Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Through the Mighty Power of God's Word, the Great Protestant Reformation Shook the World

H. Gratten Guiness wrote these memorable words:

From the first, and throughout, that movement [the Reformation] was energized and guided by the prophetic word. Luther never felt strong and free to war against Papal apostasy till he recognized the pope as antichrist. It was then that he burned the Papal bull. Knox’s first sermon, the sermon that launched him on his mission as a reformer, was on the prophecies concerning the papacy. The reformers embodied their interpretations of prophecy in their confessions of faith, and Calvin in his “Institutes.” All of the Reformers were unanimous in the matter, even the mild and cautious Melanchthon was assured of the anti-papal meaning of these prophecies as was Luther himself. And their interpretation of these prophecies determined their reforming action. It led them to protest against Rome with extraordinary strength and undaunted courage. It nerved them to resist the claims of the apostate church to the utmost. It made them martyrs; it sustained them at the stake. And the views of the Reformers were shared by thousands, by hundreds, of thousands. They were adopted by princes and peoples. Under their influence nations abjured their allegiance to the false priest of Rome. In the reaction that followed all the powers of hell seemed to be let loose upon the adherents of the Reformation. War followed war; tortures, burnings, and massacres were multiplied. Yet the Reformation stood undefeated and unconquerable. God’s word upheld it, and the energies of His almighty Spirit. It was the work of Christ as truly as the founding of the church eighteen centuries ago; and the revelation of the future which he gave from heaven-that prophetic book with which the Scripture closes-was one of the mightiest instruments employed in its accomplishment. - Henry Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation (Hodder and Stoughton, 1887): 250-251



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