Where Are All the Protestants (part 2)
Now-a-days… I have heard responses like the following:
— What’s the deal about “Protestants”?
— Is that even something to be concerned about, anymore?
Those lines of thought concern me, greatly.
Oh, how disconnected we are from our recent past.
For Generations, we were connected, somewhat, with our Great Protestant Christian Heritage, until around the 1960’s and then things have gone from bad to worse, in my humble opinion.
Why is the concept of “SOLA SCRIPTURA” (Scripture ONLY – The Bible Alone) so very important in this day and age? Or should we just believe anything?
Again, the problem with most folks who are good “church goers”, that attend normal, protestant, evangelical, Bible-believing churches is that they have no clue, at all, how the history of the Protestant Reformation relates to them personally. Yes, today, most “Christians”, most nice, good church going folks “must” have everything relate to them, or they just tune out immediately.
I think You know what I am talking about here, don’t you?
Here is an answer, without the Protestant Reformation there would be NO United States of America.
YES, that’s right.
Yes, the founders of the USA were almost all Protestants, Bible Believing, Bible-Only, Christians.
At least 95% or more were. Their philosophy of forming the USA was based upon the Preaching from the Pulpit by fire-breathing, Gospel preaching, Bible Teachers/Pastors.
The driving force of George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Cotton Matther, and so many others, was the fuel to the fire of the American Revolution.
That’s the most important, as it relates to Americans in their own lives today (at least that is how folks think, “how does this affect me, personally”).
The other “Affect” has been the Massive Expansion of the Biblically-based, church-based, Missionary Movement of the Gospel, from the 1600’s and onward. We are recipients of that movement and most churches, today, hopefully, are still supporting the continuation of that movement. The Greatest, Biblically-Based, Gospel Missionary Movements in all of History were spawned by the Protestant Reformation, and in particular by Great Britain and the USA. The Cause to Spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to Translate the Bible into all of those heart-languages of the people receiving Christ… that was, and still is, the Hallmark of the Protestant Reformation.
Our Republican form of constitutionally-based, representative government, is ,also, fully dependent upon that same Protestant Reformation. Powerful effects, indeed.
The United States of America, today, is a Republic, that is slightly democratic in operation, mostly because of the Biblical, Protestant, Christian Heritage of our founders. Our founders rejected the idea of a pure Democracy, by the way. The ideal of the individual & the family, as being the bedrock of society, and that Government was to be restricted for the purpose of protecting the individual from Government Tyranny, and that individual had God-given, natural rights … and that Government was to support and protect those rights, can ONLY be found from the pages of the Bible. Those concepts and ideas are Protestant, Christian, and Biblical ideas. Those biblically-based ideas were preached from many pulpits for many years which bore fruit to a Revolution, a new nation was born, which became the Greatest Missionary-Sending Nation in all of history, since Christ.
The effects of the restriction of Government and the ability to promote individual rights seems to be the “natural” progression of the Gospel taking root in any society.
Other Fruit: The Gospel Mission, the Biblically-based, Protestant, Evangelical Mission always eventuates to individual rights, and economic abundance and freedom. A system of capitalism, that was based upon the Bible, include much of the book of Proverbs. The ideas of economic fairness (just weights), diligence, not defrauding one’s neighbor, dealing honestly in trade, and so forth, all biblical concepts. In fact, the ability to increase wealth in an honest and fair way, allowed more people to move out of poverty into more abundance. Also, this allowed more people to help the genuine poor. This “Gospel” affect seems to take hold and grow in areas of the world in which the Bible is embraced as the Word of God, etc.
One of the Brightest Lights of the Protestant Reformation is Jonathan Edwards.
Some quick facts regarding Jonathan Edwards:
Born in East Windsor, Connecticut in 1703 to a Christian family, and his father was a pastor of local church. Educated at Yale, starting before the age of 13.
He was, at one time, a pastor to a “frontier” missionary church to Housatonic Indians in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Jonathan was deeply involved in fostering the First Great Awakening of the Early American Colonies
Eventually he had the honor of being the President of College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in early 1758.
And, by the way, Jonathan Edwards was the grandfather of Aaron Burr, the 3rd Vice President of the United States.
Jonathan Edwards, to most Bible Students and those who know their Christian History, is a very bright, bright light, for Protestant Reformation thinking and preaching of God’s Holy Word. I highly encourage you to read some of his works and read the many biographies of this puritan theologian.
One of his many contributions was his continued ability to foster the continued Protest against the Churches of Rome (Roman Catholic church) and of the England (Anglican/Episcopal). The State Churches of Rome and England were many times the Target of his preaching.
The “Romish” heresies is what he referred to regarding the false teachings and false religious practices and traditions of Rome. To a lesser extent, the English state church (Anglican, Episcopal church) was also a target. He exposed the many heresies, false teachings, and unbiblical-pagan rituals, celebrations, etc… Why you may wonder, why would he do this. Because he loved the congregations and people who were under his shepherding care. He did not placate to them, but taught them and WARNED them, with much patience. Yes, he, as well as many other Protestant Reformation leaders/preachers exposed those unbiblical beliefs and practices and provided the Biblical solutions that would bring GLORY to CHRIST.
He wanted Christians, born again, disciples of Jesus Christ to follow the Bible, ALONE.
SOLA SCRIPTURA was the Loud Cry of the Protest Reformation, and Jonathan Edwards continued as a “force of Biblical Excellence”.
But these ideas, teachings, and warnings/admonitions are all but silent from our present-day pulpits.
Most church-goers have no idea the “fight”, the blood that was spilled, the cost of life, the persecution that occurred by the Roman Catholic and English churches against the Protestants. Just for believing the Bible is enough, to be saved in Christ and to live the Christian life… obeying the Bible, alone … that idea would sometimes get a person thrown in prison, or worse (back in Europe, etc.) But, thank God, for men and women of courage who stood up and proclaimed the truth of God’s Word and took the pains to translate the Bible into so many languages. That courage needs to be stirred up again for the final push of the Great Commission to the ends of the earth. We need some more “Jonathan Edwards” in our day and age to stir up another Great Awakening and a Grand Call to Repentance, Surrender, and Obedience to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Today, instead of the MEAT of God’s Word being served, it is pudding and rollercoaster rides. No substance to live upon. Fun and Games and “Feeling Good” is the main focus in many churches of today.
Question… are we supposed to follow church traditions, from Rome or London,
– OR – are we suppose to follow, simply follow, the Written Word of God, and obey that which applies to us, to New Covenant, born again, disciples of Jesus Christ?
Question… are we Saved by God, mostly on the basis of Christ’s work of redemption (Crucifixion, Death, Burial, Resurrection) as well as our own “religious” efforts by following certain prescribed church rituals and “sacraments”?
– OR – … are we Saved by God, solely of the basis of Christ’s finished work of redemption, received by repentant trust in Him?
Question… do we have full assurance of our Salvation because of Christ’s finished work of redemption, once we are genuinely saved…?
– OR – … do we have to keep doing “religious works” to maintain and/or keep our salvation, which we might NOT be fully assured of in the first place?
Those were the kinds of Questions that were fighting words in Edwards’ day. He sought to find the answers from God’s Holy Word, alone, and then teach those answers to those under his shepherding care.
Please read his many literary works…
The Entire Works of Jonathan Edwards are available online for free at http://edwards.yale.edu.
Another “Biographical” site for Edwards can be found at: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards?show=biography