Throwback Thursday: If you read only one book about the Reformation, this would be an excellent choice.

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on August 26, 2016 and has been revised.

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The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation
By Michael Reeves
B&H Publishing, 2010, 207 pages

5 Stars

After Christianity becoming legalized by the Roman Empire in 313 AD and was subsequently adopted as the official state religion, the early Christian church began incorporating many of the beliefs and practices of its pagan predecessors. By the early-Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic church had very little in common with the primitive, New Testament church. The message of salvation by a personal, saving faith in Jesus Christ had devolved into clerical imperialism, ritual, and ceremony. In addition to its hopelessly compromised theology, the church had become an open cesspool of greed, corruption, political intrigue, and immorality.

But then something absolutely wonderful happened. Beginning in the 14th century (some would argue for an even earlier date), men and women began rising up to challenge the church’s autocratic position through the power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. The flame of reform reached a tipping point in the early 1500s when Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin broke from Rome completely in their endeavor to return the church to simple saving faith in Jesus Christ. With the translation of the Bible into the vernacular and the invention of the printing press, the Roman church was unable to get the horse back into the barn despite the anathemas, inquisitions, and executions.

I’ve read several books on the Reformation over the past year and this easy-to-read primer is one of the best. Reeves writes with much wit while also delivering on the historical essentials. He doesn’t put the Reformers on a pedestal. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and the rest were all flawed sinners saved by God’s grace. Some monarchs definitely exploited the movement for political and economic advantages and it took succeeding Reformers to move the church even farther from Roman error. But the Holy Spirit accomplished a great work through these early Reformers and we should be grateful for their courage and fidelity to the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. In addition to the three principal Reformers, Reeves devotes quite a bit of attention to the Reformation movement in England.

Most people who flock to today’s evangelical-hipster, donut-shop, movie-theater-ambiance mega-churches will hear nothing about the Reformation. Catholics talk about “Jesus,” “grace,” and “faith” and that’s good enough for many evangelicals. But Catholicism hasn’t changed any of its important doctrines since 1517. It still teaches the same false gospel of salvation by sacramental pseudo-grace and merit. Catholics can never say they are saved because they must continue to attempt to merit their salvation right up until the day of their death. Reeves confronts those evangelicals who declare the Reformation is over. In this era of ecumenical compromise and the betrayal of the Gospel, the Reformation must continue. Roman Catholics (and unsaved Protestants) remain as a mission field.

As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation (2017), if you should decide you would like to read a non-academic introduction, this well-written, short book would be an excellent choice. It’s readily available from Amazon. See here.

Throwback Thursday: The “Other” Reformer

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on June 14, 2016 and has been revised.

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Ulrich Zwingli
By William Boekestein
EP Books, 2015, 163 pages

As I related in an earlier post, my wife and I visited Zurich, Switzerland as a side trip during our stay in Germany in early April (2016). My wife had an interest in Zurich because her grandfather originated from there and I was interested in the city because it was the home of the Reformer, Ulrich Zwingli.

After returning to the U.S., I wanted to read about Zwingli, but I didn’t want to get bogged down in an academic tome. This short book from the “Bitsize Biographies” series was perfect.

When it comes to Reformation history, most people know about Luther and Calvin, but Zwingli is far less familiar. Ulrich Zwingli was born in 1484 and ordained a Catholic priest in 1506. Young Zwingli was strongly influenced by the priestly scholar, Erasmus, who was a critic of the thoroughly corrupt church. Zwingli was one of the first to obtain a copy of Erasmus’s New Testament translation in 1516. When Zwingli was appointed pastor of the most important church in Zurich, the Grossmünster (Great Minister), in 1518 at the age of thirty-four, he was already pushing for reforms that would return the church back to New Testament faith and practice. Zwingli preached against ritualistic liturgy and the mass, indulgences, obligatory Lenten fasting, worshiping statues, the intercession of Mary and the saints, and the enforced celibacy of priests. Zwingli taught that salvation was not by sacramental grace and merit as Catholicism taught, but by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone as revealed in the New Testament. The Reformer won over the support of the civil government of Zurich and most of its citizens.

Zwingli and Luther met in 1529 in an attempt to unite the Swiss and German Reformation movements, but the two could not reach agreement on the issue of the Lord’s Supper. Luther held to the real presence of Christ in the elements while Zwingli believed the bread and wine were only symbolic.

Zwingi believed in a strong alliance between church and government. Anabaptists pushed for reforms beyond what Zwingli could accommodate and he persecuted them via the city magistrates. Several of the Swiss cantons followed Zwingli’s Reformation while others remained Catholic. Civil war ensued and Zwingli died in battle in 1531 as a chaplain to the Zurich troops.

I learned quite a bit about Zwingli in this short book. His belief in an ordained, church-state alliance is disappointing, but understandable given his RC foundation. Perhaps the most unusual information I learned about Zwingli was his belief that God elected some “heathens” for salvation, those who would never hear the Gospel during their lifetime.

As this book makes clear, Zwingli was an imperfect man. But as flawed as he was, the Lord used him in a mighty way to return the church back to the Gospel of grace. In America, with all of its freedoms, it’s hard for us to imagine the amount of faith and courage needed by Zwingli, Luther, Calvin, and the other Reformers to stand up to Rome in the 16th century.

* An interesting (and even humorous) episode in Zwingli’s revolt against Catholic formalism and ritualism was the famous “Affair of the Sausages.” See here.

Throwback Thursday: “Rescuing the Gospel” aka The Reformation – 101

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on May 25, 2016 and has been revised.

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Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation
By Erwin W. Lutzer
Baker Books, 2016, hardcover, 224 pages

5 Stars

With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation coming up in the Fall of 2017, we can expect the publication of many books on the subject. Every evangelical should, at the least, be “somewhat” familiar with the struggles of the men and women of the 16th-century, who, led by God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, sought to return the church from Roman Catholic ritualism and legalism to the New Testament Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Sadly, many of today’s seeker-friendly mega-church pastors never reference the Reformation.

“Rescuing the Gospel” is an excellent introduction to the Reformation for those who want to get just an essential understanding. It’s basically a “Reformation 101” in an easy-to-read style and a very attractive format with many small, color illustrations. It’s abundantly evident that this book was a labor of love for author, Erwin Lutzer, retired pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

The book begins by examining the absolute corruption of the Roman Catholic church in the Middle Ages. The early church had gradually devolved from preaching simple, saving faith in Jesus Christ into ritualism, legalism, ceremonialism, and superstition, all tightly controlled by the increasingly despotic clergy. The popes, cardinals, and bishops had adopted flagrantly wicked lifestyles. Early reformers like John Wycliffe in England and Jan Hus in Bohemia defiantly challenged Rome’s teachings and practices. The bulk of the book focuses on Martin Luther’s rebellion against church authority beginning with the nailing of his 95 theses to the cathedral door in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. Luther was a complex man with his share of faults, but he was used mightily by the Lord to return the church back to the Gospel. Lutzer then turns to the important contributions of Huldrych Zwingli in Zurich and John Calvin in Geneva, as well as a few others. The Reformers had several failings and missteps (e.g., Luther’s liturgicalism and anti-Semitism, Zwingli’s alliance with civil government), which the author readily acknowledges. It would be up to succeeding Reformers to chip away at remaining vestiges of Roman error.

Perhaps the best part of this book is the final chapter: “Is the Reformation Over?” Today, some evangelicals clamor for unity with Rome despite the remaining irreconcilable differences in doctrine. Most importantly, the Roman Catholic church continues to teach salvation by sacramental grace and merit in contrast to the Good News! of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Some undiscerning evangelicals hear “grace” and “faith” mentioned by Catholic representatives and proclaim, “Close enough!,” while purposely ignoring the fine print. Lutzer calls for evangelicals to continue to rescue the Gospel of grace from the Catholic church and all other groups and individuals who believe “that it is up to them to contribute to their salvation and that they must make themselves worthy to receive it “ (p.200). Lutzer suggests that our task to uphold the Gospel may be even more difficult than in Luther’s day because of the compromise with error WITHIN evangelicalism. It’s our unending job to rescue and defend the genuine Gospel of grace and to proclaim it! The Reformation continues.

If you’re interested in reading a basic examination of the Reformation without the challenges and obstacles of a lengthy academic tome, THIS is your book. It would also make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves the Gospel. I’m not one to collect books on a dusty bookshelf anymore, but this one’s a keeper! Order from Amazon here.

Throwback Thursday: Searching for the Reformers; Hus and Zwingli

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on April 10, 2016 during a trip to Germany and Switzerland and has been revised.

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There’s only a few days left on our 12-day trip to Martinshöhe, Germany to visit with family. It’s been very enjoyable, especially the time we’ve been able to spend with our grandson. We’re so grateful to the Lord to be able to be with him.

This was our third visit to Germany and each time my wife and I have taken a side-trip somewhere by ourselves to break things up. This time we visited Konstanz, Germany and Zürich, Switzerland. My wife’s grandfather was originally from Zürich and she had always wanted to visit there. I knew that the Swiss Reformer, Huldrych Zwingli, had been based in Zürich and that also sparked my personal interest. While researching our 5-hour trip to Zürich, I discovered the Bohemian/Czech pre-Reformer, Jan Hus, had been martyred in Konstanz, a city on our route. The house Hus had briefly lived in is now a museum, so we decided to visit there also.

We rented a car Tuesday morning and started off to Konstanz, a trip of 4 hours. When we arrived there we discovered parking was impossible, just like all European cities. We drove around looking for a hotel, but found nothing suitable; no big hotel chains in this small city. But we drove by the famous Konzil (Council) building where the Catholic church’s infamous Council of Constance (1414-1418) had convened. The Council found Jan Hus guilty of heresy and delivered him to the magistrates to be burned at the stake. The Council also elected a new pope because no one could figure out which of the three rival popes claiming the office at the time was the “legitimate” pontiff. The house where Hus lived prior to his trial was located in the pedestrians-only, old town section of the city and could not be seen from the road. With all the hassles of trying to find a hotel, we decided to push on to Zürich and stop again at Konstanz on our return.

We arrived in Zürich an hour later and relaxed for the rest of the evening. On Wednesday morning we were up bright and early and took a commuter train to the old town section. Our seven-hour walk took us through the winding, very narrow streets of the old town. The highlight for me was visiting the Grossmünster (“Great cathedral”) where Zwingli preached. While reading Erasmus’ New Testament translation, the Holy Spirit led Zwingli, like his more well-known contemporary, Martin Luther, to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and to pursue several reforms to return the church to the simple yet sublime Gospel of grace. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Grossmünster with its stark interior (Zwingli had removed and destroyed all of the idolatrous Catholic statuary). Not far from the church we saw Zwingli’s parsonage. After several more hours of strolling through Zürich’s old city section, we returned to the hotel happily exhausted.

Thursday morning, we began our trip back to Martinshöhe. We stopped at Konstanz once again, but decided the hassle of trying to find a parking spot and the long walk to the old town was not worth it for just a quick photo of the Hus house. I would have happily made the sacrifice had I been traveling alone, but, unfortunately, my wife does not share my enthusiasm for history.

I am so grateful to the Lord for raising up Reformers like Hus and Zwingli. Defying the Roman Catholic church usually meant certain death in those days. If you haven’t read about Hus and Zwingli, I would encourage you to do so. Succeeding Reformers would move the church even farther away from vestiges of Roman legalism and ritualism, but these brave men took the first very dangerous steps. Although Rome has not changed any of its major doctrines, some contemporary evangelical leaders are lining up to betray the Gospel and embrace Catholicism, as if the Reformation had never occurred. Many evangelicals would rather indulge in spiritual cotton candy rather than bother with any of the nitty gritty history of the Reformation.

Above: The Jan Hus House in Konstanz, Germany. Hus resided here for three weeks in November 1414 before he was imprisoned and his trial for heresy began.
Above: This monument in Konstanz commemorates the martyrdom of Jan Hus. It’s located midway between the Konzil Building where Hus was tried, and the Konzil Cathedral (Münster) where he was condemned to death.
Above: This monument stone in Konstanz marks the spot where Jan Hus was burnt alive at the stake.
Above: The Konzil Building (“Konzilgebäude”) in Konstanz, Germany built in 1388 where the Council of Constance (1414-1418) tried pre-Reformer Jan Hus as a heretic and also deposed the three rival claimants to the papal throne, John XXIII, Gregory XII, and Benedict XIII.

Postscript: In a speech delivered in Prague, Czech Republic on December 18, 1999, pope John Paul II expressed “deep sorrow” for the death of Jan Hus. How can a modern pope apologize for the ruling of a RC church council? What does that say about the RCC’s vaunted Magisterium?

Throwback Thursday: If you read only one book about the Reformation, this would be an excellent choice.

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment! Today, in honor of Reformation Day, we’re revisiting a post that was originally published back on August 26, 2016 and has been slightly revised.

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The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation
By Michael Reeves
B&H Publishing, 2010, 207 pages

After Christianity became legalized by the Roman Empire and subsequently adopted as the official state religion, the early Christian church gradually began adapting and incorporating many of the beliefs and practices of its pagan predecessors. By the 14th century, the Roman Catholic church had very little in common with the primitive, New Testament church. The Gospel message of salvation by God’s grace though a personal, saving faith in Jesus Christ had devolved into clerical imperialism, legalism, and ritualism. In addition to its hopelessly compromised theology, the Roman church had become an open cesspool of greed, corruption, political intrigue, and immorality.

But then something absolutely wonderful happened. Beginning in the 14th century (some would argue for an even earlier date), men and women began rising up to challenge the church’s autocratic position through the power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. The flame of reform reached a tipping point in the early 1500s when Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin broke from Rome completely in their endeavor to return the church to the Good News! of salvation via saving faith in Jesus Christ. With the translation of the Latin Bible into the vernacular and the invention of the printing press, the Roman church was unable to return the horses back into the barn despite the anathemas, inquisitions, and executions.

I’ve read several general histories of the Reformation and this easy-to-read primer is one of the best. Reeves writes with much wit while also delivering on the historical essentials. He doesn’t put the Reformers on a pedestal. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and the rest were all flawed sinners saved by God’s grace. Some monarchs definitely exploited the movement for political and economic advantages and it took succeeding Reformers to move the church even farther from Roman error. But the Holy Spirit accomplished a great work through these early Reformers and we should be grateful for their courage and fidelity to the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. In addition to the three principals, Reeves devotes quite a bit of attention to the Reformation movement in England.

Those who attend today’s “seeker-friendly” evangelical mega-churches generally hear little or nothing about the Reformation. They are not aware of the irreconcilable differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity. Roman Catholics talk about Jesus, “grace,” and “faith” and that’s good enough for many. Sadly, these days we even have popular evangelical pastors recommending books by committed Catholics to their unwary congregations and media audiences. But Catholicism hasn’t changed any of its important doctrines since 1517. It still teaches the same false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. Catholics can never say they are saved because they are taught they must continue to attempt to merit their salvation right up until the day of their death. Reeves confronts those evangelicals who declare the Reformation is over. In this era of ecumenical compromise and betrayal of the Gospel, the Reformation must continue. Roman Catholics (and unsaved “Protestants”) remain as a mission field.

Today, we mark the 502nd anniversary of the Reformation. I praise God for raising up Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and the other early Reformers to restore the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. If you should decide you would like to read a non-academic introduction to the Reformation, this well-written, short book would be an excellent choice. It’s readily available from Amazon here.

Trento, Italy: Ah, so THAT’S where the Catholic church anathematized all Protestants!

Bible Christians who have some interest in church history have heard of the Catholic church’s infamous Council of Trent (1545-63). The Protestant Reformation began in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Saxony and the recovered Gospel of grace quickly spread throughout Europe. In an effort to counteract the advance and influence of the Reformation, pope Paul III convoked the Council of Trent in 1545. The twenty-five council sessions took place over eighteen years, overlapping into the tenures of two other popes, Julius III and Pius IV. The main “accomplishments” of the council were Capture38clarification of Roman Catholic teaching and condemnation of the Protestant “heresies.” The Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone that was recovered by the Reformers and all those who believed in it were repeatedly anathematized (condemned) by the council’s declarations. Trent was the beginning of the Catholic “Counter-Reformation.”

I’ve often referred to the Council of Trent, but I honestly didn’t even know where Trent was. That’s embarrassing for an amateur history buff to admit. So I did a little googling and dug up a few facts that others may find interesting also.

Trent is actually Trento in Northern Italy (see above map) and is situated near the Italian Alps. It was inhabited by Celts and named after the Celtic god of the waters because of the nearby Adije river. The Romans conquered the city in the late-1st-century BC and renamed it Tridentum in tribute to the trident of the Romans’ mythical god, Neptune. Doctrines and practices promulgated by the council were afterward labeled as “Tridentine” in deference to the Roman name of the city.

Below are photos of the two churches in Trento where the council sessions were held. Three of the council sessions took place in the city of Bologna, but the other twenty-two sessions were held in Trento at these two churches.

In the future, when I refer to the Council of Trent, I’ll now know where the dastardly council took place. Despite its tremendous temporal power, the Roman Catholic church could not stop the Holy Spirit and the spread of the Gospel of grace. It’s quite interesting to note that, the current ecumenical climate notwithstanding, the Council of Trent’s anathemas against the Gospel of grace and believers have never been rescinded.

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Whited sepulchre #1: The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Saint Mary Major) in Trento where some of the council sessions were held.  

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Whited sepulchre #2: The Cathedral of Saint Vigilius of Trento where the majority of the council sessions were held. Note the fountain, replete with a statue of the Roman false god, Neptune.

See here for interior photos of the two Trento churches, above, that hosted the Council of Trent.

For more information on how Catholicism condemned the Gospel of grace at the Council of Trent, see the article below:

Council of Trent: Canons on Justification
https://carm.org/catholic/council-trent-canons-justification

Hypocritical double standard: Why was monk Luther “neurotic” for daily confession, but John Paul II “saintly”?

I listen to “Called to Communion,” a Roman Catholic talk radio show, for about one hour every work day in order to keep abreast of what’s going on within the RCC. The advertised aim of the show is to convert Protestants to Catholicism. There’s no ecumenism going on during this show, folks. Host, David Anders, is pretty blunt in his attacks on the Gospel of grace.

Last week, I was listening to the 11/1/18 podcast of the show, and the discussion focused on Reformer, Martin Luther. As in MANY previous episodes, Anders described “heretic” Luther as an overly-scrupulous neurotic, who suffered from an obsessive-compulsive disorder. On what does Anders base that ad hominem smear?

Prior to breaking from Catholicism, Luther was an Augustinian monk. Luther took his legalistic religion very seriously, unlike most Catholics, and constantly compared how his thoughts, words, deeds, and acts of deliberate omission measured up to God’s Ten Commandments. Catholics are obligated to confess their sins to a priest at least once per year or incur a mortal sin (only 12% of contemporary Catholics obey this rule). Luther confessed his sins to a priest EVERY DAY and would often spend hours in the confessional recounting his offenses against God’s Law.

Catholics like Anders brand Luther as hyper-scrupulous and neurotic, but the Holy Spirit was revealing to the monk his sinful depravity and his absolute inability to obey his way into Heaven. Luther would eventually trust in the promises of God’s Word and become spiritually reborn by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Luther was finally able to rest in God’s forgiveness and salvation through Christ.

Anders naturally pushes his church’s false gospel, which states that people can successfully obey their way into Heaven with the help of sacramental grace, but in order to keep their sanity while on this legalistic treadmill, Catholics seriously downplay the extent of their sin. Most Catholics will tell you with a great degree of sincerity that they do a pretty good job of obeying the Ten Commandments.

It’s interesting, though, that there have been many Catholics over the ages who, like Luther, also had a sharp awareness of their sinfulness. However, rather than repenting of their sin and trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone, these Catholics practiced various methods of severe asceticism including painful self-mortification as part of their penance or as attempts to master the flesh. Mother Teresa wore a pain-inducing “cilice” (see here) daily. Catherine of Siena starved herself to death by restricting her food intake to only a daily communion wafer. Pope John Paul II flagellated himself daily and also, like Luther, went to confession every day. I wrote all of the above to ask this: Isn’t it contradictory for Anders and other Catholic apologists to slander monk Luther as being overly-scrupulous, neurotic, and an obsessive-compulsive when many Catholic saints, who these apologists extol with great gusto, were slaves of their legalistic religion to an even greater degree than monk Luther? Why was Luther’s daily confession a sign of neurosis, but John Paul II’s daily confession a sign of sanctity?

Conservative Catholic priest furious over commemorations of Martin Luther and Reformation

Pope Francis is causing a great deal of consternation among conservatives in the Catholic church with his reforms. But after several years of biting their tongues, conservatives now feel bold enough to publicly oppose their pope.

Our local Catholic radio station, run by conservatives, recently launched a new show, “The Catholic Connection,” which seeks to counteract the “confusion” and heresy proliferating from Francis’s Vatican.

Yesterday, I listened to the January 15th podcast of the show, in which one of the alternating priest-hosts, Jacek Mazur, spoke at length and quite disparagingly about Martin Luther. Mazur began his comments by noting that, this past October, the Vatican issued a special postage stamp commemorating Martin Luther and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Mazur stated that ecumenism was a good thing, but only if it led Protestants back to the Catholic church. He was appalled that the Vatican was honoring Luther and the Reformation by issuing the stamp as well as by other commemorations.

The priest continued with a 50-minute tirade against Luther, calling him a “heretic” who “caused so much pain and so much division.” He stated the Reformation was actually a “revolution” that “did not come from God.” According to Mazur, Luther led millions astray by teaching that the only thing required for salvation was some kind of nebulous “faith,” allowing his followers to subsequently live like the devil with a clear conscience. He concluded that Protestantism’s many divisions demonstrated the need for an authorized magisterium, but he was mystified by the ecumenical compromise of the current pope and many other prelates, exemplified by the Reformation anniversary stamp.

It was actually refreshing to hear this reactionary, militant priest object so strongly to Martin Luther. Evangelicals and Catholics believe in two entirely different gospels – the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone versus the false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. Namby-pamby ecumenists on both sides of the unbridgeable chasm would like to mask vital doctrinal differences in the name of “charity” and “unity,” but the Truth will prevail.

In his discourse, Mazur set up one straw man after another in his attack on Luther, but that’s to be expected from a priest. The Holy Spirit, Almighty God, used Martin Luther and the other Reformers to recover the Gospel of grace that had been buried under centuries of ritual, formalism, and man-made traditions. Praise God for the Reformers and the others who stood upon God’s Word and opposed Rome despite the threat of death!

But here’s the great irony, which obviously hasn’t registered with Mr. Mazur quite yet. He boasts that Catholicism alone has a divinely-led teaching magisterium, comprised of the pope and his bishops, yet Mazur and other like-minded, EWTN-type conservatives are actively opposing Francis in the lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees and other reforms. So why would conservative Catholics boast about their church’s “infallible” teaching authority when so many of them oppose Francis as a heretic? You can’t have it both ways, Mr. Mazur.

If you would like to hear priest Mazur’s diatribe for yourself, click here, and look for the itunes podcast for January 15, 2018, “The Protestant Revolution.” Given Mazur’s militant tone, one can easily imagine him joining in with those Catholics of the 16th century who called for the execution of Luther as a heretic.

Postscript: While traditionalist priests, like Mazur, have no use for ecumenism with Protestant “heretics,” pope Francis and others know they can catch more willing Protestant dupes with honey than vinegar.

Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed The World

I’m a bit behind on my reviews, so I’m going to keep the next several somewhat brief.

Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed The World
Directed by David Batty, narrated by Hugh Bonneville, and featuring Padraic Delaney as Martin Luther.
PBS, 2017, 120 minutes

I missed this docu-drama when it aired on PBS back in September as part of the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, so I recently ordered the DVD. I enjoyed “Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed The World” quite a bit. It’s clear that this was a low-budget production and written with a wide audience in mind, but it surprisingly tells Luther’s story quite accurately, including the reclaiming of the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Multiple sound bites from the most powerful Catholic clergyman in America, cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, are included in the first half of the film. Dolan concedes that the Catholic church was exceedingly corrupt at the time of the Reformation and he praises Luther for his zeal. However, he makes sure to point out that some monarchs supported Luther only as part of an effort to usurp territory held by Rome. No debate with that, but leave it to Dolan to draw attention to the temporal sidebars of the Reformation rather than to the spiritual battle of whether man is saved by Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit or by the Biblical Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. The film does focus on the moment when the Holy Spirit used Romans 1:17 to enlighten Luther to the Gospel of grace.

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

I’m not altogether pleased with the title of this documentary. It infers that the Gospel was Luther’s “idea.” Rather, Luther, along with others, recovered the New Testament Gospel that had been buried under layer upon layer of ecclesiastical ritual, tradition, legalism, and ceremony.

Praise the Lord for Luther and all the Reformers who were used by the Holy Spirit to return the church to the Gospel of grace. I’m definitely going to watch this film again. Order from Amazon here.

Postscript: Catholics should have absolutely zero objections to Martin Luther and the Reformation at this point because their current pope says even atheists can merit Heaven if they follow their conscience.

How genuine were Catholic prelates when they “commemorated” Martin Luther and Reformation 500?

A few weeks ago, there were MANY articles in the news regarding the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. However, in today’s “post-modern” era, when doctrine is totally deemphasized, and relativism, experientialism, and plurality are worshipped as idols, the Reformation strikes many as offensive. Some “Protestants” now eagerly embrace Catholics as fellow “believers” and declare they’ve renounced the “rancor” and “sectarianism” of the Reformation and strive for unity with the church of Rome. After all, they say, Catholics also believe in “grace” and “faith” and “Jesus the Savior” so let’s all just let bygones be bygones and focus on what unites us and leave the debates over doctrine to grumpy theologians.

But beneath all of today’s doctrinally-bankrupt, ♫kumbaya♫ sentimentality, Rome still preaches the same false gospel of sacramental grace and merit that it did in 1517. At the Second Vatican Council, Rome decided it could catch more “separated brethren” with “sweetness” rather than with conflict and many Protestants have taken the bait. Last month, Catholic bishops all over the world co-celebrated prayer services commemorating Reformation 500 with liberal Lutheran bishops. Catholic prelates extol “justification by faith” with gusto, but what they mean is something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT than what evangelicals understand by that term. As the saying goes, if you keep telling a lie long enough, you can get just about everyone to believe it.

In the article below, ex-Catholic priest, Richard Bennett, comments on the Vatican’s enthusiastic pronouncement that the Reformation is over.


Vatican Fake News – “The Reformation is Over”
By Richard Bennett and Stuart Quint
September 29, 2017

The Lord Jesus Christ condemned the Pharisees as they attempted to suppress the truth of the Gospel by equating their traditions with the Bible.  “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees!  For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”

Today, the senior leadership of the Roman Catholic Church also undermines truth by equating man-made traditions with God’s Word.   Pope Francis and the Roman hierarchy exalt their own authority above Holy Scripture.  Consequently, the Catholic person believes not in the Almighty God and His immutable Word, but rather in the Catholic Church and her evolving tradition.

Ever since the Reformation began 500 years ago, the Roman Church continues to use its influence to camouflage the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To continue reading, click on the link below:

http://bereanbeacon.org/analyzing-the-pope/2017/9/29/vatican-fake-news-the-reformation-is-over