The introductory post explains the purposes, goals and scope of this blog. If you have not read it, I suggest you start there and then, look through the posts to get a feeling for where I have gone and where I am going. But, if you don’t have the time, feel free to read this post alone. However, the blog is meant to be a series and so if you find it interesting you can go back and read it or, if you would prefer you can download a PDF of the entire blog. This PDF will be updated every Saturday so that it will have the entire blog, from first post to last, through the latest Saturday.
Based upon Acts 20:29, Matthew 16:6 & 11, and, 2Thess 2:11 & 12, we can see that it was prophesied that the church would be plagued with error and at some point it would become apostate in large part. If we look at the conditions leading up to the reformations, it can be concluded that at the very least, the reformers, especially Luther and Calvin saw the church as apostate. This is obvious by various Calvinistic bible commentators. For example, John Gill saw the man of sin as symbolic of the many popes who claimed to be the Vicar of Christ/God in the earth.
This is given as justification for the reformation and, the break away from the mother Church. Initially, it was centered on the doctrine that there was no salvation outside of the Roman Catholic Church. To combat this, the Reformers came up with what has become known as the five sola’s. This is the feminine form of the word alone, Solo. When one flies solo, we understand that it means that they are flying alone, the only person in the airplane. Since the main language of the church in the early fifteen hundreds was Latin, these terms were written and spoken in Latin. They are as follows: sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), sola scriptura (scripture alone), Solo Christo (Christ alone) and, Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God alone). Each one of these sola’s was concerned narrowly with salvation. In other words, salvation is found in faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone, scripture alone and it was all to the glory of God alone.
Before the reformation, there were essentially two denominations. There was the Roman Catholic Church and there was Eastern Orthodoxy made up of several autonomous churches such as the church in Jerusalem, Constantinople, Alexandria and, Antioch. The four had split from the church in Rome. Now, since the reformation, over the years, we have today a climate in which there are over 30,000 denominations. Many will not fellowship with the others and claim that they alone have the proper doctrine and the keys to proper salvation.
While the inquisitions and violence has stopped, there remains in large part a psychological inquisition. Certain groups throw around the word heresy and dis-fellowship any who would stray from the doctrinal creeds of the mother church, Sometimes I think that the psychological inquisition is actually more painful than the physical inquisition. In the old days, a person’s suffering stopped after being burned at the stake but now, the psychosocial torture can go on through out an entire lifetime.