The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation (Part Three)
Rome and the Reformed Institutions
The Historic Protestant Institutions’ Protest against Rome is Over
The 31st October 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
On this day in 1517, an obscure German monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the castle door in Wittenberg, Germany – and sparked a spiritual, political and social revolution which shook the world. Within weeks the theses had been widely circulated throughout the country and then throughout Europe. Prophesied of in Scripture (Rev. 10), the Reformation was an event which literally altered the course of history and changed the world.
It is not surprising that its 500th anniversary would be observed by Protestant institutions the world over. But the tragedy is that what should be commemorated as the time when, in the Lord’s providence, a massive break was made with the diabolical Roman Papacy, is in fact being commemorated, by many of the historic Protestant institutions, as the time when that very break is being mended! When it should be being commemorated by reminding people of the false doctrines and abominable practices of the Papal system, of why the Reformation occurred, and of the great need to remain forever separate from that iniquitous, idolatrous and utterly antichristian religious system with its headquarters in Rome, many of the Protestant institutions are doing the very opposite. They are actually lamenting the break which occurred; calling it a great tragedy; wishing it had never happened; and doing all in their power to rush back under the wings of “Mother Rome” as fast as their spineless, biblically ignorant leaders will take them!
The remnant of the Lord’s people, true Bible-believing Christians who live “without [outside] the camp” of professing Christendom, whether Papist or false Protestant (Heb. 13:13), separate not only from the Mother Harlot of Rome but from her “daughter” harlots as well (Rev. 17:5), are witnesses to the most momentous religious reversal in all history: the headlong rush, by the “Protestant” institutions which came into being in the sixteenth century and afterwards, to now apologise to Rome for ever breaking away, and to grovel at the feet of the Roman Antichrist, while they cast off every doctrinal and practical barrier standing between them and full and abject surrender to the religious system over which he presides in all his haughtiness and arrogance.
It is true, of course, that many of the blessings which were the fruit of the Reformation are still with us today, to a greater or lesser extent, in various parts of the world. But inasmuch as it gave birth to religious institutions which came to be known as Protestant, and insofar as these once protested against Rome, the Reformation is now over. As far as the historic Protestant religious institutions are concerned – whether Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Dutch Reformed, Congregational, Methodist, etc. – Rome has won.
This series of articles is not about the historical events of the sixteenth-century Reformation as such. Innumerable pieces will be written about it for the 500th anniversary, and entire books as well. They will focus on all the different facets of the mighty change which occurred in Europe five centuries ago. Certainly, the Reformation was one of the most important events in world history, and the more that it is known and understood, the better. This series, however, is not about the beginning of the Reformation, or its progress; it is about the end of the Reformation, as far as the protest against Rome by the historic, once-Protestant institutions is concerned.
Part One in this series is entitled The Reformation’s Accomplishments and Errors, and the End of Its Protest. Part Two is entitled Rome and the Lutheran Institution. We suggest that these should be read before the present article, as it will place the latter in a proper context, providing the reader with much information, by way of introduction to the present article.
When the Papacy Itself is Commemorating the Reformation, then We Know the Reformation’s Protest is Over!
The one religious institution which should want nothing whatsoever to do with Reformation commemorations and celebrations should be the Roman Catholic institution. After all, the Reformation struck the greatest blow to Papal power that it had ever experienced. The Papacy’s vice-grip on Europe was broken in a number of countries. For the first time since the Papacy had assumed control of Europe centuries before, it experienced immense losses, politically and religiously.
No, the Roman Papacy should have no grounds for celebration in 2017.
And yet, as unbelievable as it sounds, this very Roman Papacy, which condemned the Reformers as heretics, which has spent the past five centuries trying to destroy the “Protestant” institutions and stamp out Protestantism altogether – this very Roman Papacy is commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation alongside “Protestant” institutions!
Of course we know that its commemoration is designed solely to deceive. The Papacy is not truly commemorating it. But even so, it is astonishing that such a time has actually arrived, when the Roman Papacy could go through the motions of commemorating the Reformation, and the “Reformed” institutions could fall for it!
Who could ever have imagined that such a day would ever arrive? But it has. It beggars belief. Even Romanists are open-mouthed with astonishment at how times have changed.
What in the world is going on?
It would be more appropriate to ask: what, in the dark regions of hell, is going on? For that is where these astounding events were first planned, and what we are witnessing is simply the outworking, in history, of activity in Satan’s underground.
Just How Far Have Things Gone? The Reformed Institutions Rush Romeward!
It is not at all surprising that such religious institutions as Lutheranism and Anglicanism have been involved, for decades now, in ecumenical overtures, seeking by every possible means to find a way to eventually unite formally with the Papacy. These have never been soundly biblical anyway, but have always been nothing but modified “daughters” of the Mother of Harlots (Rev. 17:5). But when we see just how far various other Protestant institutions have gone Romeward, it becomes all too clear just how late in the day it really is.
An important point: many people wrongly equate the biblical doctrines of sovereign grace (man’s total depravity; God’s election of some; Christ’s particular redemption of the elect; God’s irresistible grace; and the final perseverance of the saints) with “Reformed” doctrine. Certainly, the historically Reformed institutions taught the doctrines of grace; but what is called “Reformed theology” is much more than these, and often much of it is very unscriptural. The truth of the doctrines of grace does not stand or fall with Reformed theology. These glorious doctrines are true because they are clearly stated in God’s Word, and not because they were taught by the Reformers. Men call these doctrines “Reformed”, or “Calvinism.” We simply call them biblical, for this is what they are.
Leaders of the World Communion of Reformed Churches Visit the Pope of Rome for Ecumenical Talks
The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) was established in 2010 in the United States, with the merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council. The WCRC unites about 225 “Protestant” churches in 100 countries, and thus represents something like 80 million “Protestants”. I deliberately write the word “Protestant” in inverted commas, because these millions are Protestants in name only. A true, Bible-believing Protestant does not go to Rome to meet the Roman Antichrist for talks about eventual unity! But in June 2016, this is precisely what a WCRC delegation did. It visited Francis I in the Vatican, and held working meetings with Rome’s “Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity”.
Francis said to them: “Our meeting here today is one more step along the journey that marks the ecumenical movement, a blessed and hope-filled journey whereby we strive to live ever more fully in accord with the Lord’s prayer ‘that all may be one.’”
Ah, there it is, as always: the reference to Jn. 17:21. The single verse which defines the ecumenical movement worldwide. And yet a verse which does not in any sense support this monstrous conglomeration that is forming, with the pope of Rome at its head. For when the Lord Jesus prayed for the unity of His disciples, His prayer was answered, just as all His prayers always were (Jn. 11:42)! All true Christians are one, and always will be. It is a spiritual unity, and exists between every truly regenerated and converted soul. The Lord was not praying for some structural, organisational, visible “unity” manhandled together by compromise, dialogue, give and take, and the rejection of biblical truth! He was not praying for “unity” between true Christians and Papists!