Category: Church History

Erasmus and Luther on Romans: The Free Will Debate

The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century opened much dialogue between parties on both sides of church history. Church doctrine, confessions, purgatory, catechism, the sacraments, the authority of Scripture, papal authority and even structures of economics and culture were suddenly points of contention with which the church openly wrestled. Five hundred years later, the church universal is indebted to both Catholic and Protestant believers who sought to combat corruption and return the focus of the church to the work of Christ. While the term “Reformed” is denied by some and embraced by others within the greater church of Jesus...

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Who Cares About the Reformation?

This year, we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. It was October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Luther was simply attempting to begin a discussion about the abuses and false teaching happening in the Church. Little did he know, this would spark a movement that changed the Church and Western civilization. Someone might ask the question, “What relevance does the Reformation have for today?” They might also ask, “Why should we learn about what happened?” After all, it was 500 years ago, and “How does...

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Reformation as Rediscovery of the Gospel

Countless historians have gone to great lengths to explain the Reformation through social, political, and economic causes.[1] No doubt each of these played a role during the Reformation, and at times a significant role.[2] Yet most fundamentally, the Reformation was a theological movement, caused by doctrinal concerns.[3] Though political, social, and economic factors were important, observes Timothy George, “we must recognize that the Reformation was essentially a religious event; its deepest concerns, theological.”[4] What this means, then, is that we must be “concerned with the theological self-understanding” of the Reformers.[5] But more can be said. Yes, the Reformation was...

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Knowing Your Roots: The Place of Church History in the Christian Life

In recent weeks I’ve been asked a couple of questions that go along the lines of something like this “Why do you study Church History so much?” or even better “Why do you always lead off your sermons with some historical illustration, how is that applicable to me today?” As soon as this question is asked, I find myself methodically creating an argument for the importance of understanding church history as a modern day Christian. However, in recent days I have observed the argument has turned into the necessity of having an abundant knowledge of church history and how...

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Bold Reformers Refuse to Compromise the Truth

My grandfather, the late Rev. V.W. Steele, used to say, “Never compromise the truth.” “Don’t ever sell you soul for a mess of pottage,” Grandpa would surmise, with fire in his eyes. He understood the deadly influence of compromise, which plagued the church in his generation. He saw the crippling impact of liberalism, which waged war against the Bible and stifled the people of God. Few people listened to V.W. Steele’s counsel. Even fewer are listening today. So, compromise continues to make inroads in the lives of God’s people, in the local church, and in mainstream culture. The Trauma...

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