Title & Purpose

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.

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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Reformation - A Blessing sent from God and no Tragedy

All this week, the Belfast Telegraph will be carrying a series of articles to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Today, Mr Alban Maginness, a former barrister, MLA and Lord Mayor of Belfast, writes that the Reformation was "a tragedy that still divides us" [click on the link to read his article]

Among a number of comments Mr Maginness makes, there is the impression given that the Reformation was a "tragic" and "unfortunate" misunderstanding and that "by today's thinking, much of the disputed issues are not considered that great a difference in Christian thinking".

Mr Maginness goes on to observe that "In particular, a common understanding about the doctrine of justification by faith has now been reached between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Churches and others."
In his mind "Some of those historic disputes now seem abstract and irrelevant today. That is not to say that these differences were not real 500 years ago, but rather that they have lost the passion and energy that they once inspired."

He is heartened by the fact that "… ecumenical growth over the past century has led to a healthy and mature reconsideration of the Reformation by all and an easing of the inter-Church tensions."

In stating that in his opinion "the Reformation was a tragedy for all Christians," Mr Maginness asserts that the division created by the Reformation "… scandalously defies Christ's own words in John 17:21-22: "May they all be one. Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the World may believe it was you who sent me."

These comments are typical of Romanists, Ecumenists and apostate Protestants. In their mind the Reformation was a tragic mistake. The example of the Lutherans highlights the compromise of today when so called Protestant denominations have sold out to Rome and gone back to Popery. 

There is a devilish attempt to make out that both Romanism and Protestants accepts the same doctrine of justification by faith. They may do, as 'justification by faith', is not the issue and was not what the Reformation was about. The Reformation was about 'Justification by faith ALONE'. This is altogether different and is the all important matter. 

There are two points that Romanism has never conceded, and never will concede, namely that Justification is by faith ALONE and that Justification is an 'ACT' of God's free grace, separate from Sanctification, which is a process. These are the two points that the Lutherans have sold out on, along with other ecumenical and apostate Protestants.

In Rome's teaching 'Justification' is not an act experienced by faith alone. Rome in her most recent Catechism teaches:
The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" and through Baptism. [Emphasis mine]
[Catechism of the Catholic Church, CHAPTER THREE GOD'S SALVATION: LAW AND GRACE Article 2 GRACE AND JUSTIFICATION I. Justification section 1987]

Furthermore the Catechism states:
Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. [Section 1992]

In Section 1989, of the same Catechism, Rome restates her position that Justification is a process:
Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.

This was the position stated at the Council of Trent in 1547, when Luther's rediscovered Biblical teaching on Justification was taking root across Europe. The footnote to Section 1989 makes it abundantly clear that this statement is copied from the Council of Trent. 

Rome has not changed one iota of her beliefs on the doctrine of Justification. It is compromising Protestants who have changed. Rome still refuses to accept that Justification is by faith alone and is an act of God's free grace. 

Protestants should not be taken in by the spurious claims that the Reformation was a tragic mistake and a colossal misunderstanding on Luther's part. 

The division caused by the Reformation is no scandal either, as Mr Maginness claims. That series of rhetorical questions in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 answers this charge better than any other:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty

Christ's words in John 17:21 apply only to those who are truly His, by virtue of the new birth, and not to those who merely take His name, but have no possession of salvation through saving faith alone, in Christ alone.

The Protestant Reformation is the greatest blessing since the day of Pentecost. It may be an unfortunate tragedy and a scandal in Mr Maginness' eyes, but in the eyes of Bible believers the Reformation was the chiefest blessing God has bestowed upon this world since the Day of Pentecost.

The Protestant Reformation brought about the rediscovery, of the Biblical truth, as to how a man or woman is just with God, [Job 9:2: I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?] Justification is through faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone. 

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