Another quotation, this time from the Reformer Bucer: “It is the magistrates’ duty not to tolerate that anyone assails openly or riles the doctrine of the Gospel…. he is also not to be tolerated in a Christian republic who refuses to be taught the things pertaining to the Kingship of Christ.” The absolute opposite of the truth of the New Testament! And it stems from the false belief of the “Church” being co-extensive with the State: a “Christian republic.”
And a statement from the Reformer, Theodore Beza: “After God had launched Christianity by unarmed apostles He afterward raised up kings by whose wisdom He intended to protect His Church…. They [the “heretics” in the Reformers’ eyes] do not like it that civil laws are enacted against their wickedness, saying that the apostles have asked no such thing of kings – but these men do not consider that those were different times and that all things agree with their own times…. When we invoke lawfully and divinely instituted protection against stubborn and incorrigible heretics we only do what the Word of God and the authority of the holy prophets assert.” Different times they were indeed – and it was the apostolic times which were the purest, whereas the Reformation era was far from that purity!
To those who would seek to put a good spin on these things, we would ask, simply, that they imagine the following scenario. Imagine if the historic Protestant institutions still claimed this right today, and persecuted those who believe that a true church of God must only have a regenerate membership and be separate from the State. Imagine, for example, if a Lutheran or Reformed “Church” today demanded that, say, Baptists join them or be handed over to the civil powers for execution! What would a Christian today believe about a Protestant minister in a church down the road from his own, who sought to burn him alive? The answer is obvious. And yet these shocking facts have been brushed over, ignored, or whitewashed by countless Protestant historians, theologians and ministers, just because they were committed way back in the sixteenth century.
On those rare occasions when they can even be brought to acknowledge the truth about many of the Reformers, they will often excuse it all by saying, “Oh, but we must remember they were a product of their times.” This excuse is absolute nonsense! Paul, Peter and John were “products of their times” as well, but they did not permit those times to influence them in their doctrine and behaviour. And, furthermore, as pointed out above, there were Christians, and Christian churches, in Europe at that time, those “Protestants before the Reformation”, who had lived lives separate from the worldliness and the false religion all around them for centuries. They were “products of their times” as well, but they read the Scriptures and heard the voice of the Lord speaking in them, and they obeyed and gave glory to God by holy lives, lived in accordance with the Gospel of Christ, which teaches categorically that the Church is to be separate from the State, and never to persecute (Lk. 9:52-56). The Gospel, when received from the heart, brings about a radical change in everyone who embraces it. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). This verse of Scripture is sufficient in itself to answer any such excuse made for the false doctrines and wicked practices of many of the Reformers. Many others could be given.
That, then, was a brief examination of the great accomplishments, and the great errors, of the Reformation.
We must now jump ahead to the present day, and to the situation as it is found in the year 2017: the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
The Situation Today: Many Protestants View the Reformation as a Tragedy, and “Unity” with Rome as All-Important
Today, as far as the vast majority of “Protestant” denominations are concerned, the Reformation, as a protest against Rome, is dead. Five centuries after it began, and despite the great blessings which flowed to the world from it, it is all but over. Most so-called Protestant “churches” are Protestant in name only; nothing more. They have no true Gospel to preach, and thus see no reason to protest against the lies of the Papacy. The rush Romeward is very far advanced and seemingly unstoppable. Popery is again triumphantly marching across the world, absorbing Protestant denominations step by step into its fold, and silencing all that remains of any protest against it.
“The Reformation was a blow to the world aspirations of the Vatican. Since the Reformation, Rome has had one main task to complete: the destruction of the Protestant Reformation.” “All the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church since [the Reformation] have been directed to the work of Counter-Reformation – to re-establish the political and social order of pre-Reformation times… The political and social order that resulted from the Reformation, both in Europe and America, is regarded by the Roman Catholic Church as pagan and anti-Christian.”
Rome has been all too successful. The Jesuits have all but won. Today, a triumphant Papal system is smirkingly exulting in the end of Protestantism. “The Reformation is dead!” is the cry from Rome, and also from many “Protestant” institutions. Only a very small truly Protestant remnant remains, anywhere in the world.
How the Reformation’s Protest was Overcome
When the Protestant Reformation broke out in the early sixteenth century and began to shake the Papacy to its foundations, that evil system realised that it had to begin fighting back immediately, and fighting hard. No quarter was to be given; ruthlessness was essential.
The Jesuit Order was established, in the sixteenth century, for the very purpose of fighting back and destroying Protestantism. The Jesuits have been at the very forefront of the assault on Protestantism ever since then. Many were the tactics adopted to utterly defeat the Reformation, and to bring all men back under the wings of “Holy Mother Church”, as the Papacy so arrogantly refers to itself. A major tactic was the long-term plan for Jesuit secret agents to infiltrate every Protestant institution, in the guise of Protestant ministers: to wheedle their way into Protestant pulpits as pastors; to take over Protestant seminaries as lecturers; and gradually, to turn the Protestant institutions away from anything biblical and towards Romanism. It would be subtle; it would be slow and gradual; but it would be relentless, and it would succeed. Failure was not an option.
A much larger work than the present article would be needed to trace how the Jesuits actually accomplished this within the various Protestant religious institutions during the past five centuries. We have covered aspects of this in other works, in particular Satan’s Seat and The Jesuits: the Secret Army of the Papacy, and we refer the reader to these books. But suffice it to say that they were eminently successful. And for evidence, all we have to do is look all around us: the massive Romeward Movement (otherwise known as the Ecumenical Movement); the utter rejection of whatever sound doctrine may have existed in the historic, once-Protestant denominations; the embracing of one heresy after another. And today we are witnessing the tragedy of seeing the once-Protestant institutions prostrating themselves at the feet of the pope of Rome, rejecting all that was good and wonderful which emerged from the Reformation. Their craven submission to the pope of Rome is all the evidence we need that the Jesuit Counter-Reformation has succeeded. After 500 years, it has succeeded.
Without a doubt, the Ecumenical Movement has been the greatest tool Rome has used, in modern times, to destroy the protest of the Reformation. It has successfully convinced the major “Protestant” denominations (for so long infiltrated by Jesuit agents) that it is a true Christian church, just like them, and that all “churches” should come together and unite under “Mother Rome”. Many decades of this kind of ecumenism, this utterly false movement towards a spurious and unbiblical “unity”, have paid off.
Even so-called “Evangelicals” (in name only; in reality they are “New Evangelicals”) have often been at the very forefront of the Ecumenical Movement! Billy Graham is the most prominent of all; but he is by no means the only one, and what passes for “Protestantism” today is riddled with wolves in sheep’s clothing. Here are just two examples (hundreds could be given, nay thousands) of supposed “Evangelicals” who viewed the Reformation as a tragedy that should be relegated to history:
In 1977, at the National Evangelical Anglican Congress held in Nottingham, England, David Watson declared that the Reformation was “one of the greatest tragedies that ever happened to the Church.” In saying such a thing, this man was declaring that the mediaeval Roman Catholic institution, the Papacy of the Dark Ages, was a true Church, and that it was an immense tragedy that the momentous events of the sixteenth century had ever occurred. With men like this in the pulpits of “Protestant” institutions, what hope was there? Once “Protestants” could make statements like this, Rome knew it had won.
Another prominent “Evangelical” figure (again in truth a “New Evangelical”) working for this satanic “unity” was the well-known J.I. Packer. He wrote: “Do I see renewal in the Roman Catholic Church? As a Protestant for whom major elements of official Catholicism represent Christianity skewed, I reply that I do. It is as these… streams of renewal continue to flow, and hopefully converge, that the Catholic Church will give most to the rest of Christendom”. That a man claiming to be an “Evangelical” could even make such a statement truly reveals the shocking state of things in our times.