Friday, February 10, 2017

THE FIVE FOUNDATIONS of the REFORMATION" Harold Harker, & Signs of the Times Feb, 2017,

My many thanks to both the author and publisher. (john B)

Harold Harker examines the basic teachings of Martin Luther that led to the Protestant Reformation--- a movement that quickly spread across Europe and into the New World.

   This 2107 year marks the 500th anniversary of the outbreak of the great Reformation. In this article, the first in a series spanning a year, we will look at what underpinned this massive historical, political and religious upheaval The Reformation changed the map of Europe, shifting power from the ruling religious establishment and liberating millions in both faith and politics..
   Despite the massive upheaval that resulted, it was built entirely on one small word and its variations. Of course many more words foll;owed, but this one word is the foundation of them all. That word is the Latin  SOLA, which means "alone", or "only". Interestingly, it is the common word of five cryptic and defining beliefs of the Reformation and the Reformers.
    The five foundations of the Reformation highlighted it five distinct and defining points of difference and belief. Although these foundations are never used together as a creed, each was held as a basic and specific belief of Reformation Doctrine:

SOLA SCRIPTURA:  "BY SCRIPTURE ALONE" meaning that the Bible is the ONLY source for and of Spiritual Authority:

SOLUS CHRISTUS.. "by Christ alone", meaning that there is Salvation through no other:

SOLA FIDE--- "By faith alone", which was perhaps the theme of the Reformation:

SALO GRATIA-- "ny Grace alone," meaning that Salvation is a gift, never earned:

SOLI DEO GLORIA-- " by giving glory to God alone" and not to any other person or thing:

    Where did these five foundations come from? Why were they so important to the Reformation? Are they still relevant today?


    THE BIBLE, is the only authority in matters of religion for all Christians! People, regardless of their so-called by men, ecclesiastical statues, nor their edicts, nor their decisions of their eminent counsels cannot abolish, nor change the plain statements of the Holy Bible, because IT is The Word of God!

NOTE(JB) No matter how old a tradition of men, happens to be, age never made anything of man holy! To hold traditions of men as holy is apostasy, plain, pure and simple!   Paul, writing to the young minister Timothy, said ....
    2 Timothy 3:16-17  "All scripture is given by inspiration  {breathed] of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

Note(JB) the Greek word here is THEOPNEUSTOS [ they -op'- nyoo- stos] Divinely breathed.

   The Reformation's reformers were exceptionally clear on this point. As Martin Luther said in his great defense at Worms when he as asked to recant {take back his words}  he said,
      "If I can not be proved wrong by the words from Scripture or by some other clear reason--- for I do not believe in the pope or in the councils alone, since they have been shown often to err and to contradict themselves, then I am bound by those passages from Scripture that I myself have quoted. As long as my conscience is bound by the word of God, I cannot and will not recant, because going against conscience is unsafe and threatens salvation."

   Just as Paul commended the believers at Berea for their study of the Bible to prove the new Christian doctrines being presented to them...
      Acts 17:10-11  "And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

NOTE(JB) Other than the Word of God, the Holy Bible what is there in writing that leads us to salvation> The many words of men, and men alone, when this could have a dream caused by a sour pickle?
   We, those whom believe and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, have never taken anything other than the Holy Bible and books that shine upon it!


    On  a hot and sultry day in the year of 1505, the young law student named Martin Luther, trudged along a rutted road leading to the German village of Stotterheim. Suddenly , without warning, the sky became overcast, a gusty wind whipped through the trees, and a torrential rain unleashed its fury on the lonely traveler. Peals of thunder rocked the country side, and a bolt of lightening dropped from the black clouds, seeding Luther reeling'
    Terrified by the thought that he been hit by lightning, and struck down by the Almighty
God, Luther cried out load to his patron saint: Saint Anne, help help me! I will become a monk"!  Neither Luther's enraged father, nor the persuasive arguments of his friends could change his mind, and two weeks later he entered the monastery of the Augustinian Order of Hermits, to become a monk
     There he was taught to be afraid of god and the so-called "demons that surrounded him". As his sense of sin and guilt deepened, he zealously set about to rid himself of sin and to save his soul by his own good works.
    He shrank from no good deed, whether it was physical pain or mental stress in his quest for God's approval. Later he said: "I was was a good monk...if ever a monk got to heaven by his mockery it was I... if I had kept on any longer to I should have killed myself with my vigils, reading and other work."
     But despite his rigorous efforts to satisfy what he thought was an angry god, Luther never felt that the ledger was balanced. The harder he tried, the more sinful he felt. Inner peace and tranquility eluded him. He felt that he could not do enough to merit god's forgiveness and favor.
   Luther finally concluded that if forgiveness rested on his own behavior and his won good works, he was a lost man.
   He then turned to the church, which promised forgiveness through indulgences, penances,and gifts. When the Augustinian monasteries selected him to head a delegation to Rome in 1510, Luther was overjoyed! No city on earth had so many holy relics or spiritual indulgences. He grasped the change to earn the merit he so desperately needed and secure the peace for which he longed.
   "In Rome I was frantic, he said, "I ran through all of the churches and catacombs...I celebrated several masses.. and almost regretted that my father and mother were still living, for I would have liked to redeem them from purgatory with my masses and other good works and prayers."

NOTE(JB) WOW! Purgatory is word not found in God's Word, but only in the words of men! Plus redeem his parents??? Then why is Jesus Christ called The Redeemer"? If we can do this by our selves?   Cont;
    Luther was determined to earn {EARN?} all the merits he could while in Rome, on of the things he did was to climb Pilate's staircase on his hands and knees-- something they still do today, repeating the lord's Prayer at each of the 28 steps and kissing each one as they climb.

     Matthew 6:7 " But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."

NOTE(JB) Is the repetitions of one prayer said over and over again 28 times, one for each step not as vain repetitions????

     Cont;   Yet even as he was climbing the stairs, a disturbing thought kept coming back to hem: Was this a valid means of forgiveness? Could a person earn salvation by climbing this staircase? At the top of the stairs Luther heard a voice like thunder that seemed to say to him "The just shall  live by faith."  This was the beginning of Luther's dramatic change in his theology of salvation. This nagging doubt accompanied Luther back to the monastery in Germany, where he searched the Bible as never before, determined to find the answer to his question: "How is a person saved"? To his amazement, as he studied God's Word, Luther found no evidence of trying harder, or of winning merit to make one righteous. Rather, he found the good news that salvation is free!  As he studied the Book of Romans, Luther found the text that would forever quiet his troubled mind: "The just shall live by faith

    Romans 1:17 " For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith"
    .Habakkuk 2:4 " Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith."

NOTE(JB) Can you not see, that Biblical Illiteracy is the greatest problem for, and causing the deceptions, with the believers of the doctrines of men? This is not taught by Jesus!


    Christ, Jesus is at the center of our belief and doctrines of the Holy Bible, for all believers! When Jesus walked and talked with His two disciples on the way to Emmaus following His death and resurrection, He referred them to the Hebrew Old Testament. Then He showed them how all the writings, including the prophecies, pointed to Himself. This is good council for us today. If any church fails to uphold Christ as its center and object of devotions, it can not be counted as Christian!
    The apostle Peter, when brought before the Sanhedrin {Temple leadership}, declared of Christ that "salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved (ACTS 4:12} Jesus Himself said, "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself " {John 12:32} Only in Jesus do we have salvation. He is our authority, He is is, as the Bible states, our "all in all" {Colossians 3:11]


   Faith-- fide---is the means by which we receive salvation. We, none of us, can be saved by what we do!Our Salvation is IN Jesus Christ alone!I n Him we have faith in Hi m we believe!......

NOTE(JB) Many believe and are so taught, that all sins were forgiven at the Cross, and YES but that was CORPORATELY!, only, we EACH, must go to Jesus in prayer, with repentant heart and humbly ask for forgiveness for our every sin! Think of His act on the Cross as as Jesus taking all the wealth of the universe and putting it in a BANK. He then says in the word, That He'll pay the price in full. Now think of our sins as our debts in Credit cards, car payments, mortgage payments, all our debts, BUT WE EACH must go to His bank and requests a loan of His bank of righteousness, then HE'll cover us with His robe!

...... No action on our part can  deal with our sin and our sinful state, other than in prayer, as mentioned before. The Reformers probably used this SOLA  more than any other."Saved by faith" and saved by: " believing in the sacrifice of Jesus as ONE"S Personal Savior"
      Romans 1:17 " For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.''

    Therefore, instead of seeking forgiveness by such works as prayers, vigils, scourging, {whipping one's self] ,  and climbing stairs, on hands and knees & kissing each step, while repeating the lord's prayer at each step> Luther took the simple step of believing, and having faith in God's Word!
    Luther preached a great deal about how faith alone can save human beings. So when a Roman delegate, named John Tetzel, a Dominican Monk, arrived in Germany and began to sell church-endorsed INDULGENCES, for the forgiveness of people's sins, even those whom are dead, and in PURGATORY {a word not found in Scriptures of God} Luther was incensed. Tetzel was sent to raise money by the archbishop of Mainz to raise money for the construction of saint Peter's Basilica in Rome through the sales of these indulgences, the purchase of forgiveness for sins past, present or the future!

NOTE(JB) Tetzel is on record for shouting this, as his "Sales- Pitch"  "Every time a coin drops into this box, and other soul flies to heaven"  Sorry but heaven's not for sale at any price!It was this type of deceptions, that made Rome the richest corporation ,or entity, on earth, yet today!

   Luther saw that a a huge church led- hook-winking action against the people, by Rome's shamelessly exploiting the people, held captive, if-Five Theses on his church's door!
    Now what was truth then, is still truth today! Salvation is The Father's gift to those who accept His son gift of His life and blood in place of our own payment of our sin penalties.It is this TRUST this belief in Jesus that is called "FAITH"!


    By Grace----GRATIA--- we are saved. Regardless of the life we have lived, be it good or bad, we all stand condemned before God as sinners, except for His Grace, The Father extends that to us through His Son Jesus Christ. ......

Note(JB), this is the why Mary, has no place in this beyond being His EARTHLY Mother! Anything about Mary beyond the Bible is but "Traditions" of men!
      Mark 7:13 " Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye..    Colossians 2:8  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

....... We have NO MERIT, no human does, that we can present to God to compensate for our sins, [Jesus did that for us on the cross, JB] Nor can we claim the merits of others who may have lived a good life, no matter how elevated their works are made by men since, Saints ans sinner alike must accept Christ's merits, individually!
     As Paul wrote:  Ephesians 2:8-9  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

  It was the Reformation that found these lost passages, hidden by men. God, The Father has provided everything we need for our salvation, and it's found in the person of Jesus Christ! We just need to accept it, the reformers brought this to focus, elevating it to where it can neither be ignored nor refuted!


   The final SOLA  SUMMARIZES THEM ALL: DEI GLORIA--- His Word, His son, His Gift, and His Grace. If we believe this and accept His Gracious offer in faith and trust Him to believer on His promises, we have salvation. Paul summarized it thus:
     Romans 11:36  "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."

So how does mankind demonstrate his faith?
    1 Corinthians 10:31-32  "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:"

These five foundations have been kept hidden by darkness for centuries, behind ignorance,, myth, and human traditions,, and the passing of the last 500 years since then, has not changed their meaning!

NOTE(JB) The Ten Commandments are both The Father' God's glory and character, which are the two greatest reasons why man CAN NOT change them! For they are written in Stone for eternal permanence! No matter how many books are printed under the name Catechism for converts! Truth is truth and it is eternal! {if it's not then its not truth! right?" }

Next: "What the Holy Spirit can do for you!"
Thanking Y O U for your time. Questions? Comments? John at

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