Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Alistair McGrath: The Reformation

The following excerpt is from Modern Reformation Magazine:

Let me make another point about the problems the late medieval church had. Very often in the late medieval church there was a huge gap between the ordinary Christian and Scripture. In part, the reason was technological. Before the invention of printing, Scripture had to be copied out by hand, and that was expensive. Not every Christian believer could read. Christian believers were very often dependent on their priest for an understanding of Scripture. But with the Reformation came this glorious rediscovery that Scripture was like bread upon which you could feed, that it was living water, which you could drink and which would quench your thirst. It was a real move towards rediscovering the importance of Scripture for the church.

All kinds of developments took place to encourage this. For example, the development of exegetical sermons, of biblical commentaries and works of biblical theology, like Calvin's Institutes. There was a real rediscovery of Scripture and a realization that you did not need to rely upon your priest to understand Scripture, but you could go to Scripture directly. One of the great themes of the Reformation is that you can go to Scripture directly, read it, and be nourished by the word of God. This relieved people of the false teachings that the church was putting into circulation at the time. Reading Scripture is not merely about rediscovering the excitement of the Gospel. It's also about asking hard questions about what this religious teacher or that religious teacher is saying. Asking, "Where did this come from? Is this really biblical?" As the reformers began to open Scripture for their people, they began to rediscover that a lot of things in the late medieval church could not be justified on the basis of Scripture at all. The doctrine that Scripture was not easy to understand emerged in the late medieval church. Therefore God and his Providence provides the church to interpret Scripture to the people. By putting the church between Scripture and the people, the church takes control of Scripture. The Reformers were saying, "No, go back to Scripture, read it for yourself and ask, 'Where did these ideas come from?'" I think there is a central theme of the Reformation. That each and every believer has the right and the responsibility to ask, Where do these ideas that we hear from our pulpits come from? Are they justified in the light of Scripture? I think there is a need for us to rediscover that important reformation theme. Because even in today's church we have preachers who very often are saying things that may be what their congregations want to hear, which may be what they want to say, but that aren't well grounded in Scripture. There is a need for us to rediscover Scripture with a view to checking our preachers' art, lest they lead us astray. To my mind, one of the greatest curses of the modern church is the personality cult that seems to descend upon some preachers. Going back to Scripture is about going back to the Word of God and discovering what it is saying, rather than relying upon some preacher who may act as if he alone is the means of communication between God and his people. So I've addressed some of the problems that were there in the late medieval church. There were many, and there are many more I could mention.

[Modern Reformation Magazine: "The State of the Church Before the Reformation."

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