of the church, lack any real authority. Likewise, the leadership of the church, was also not authoritative, and must be subservient to the word of God. Sola fide, is the idea that salvation comes by faith alone, not by works, God grants salvation, and believers do not earn it by doing good deeds. Sola gratia, is closely related to sola fide. It is the idea, that mankind does not earn, cannot earn, and can never deserve salvation. Salvation is a free gift that God bestows to believers, totally apart from any merit of their own. Solo Christo, addresses the subject of and object of the faith of believers who will inherit salvation. Our faith is in Christ alone. There is nothing or no one in which we place our faith apart from Christ. No faith in works, nor the church, nor Mary the mother of Jesus, not the saints, not our prayers or rituals - our faith is in Jesus alone, regarding salvation. Sola deo gloria, informs us that all glory, is due to God alone, no one else gets credit or glory for what God has done for us. Of course, this implies the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as the one true God. They could be stated, that the scriptures alone, authoritatively teach us that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. That is what I have to say, to start this topic. If anyone chooses to, they may add to the discussion, elaborate, offer scripture, etc. I just thought it fitting, at this time of the impending 500 years anniversary of the Reformation, to offer some thought and reflection on what it was/is about.
Acadia posted a topic in General DiscussionHi everyone! I shared this on another forum, but would like to get more input here. This is a poll/thread for my fellow Protestant/Evangelicals. Some of you have no doubt seen this video or heard about it as it is a few years old, but I am still interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter. (Since I cannot share the video in the post, here is the link to it: "Bishop Tony Palmer and Pope Francis - The Miracle of Unity has Begun: KCM Minister's Conference 2014") Ecumenism is by no means going away, so I think this issue is something we must all honestly consider. I know it can be quite controversial, hence the reason it is posted in the section of the forums. First of all, if you aren't familiar with the video I am referencing, please take the time to watch it, in its entirety before responding to this thread. I would like this to be a productive discussion/debate, so it's important that we are all on the same page and know what issues are being presented. ***First, let me be clear: this video is not posted out of any disrespect for BishopTony Palmer, who passed away about six months after his presentation at the KCM Minister's Conference, shown in this video. My aim is simply to address the claims he makes during the talk he gave during this conference. Nor is it the within the scope of this thread to address any issues with Kenneth Copeland, Word of Faith, the Charismatic Movement or the “Prosperity Gospel.” I am well aware of these issues, but they are not the purpose of this thread. The Anglican church, is, likewise, not the subject of this thread.*** In his talk at the KCM Minister's Conference that took place from January 21-23 2014 (shown in the video above) Anglican Bishop, Tony Palmer presented his ecumenical stance regarding Evangelicalism, Protestantism and Catholicism. Though not a Catholic himself, Bishop Palmer, who had a longstanding friendship with Pope Francis, prior to him becoming Pope, had personally met with him and recorded a video message to share with all the Evangelical leaders present at this conference. (The video above is from his official YouTube channel, it was published on February 28, 2014 and contains the description: “This is the Full un-cut Video of my Presentation and Delivery of both mine and Pope Francis' message to the international Evangelical Leaders at the KCM Minister's Conference, 21-23 Jan, 2014 Fort Worth, Texas, USA. 'The Miracle of Unity has Begun') In his talk during the conference, Bishop Palmer clearly presented his ecumenical beliefs, and he shared the video message from Pope Francis as well. The major point of both Bishop Palmer's message and that of Pope Francis is unity between Catholics and Evangelicals. This call for unity between Evangelicals and the Catholic Church is, of course, not in any way something that originated with Bishop Palmer or Pope Francis. This call for unity (ecumenism) has been ongoing for some time. (In May of 1994, for example, the historic document, titled “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium”, was signed by many notable Catholics and Evangelicals who agreed thereby to enter into official partnership with one another, claiming that there were no longer any serious differences between Catholicism and Evangelicalism and that they were doing the will of Christ by truly uniting in Him). This message was echoed by Bishop Palmer and Pope Francis during the KCM Minister's Conference in January of 2014. During his presentation at this 2014 conference, Bishop Palmer made statements, such as: “And this is history that we've got a Pope who recognizes us as brothers and sisters, speaks to us as brothers and sisters and has sent a message to us...” “I believe that God has brought me here, to this year's Minister's Conference, in the spirit of Elijah.” (pauses) “Let me explain. If you look carefully, the spirit of Elijah was on John the Baptist, to turn the hearts of the sons to the fathers. And to turn the hearts of the fathers to the sons. To prepare the way for the Lord. And we know that prophecy always has a double fulfillment. And we know that Elijah will come before the second coming as well. And I've understood that the spirit of Elijah is the spirit of reconciliation. To return hearts to each other.” “If you're born again...raise your hand if you're born again. You're a Catholic.” (audience laughs) “Take back, redeem, what belongs to you. We are Catholics!” “I've come to understand that diversity is divine. It's division that's diabolic.” “The glory that the Father had, He gave to Jesus. The glory was the presence of God. What is the Charismatic renewal? It's when we experience the presence of God. And He said, 'and I give them the glory', pragmatic reason, so that they may be one. It's the glory that glues us together, not the doctrines.” “If you accept that Christ is living in me, and the presence of God is in me, and the presence of God is in you, that's all we need. Because God will sort out all our doctrines when we get upstairs.” “Division destroys our credibility. It is fear that keeps us separated, because fear is false evidence appearing real, it's an acronym. F E A R, false evidence appearing real. Because most of your fear is based on propaganda.” “Luther believed that we were saved by grace through faith....alone. Amen. But that's not it. The Catholic Church believed that we were saved by works. And that was their protest. In 1999, they wrote this together, [referring to the official agreement between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran church, signed in 1999] because in the Protestant church we got a lot of cheap salvations. People were getting born again but no fruit whatsoever. And because we didn't even look for fruits, it wasn't the issue, cause it wasn't necessary for salvation. And no it's not, but it's a good judge if you are saved. So what these two churches did, they put the two definitions together. Listen to it. I'm reading verbatim from the Catholic Vatican website. Justification means that Christ Himself is our righteousness. In which we share through the Holy Spirit in accord with the will of the Father. Together we, Catholics and Protestants, (Lutherans), believe and confess that by grace alone in faith in Christ's saving works and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God, and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.” (audience applause) “This brought an end to the protest of Luther.” (pause) “Brothers and sisters, Luther's protest is over. Is yours?" “So, the protest has been over for fifteen years. And I get a bit cheeky here, cause I challenge my protestant pastor friends, if there is no more protest, how can there be a protestant church? (pause) “Maybe now we're all Catholics again. But we are reformed. We're Catholic in the universal sense. We're not protesting the doctrine of salvation by the Catholic Church anymore. We now preach the same Gospel. We now preach you are saved by grace through faith, alone. The word 'alone' was the argument for 500 years. The word 'alone' is there, you can read it yourself. The protest is over.” (pause) “The protest is over.” “We need to throw as much resources and energy into the ministry of reconciliation as we do to the ministry of evangelization. Or are we building walls without foundations?” Here are some questions I think Evangelicals and Protestants must honestly ask themselves, however, before deciding whether or not Bishop Palmer is correct in regard to the assertions he made at this conference. Is it actually true that Evangelicals and Catholics can have real unity if official Catholic doctrine and tradition have not changed? Are there truly no serious differences in faith and doctrine between Catholicism and Evangelicalism? (Or Protestantism) Is the “protest” really over, as Bishop Palmer suggests? Are we actually “all Catholics again” as Bishop Palmer claims we are? Are Evangelicals and Protestants actually in agreement with official Catholic doctrine regarding the Gospel and how one is saved? Does the Catholic Church actually teach “salvation by faith unto good works”, as Bishop Palmer claims? Or are good works still held as a necessary part of salvation in official Catholic doctrine and tradition? Is it true that official Catholic doctrine no longer includes various works as a crucial part of salvation? Also, here is what Pope Francis says, in part, in the video shared at this conference: (Speaking of Catholics and Evangelicals, he says) “We are kind of...permit me to say, separated. Separated because, it's sin that has separated us, all our sins. The misunderstandings throughout history. It has been a long road of sins that well all shared in. Who's to blame? We all share the blame. We have all sinned. There is only one blameless, the Lord. I am nostalgic [yearning] that this separation comes to an end and gives us communion. I am nostalgic [yearning], of that embrace.” “We have a lot of cultural riches, and religious riches. And we have diverse traditions. But we have to encounter one another as Brothers. We must cry together like Joesph did. These tears will unite us. Tears of love.” “And let's pray to the Lord that He unites us all. Come on, we are Brothers. Let's give each other a spiritual hug and let God complete the work that He has begun. And this is a miracle; the miracle of unity has begun.” And here are some more questions I think we should ask ourselves as Protestants and Evangelicals: Is Pope Francis correct? Is it “sin" that has separated us? (Catholics and Evangelicals) Was the Reformation, therefore, simply a “misunderstanding"? Were all the thousands who died rather than submit to the Catholic Church, the Papacy and it's doctrines and tradition guilty of sin and misunderstanding as well? Should Evangelicals and Protestants be willing to come back into unity with the Catholic Church? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts (respectfully and constructively). I will post some further thoughts of my own soon. God bless
Limey_Bob posted a topic in Eschatology“42And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42, KJV). The repentant thief asks Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom, please notice that this noun is a singular. To which Jesus replies that today (that very day), the thief would accompany Christ in his kingdom, which he called "paradise" implying that at that very time God’s kingdom was then a present event, Christ ruling over both the faithful dead saints, as well as his faithful servants then living upon the earth. So notice that the thief assumes, and Christ's reply accepts, that there is only one single Kingdom, over which the thief hopes, and Christ then confirms that he will then become a part of this single Kingdom. Christ didn't tell the thief that there are actually two different kingdoms, as in some more extreme dispensational theology; firstly the Kingdom of God and secondly the Kingdom of Heaven, and that Christ will place him into one of these two (plural) kingdoms. There is only one Kingdom! My theology is on the whole mostly covenant theology (reformed). I mean no disrespect to the dispensationalists, but can those of the more extreme flavour prove their claim to multiple Kingdoms?