#0107 My house…you are making a den of robbers
- Link relevant to today’s post…
- Scripture relevant to today’s posting…
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 1:1-5 (KJV)
Today’s posting is part 9 of the new series: “Words of the Bible vs. the WORD”. This series is based upon material to be included in my new book. As I am inspired to write this, I am posting these ideas on-the-fly, so they will be fleshed out and edited more before they get incorporated into the book. Today we are looking more at the rise of Protestant authority and some of the story of why and how it came into being. Today’s link points to the continuing disillusionment some voters are still faced with at this stage of this voting season…which begs the question once more: “Where does God stand on these political issues?”
Words of the Bible vs. the WORD
What started Luther on his quest to have the Catholic Church answer some fundamental doctrinal questions which he listed in his infamous 95 theses lead to the organization we refer to today as the Reformation Movement and from there to the lofty institutions which proclaim and adhere to the overarching protestant dogmas and the theology. But the foundational position of the Reformation Movement has always been mostly about establishing a more authentic connection between God (the Jesus version of God) and the vast assemblage of ordinary people—little people. In this way they saw themselves aligned with Jesus and the good news He wished to share with people about His Father in heaven. Where Luther might have gone somewhat astray though was in his fixation with authority; which in this case was Apostolic Authority. Luther, having started his tenure of Christian discipleship as a Catholic priest, was keenly aware of the Catholic’s claim to Apostolic Authority and the scripture in Mathew 16 from whence this claim originated.
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matt. 16:16-18 (KJV)
In Luther’s mind this Scripture seemed to irrefutably state that Jesus intended Peter to be the foundation on which He would build the Church. The rub Luther had with this claim was in the expression of this authority as he observed it within the Church; as he saw deep corruption in play within the Church every day. So, at some point, Luther might well have begun journaling his thoughts and making a list of the grievances he had. This list became quite lengthy: 95 points in total and as he worked it—becoming more bothered with each new point—Luther, perhaps began to question the validity of this authority. Where the Catholics seemed vulnerable, Luther might well have figured, is in the connection they claimed to have had with Peter. It’s one thing to say that Peter was the founder/leader of your movement (aka: the first Pope) and quite another to prove this was the case. Instead of trying to repudiate the Catholics connection to Peter, Luther instead plants his flag atop of the collection of books in the Bible; especially those in the New Testament and claims the Bible itself as his authority source. This was a brilliant strategy on Luther’s part because where does the Catholic authority originate from…a passage in the Bible. So when Luther realized he couldn’t claim the cache of gold (Mathew 16) for his own; because the Catholics already had that, he chose instead to hijack the whole ship (the 1-book Bible) it was stored in. Sola Scriptura: by scriptures alone is one of the Five Solas and this doctrine which was conceived by Luther, proclaims that the scriptures hold more sway with God than does the Catholic’s Apostolic Authority. What followed was a seismic struggle over authority between the followers of Luther and other reformers (AKA: Protestants) on the one side and Catholics on the other. Apostolic Authority vs. the 5 Solas). The question for us who are reading this section of this book is: Where did this leave the authority of the Holy Ghost? It was caught between a rock and a hard place, in a manner of speaking. The struggle over authority between Catholics and Protestants hearkens back to Jesus’s day when the Pharisees and the Sadducees were in contention over authority. It was in the middle of this contention over divine authority (which group is sanctioned by God to speak for Him) when Jesus came along with His gospel message and upset their whole authority applecart. Listen to Jesus’s words to them in the temple…
Jesus at the Temple
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Matt. 21: 12-13 (NIV)
Is Jesus going to step in again? Or maybe he already has.
If you have a question or a comment about this or other postings please feel free to send them in. As usual, thanks for reading.
TBC: Saturday, September 10, 2016