Skip to comments.500 Years Ago Today, Western Civilization Was Changed FOREVER
Posted on 10/31/2017 11:37:29 AM PDT by GamecockEdited on 11/01/2017 5:53:19 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
Western Civilization in the 21st century is marked by religious pluralism, where people from all over the world have been able to come to various nations in Europe and North America to freely exercise their religious beliefs. That religious pluralism has also manifested within Christianity itself over the past five centuries.
(Excerpt) Read more at thefederalistpapers.org ...
Rituals and liturgy was done away with along with the priesthood on the cross........................
500 years ago, western history was changed.
The path of Eternal Salvation was opened up to hundreds of millions because of the Reformation.
IMHO, this produced the biggest harvest of souls for Christ during the Church Age.
Also, IMHO the last week of Daniel’s 70 weeks will probably eclipse that number saved. They are mentioned in Revelation 7. These folks are alive today.
Thanks for posting. People have been posting about this on FB. You know, I am 73 years old and have been to many kinds of churches. Over these years, I never heard Luther mentioned once. I never heard a thing about Catholics either. I started carrying my Bible with me as soon as I learned to read. One thing these churches had in common was that they taught directly from the Bible. God bless.
It was the beginning of the needed cleaning up and reform of the Christian faith.
Well “payments made to the Church to either purchase time off of ones own sentence, or anothers sentence” the author obviously doesn’t know what an indulgence is. The issue was paying for an indulgence! An indulgence isn’t a payment to the Church.
I have noticed it has been a crazy time in the religion thread.
Good article thanks!
I believe that the Reformation might have been in real danger of becoming marginalized all of the way to the devastating 30 Years War that wracked the Germanies between 1618 and 1648. The resurgent Roman Catholic Church (RCC) following the Counter-Reformation, led by the Hapsburg dual monarchies of Austria and Spain, fought to suppress Protestantism in the northern tier of Europe from the Lowlands (Netherland) through the Baltics.
After significant victories from White Mountain to Bohemia and with the Protestant Huguenots under threat in France and England’s Charles I openly RCC inclining, the only strong resistance was in the Dutch/Netherlands and the north where Lutheran Denmark-Norway and Sweden-Finland were rich, prosperous and militarily powerful. After the Austrian Hapsburgs rebuffed Danish forces and forced them back into Denmark, it took the other Scandinavian power, Sweden, under its very able king, Gustavus Adolphus Vasa, to take the battle into RCC conquered and native territory.
Strange to us today but an example of how realpolitik was in those days, Sweden was financially supported by, not only the Dutch but also the French under their de facto ruler, Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu and Fronsac, a real RCC Cardinal (Cardinal Richelieu) [Yes, the one in the Three Musketeers by Dumas]! France was happy to ignore supporting the same Protestants (Dutch, Danes & Swedes) that they were suppressing internally in order not to be surrounded by the unfriendly Hapsburgs.
Perhaps the big event that ensured the Protestant north and west of Europe was the Battle of Breitenfeld fought by Gustavus of Sweden & allies and the forces of the (German) Catholic League led by the undefeated victor of White Mountain, Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly. Although the forces were only slightly heavier on the RCC side, the Protestant side may have had the better in terms of greater mobility and formations. Still the early betting was probably in favor of Count Tilly who had been a professional soldier since his 20s and undefeated in battle as a commander. Early in the battle at Breitenfeld, the odds looked good for him when a majority of the Protestant Saxon troops fled the field, leaving the Swedish command with about 2/3rds of their starting forces.
However, the Swedes, maneuvered better and were able to route the cavalry of the RCC forces and then used the same mobility to face the RCC pike forces with more muskets and cannon that ended up ruling the battlefield with a destruction of near 80% of Tilly’s forces. This major battle probably broke the chance that the RCC could force the suppression of Protestantism on the European Continent. Both Tilly and Gustavus Adolphus would die in later battles but the Protestant forces would force the RCC powers to a standstill by 1648 over a more-than-decimated area called the Germanies. Some 200 years after this battle, a battlefield monument would be placed with this inscription; “Glaubensfreiheit für die Welt, rettete bei Breitenfeld Gustav Adolf, Christ und Held. Am 7. September 1631.” [”Freedom of Belief for the World, saved at Breitenfeld, Gustavus Adolphus, Christian and Hero. 7 September 1631.”]
In all fairness, a pertinent point of fact and history needs to be kept clear. Austria fought not one but two battles of extinction against invading Ottoman Turks in 1529 and then in 1683. Both of them were very close to losses and in the latter case the Turks had Protestant allies. Not saying that this excuses the very great atrocities from both the Protestant and RCC sides, but there is context in that Austria always felt under threat from two sides!
For the better, or for the worse? Christopher Dawson, a British historian, argues that the Reformation was responsible for secularization of Western civilization. The leaders of the Reformation were certainly no secularists. Neither were their Catholic opponents.
The problem was that the Reformation caused European culture to divide into two parts. The culture of Protestant countries was very different from that of Catholic countries because at that time culture was very strongly influenced by religious practice.
At that time, it seemed that the differences between Catholic culture and Protestant culture would constantly grow and become almost as big as the differences between Christian culture and Muslim culture.
At the level of common people the division was complete. At the level of the educated elite there was one thing the Catholics and the Protestants had in common - the heritage of Hellenism. The European cultural elites continued to be able to talk to each other, but they chose to concentrate on topics they had in common, i.e. non-religious ones. Gradually, the culture of the elites was losing its Christian character. According to Dawson, this change (secularization) happened approximately from 1650 to 1800.
The culture of common people remained Christian much longer, but in the 20th century it largely lost its Christian character too.
Was secularization of Western civilization worth it?
IMHO, one of the first and most profound uses of Freedom of the Press in the history of mankind.
There is not straight-line cause and effect. And what I take solace in is:
Genesis 50:20 - As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
Romans 8:28 - And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Bookmarking for later.
A few years ago I was doing some proofreading with the Distributed Proofreading folks for Project Gutenberg. One of the books I proofed was "True Christianity" by Johann Arndt. The book was eventually published at the previous link. For many months I would read a chapter a day and meditate on them a bit. I found it to be spiritually very worthwhile. The book was originally published in Jena in 1605 (in German, of course). In the 17th and 18 centuries, if you were German, and had 2 books in your home, it was likely that one was the Bible, and the other was True Christianity. The Project Gutenberg work is a copy of a translation into English By Rev. A. W. Boehm, and Published in London, A.D. 1712
You don't particularly have to be Lutheran to enjoy his apologetics. I'm not, though I've spent some time in Lutheran churches, among others over my lifetime. The translation is a bit verbose for modern readers. I shudder to think what a modern translator would do to his prose.
Those interested in more contemporary apologetics might be interested in the collection that Project Gutenberg Canada has published of C.S. Lewis.(search the page at the previous link for 'Lewis', and you'll find several excellent works of his. Fortunately, Canada's copyright law is somewhat more sane than ours here in the U.S.
Since it, the Reformation, brought more people close to God with the realization that there is one mediator between God and man, the man, Jesus Christ, and we have direct access to the Throne of Grace where we can find mercy and grace to help us in our time of need, YES, IT WAS WORTH IT! HALLELUJAH!
Providential God rescued His church after the cult of Rome hijacked it.
With Rome, it was all about retaining power over people.
Yes! Now we have state sanctioned abortion, artificail birth control, homo marriages, etc. Adultery is now a norm; but "faith alone" is all one needs.