Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sardis: The Protestant Reformation - 1506 - 1750 AD

Temple Baptist Church - 2-23-2020
Revelation 3:1-6

Introduction:  The Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.  There is too much in church history to cover in one night, so I want to look at 7 different events that historically brought about the Protestant Reformation.

1.  The Renaissance Period.

1350-1650 - The Renaissance, which took place in the important countries in Europe between 1350 and 1650, marked the transition from the medieval to the modern world. The name, which is derived from the Latin words for “birth” and “back,” expressed the idea of a rebirth of the previous culture.

The importance of the Renaissance Period:  The Renaissance has been linked with the fourteenth century in Italy, during which time men’s minds were stimulated to literary and artistic production by the rediscovery of the treasures of the classical past.

Attention was focused on the streets of Rome instead of on the streets of the New Jerusalem. The medieval theocentric conception of the world, in which God was the measure of all things, gave way to an anthropocentric view of life, in which man became the measure of all things. Emphasis was placed on the glory of man instead of on the glory of God.

Although the age clung to religion, it was only as a mere formality on the holy days of the church; and the tendency was to forget the claims of God on the individual in daily life.

2.  St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel Financial Fiasco.

1506: Work begins on new St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome at great cost.

The Sistine Chapel at the Vatican was built for Pope Sixtus IV and used as the private chapel of the popes. The walls of the Chapel were covered with beautiful paintings but the most famous are the scenes from the Bible on the ceiling, done by Michelangelo, which he worked on from 1508 to 1512. On the altar wall is Michelangelo’s Last Judgment.

1512: Michelangelo completes Sistine Chapel frescoes (wall paintings).  Michelangelo decorated the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with magnificent paintings. He also became the able architect who supervised the completion of Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rome and crowned the building with its lovely dome.

3.  The false doctrine and abuse of Indulgences.

Pope Leo X began granting indulgences for payments towards the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica. These indulgences would have been very expensive and unfair as the basilica took roughly 120 years to make, meaning it would have been a magnificent but EXTREMELY expensive build. Hence the Pope selling indulgences to afford it. This abuse was what sparked Martin Luther to officially begin his reformation, as he believed he could use this case as evidence.   

Indulgences were associated with the sacrament of penance. After one had repented of sin and had confessed it, one was assured of absolution by the priest, provided satisfaction was made. It was thought that the guilt of sin and eternal punishment for sin were forgiven by God but that there was a temporal satisfaction that the repentant sinner must fulfill either in this life or in purgatory.  This satisfaction might be a pilgrimage to a shrine, a payment of money to a church, or some meritorious deed. The indulgence was a document that one could buy for a sum of money and that would free him from the temporal penalty of sin.

The amount charged was determined by the sinner’s wealth and social position. Indulgences were given free to the destitute, but a king might pay more than three hundred dollars for his indulgence.

4.  The invention of the Printing Press.

1439 - Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press.  Now literature and especially the earliest Bibles could be printed quickly for the common people.  Before the invention of the printing press, books and literature, along with the Word of God had to be copied by hand.

For the first time in human history, reproduction of the Word of God became the means of placing it in the hands of the common people.

5.  The translation of manuscripts into Bibles.

1455 – Johannes Gutenberg Produced the First Printed German Bible using his revolutionary invention—printing from movable type—he made the Scriptures potentially accessible to every person.
1516 - Erasmus publishes Greek New Testament – The beginning of the Canonization of Scripture.
1522 - Martin Luther translates and publishes the New Testament for the first time into German from the 1516 Erasmus version.
1524 - Bomberg prints a second edition Masoretic text prepared by Jacob ben Chayim.
1525 - William Tyndale produces the first translation of the New Testament from Greek into English.
1527 - Erasmus publishes a fourth edition Greek-Latin translation.
1530 - Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples completes the first French language translation of the entire Bible.
1535 - Myles Coverdale's Bible completes Tyndale's work, producing the first complete printed Bible in the English language. It includes the 39 Old Testament books, 27 New Testament books, and 14 Apocrypha books.
1536 - Martin Luther translates the Old Testament into the commonly spoken dialect of the German people, completing his translation of the entire Bible in German.
1537 - The Matthew Bible (commonly known as the Matthew-Tyndale Bible), a second complete printed English translation, is published, combining the works of Tyndale, Coverdale and John Rogers.
1539 - The Great Bible, the first English Bible authorized for public use, is printed.
1546 - Roman Catholic Council of Trent declares the Vulgate as the exclusive Latin authority for the Bible.
1553 - Robert Estienne publishes a French Bible with chapter and verse divisions. This system of numbering becomes widely accepted and is still found in most Bible's today.
1560 - The Geneva Bible is printed in Geneva, Switzerland. It is translated by English refugees and published by John Calvin's brother-in-law, William Whittingham. The Geneva Bible is the first English Bible to add numbered verses to the chapters. It becomes the Bible of the Protestant Reformation, more popular than the 1611 King James Version for decades after its original release.
1568 - The Bishop's Bible, a revision of the Great Bible, is introduced in England to compete with the popular but "inflammatory toward the institutional Church" Geneva Bible.
1582 - Dropping its 1,000-year-old Latin-only policy, the Church of Rome produces the first English Catholic Bible, the Rheims New Testament, from the Latin Vulgate.
1592 - The Clementine Vulgate (authorized by Pope Clementine VIII), a revised version of the Latin Vulgate, becomes the authoritative Bible of the Catholic Church.
1609 - The Douay Old Testament is translated into English by the Church of Rome, to complete the combined Douay-Rheims Version.
1611 - The King James Version, also called the "Authorized Version" of the Bible is published. It is said to be the most printed book in the history of the world, with more than one billion copies in print.

6.  The Protestant Reformation.

1517 - Luther posts his Ninety-Five Theses - The writer has chosen 1517 because the activities of Luther in that year ushered in an entirely different era, in which the emphasis was not so much on the church as an institution as it was on the church constituted as a body of individual believers by a personal faith in the redemptive work of Christ.

It was Luther’s famous protest in the Ninety-five Theses against the abuse of indulgences that precipitated the train of events that resulted in the Reformation in Germany. From Germany the Reformation spread all over northern and western Europe.

1518: Ulrich Zwingli comes to Zurich Switzerland. Ulrich Zwingli (1484 –1531) was the leader of the Protestant Reformation in German-speaking Switzerland. Independent from Martin Luther, who came to his understandings over the course of a long and tortuous personal struggle, Zwingli arrived at similar conclusions by studying the scriptures as a Christian humanist scholar.

1521 - Diet of Worms.   A meeting of the Diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire held at Worms, Germany, in 1521, made famous by Martin Luther’s appearance before it to respond to charges of heresy. It was here that Martin Luther was officially excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church for heresy.

1536 Calvin publishes first edition of Institutes.  Establishes the TULIP – 5 points of Calvinism.

The Protestant churches that came out of this upheaval differed in the extent to which they departed from the medieval church, but all of them accepted the Bible as the final authority.

Luther retained many things in the ritual that were not prohibited in the Bible. The Anglican church departed little further from the ritual and practice of the medieval church than the Lutherans did, but it must be understood that both the Anglicans and Lutherans completely disavowed the hierarchical sacramental system of the Roman church. The Reformed and Presbyterian churches, which followed Calvin in France, Holland, Scotland, Switzerland, and Hungary, disavowed all practices that could not be proved to be in accordance with the New Testament.

7.  The Anabaptists.

A.D. 1536 - Tyndale is condemned as a heretic, strangled, and burned at the stake.

A.D. 1536 Menno Simons (1496 – 31 January 1561) baptized as Anabaptist.  Menno Simons was a former Catholic priest from the Friesland region of the Low Countries who became an influential Anabaptist religious leader.  His followers formed the Mennonite church.

“Anabaptist” is an invented name meaning “re-baptizers.” It was given to 16th-century Christians who rejected infant baptism and, therefore, baptized each other as adults upon confession of faith.

These Anabaptist Christians were the forerunners of today’s Mennonite Christians and many others in the Free Church tradition. Anabaptist/Mennonite Christians hold many beliefs in common with other believers.

They believe in a personal three-in-one God who is both holy and gracious, in salvation by grace through repentance and faith, in the humanity and divinity of Jesus, in the inspiration and authority of Scripture, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the church as the body of Christ.

1563 - Foxe’s Book of Martyrs published.

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