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14 Women Of The Reformation That You Probably Never Knew About (via Justin Holcomb)

Justin Holcomb provides brief paragraphs about fourteen women who participated in the GERMANY

Katherine von Bora was a former nun who married Martin Luther. They were married for 21 years and had six children. Her quick tongue, humor, and stubbornness matched Martin’s—no small feat. She managed their home (which was frequently full of students), had a large garden and livestock, fished and farmed, and ran a brewery. She also managed their money and took care of their extended household. Martin called her “My Lord Katie.”
Katharina Schutz Zell was married to Matthew Zell of Strasbourg and ministered as a team with her husband. She developed women’s ministries and published a book of Psalms for women to sing. She took a leading role in organizing relief for 150 men exiled from their town for their faith and wrote scriptural encouragements to the wives and children left behind. During the Peasants’ War, she organized Strasbourg to deal with 3,000 refugees for a period of six months.
Ursula von Münsterberg (1491? – 1534) was the granddaughter of King Georg Podiebrad of Bohemia. Ursala was a nun at a convent in Freiberg, Saxony. She spearheaded an effort to bring in a chaplain who was familiar with Luther and had Luther’s books smuggled into the convent. Because of this, she was forced to flee her convent in 1529, after which she stayed with the Luther family.
Argula von Grumbach was a Bavarian noblewoman who vigorously challenged the faculty of the University of Ingolstadt to debate her reformed views. Her letters were widely published.
Anna Rhegius was born in Augsburg in 1505. She had a good education, which included the study of Hebrew, enabling her to discuss biblical writings in great depth.
Elisabeth von Braunschweig married at age 15. After being married for ten years, her mother visited Elisabeth and invited a Lutheran pastor to preach. Within a year, Elisabeth converted and resolved to raise her son as a Lutheran. After the death of her husband, she wrote a book attempting to console widows, helping them through the grieving process.
Elisabeth Cruciger was from Pomerania and spent time at the convent in Treptow on Rega. She left the convent in 1522 or 1523 and married Caspar Cruciger in 1524, which marked the first official Protestant wedding. A friend of Katie Luther’s, Elizabeth was involved in theological discussions at Luther’s “table talks” and with Philip Melanchthon, who considered her to be a bright woman. She wrote the first Protestant hymn in 1524, which created a controversy since women were not usually songwriters in her day.
Jeanne d’Albret was the Queen of Navarre and an influential leader of the Huguenot movement in France. She invited Reformed preachers to speak in her land and publicly declared her adherence to Calvinism in 1560; however, she made it clear that she followed “Beza, Calvin and others only insofar as they follow Scripture.” She attempted to bridge the divide between Catholics and Protestants and tried to bring peace as wars began to break out. In fact, while a Protestant, she continued to allow the Mass to take place in her land, refusing to punish Catholics who did not convert to Protestantism.
Ursula Jost was an influential Anabaptist woman in Strasbourg who wrote a book recounting her prophetic visions of the impending judgment of God that would come upon the people of her city.
Idelette de Bure was a widow with three children when she married John Calvin. One child of theirs died while an infant and she miscarried another. In the process, Calvin, who spoke little of his married life, was deeply touched. Their relationship softened his heart deeply.
Marie Dentière (c. 1495-1561) was of Flemish descent from a family of minor nobility. She was part of an Augustinian monastery in Tournai, which she later left after embracing the teachings of the reformers, a crime against both church and state. She fled to Strasbourg and married Simon Robert, who had been a priest in Tournai, becoming his assistant in their goal of spreading the reform to the area to the east of Geneva. After her husband’s death, she married Antione Froment, a follower of reformer William Farel. Marie wrote an anonymous pamphlet intended to convince the Genevans of God’s intentions for their city. She also spoke out in public taverns and on street corners. It was a success as Geneva eventually became a Protestant republic. She also wrote a book recounting the history of the Geneva reformation.
Jane Grey wrote letters to the reformer Heinrich Bullinger at age 14. As queen, Jane fought off intense efforts to convert her to Rome when she was 16. She resisted those efforts with theological reasoning and biblical teaching against a professor of theology twice her age.
Catherine Willoughby became the Duchess of Suffolk in 1533 and was related to Jane Grey. She protected the preacher-bishop Hugh Latimer from persecution until things became so unbearable for her that, to save her life, she fled to the Netherlands with her infant. She was forced into exile as a supporter of the Reformation.
Olimpia Fulvia Morata was an Italian scholar born in Ferrera as the oldest child of a humanist scholar, who, after being forced to flee his city to northern Italy, lectured on the teachings of Calvin and Luther. Olimpia flourished in her studies, especially in Latin and Greek, exhibiting impeccable scholarship. She wrote Latin dialogues, Greek poems, and letters to both scholars (in Latin) and less educated women (in Italian). In her “Dialogue between Theophilia and Philotima,” she encouraged those who feared that their gross sins obstructed their way to God:
Don’t be afraid … No odor of sinners can be so foul that its force cannot be broken and weakened by the sweetest odor that flows from the death of Christ, which alone God can perfume. Therefore seek Christ.


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Reformation Preaching: The End Of Misty Questions And Sweet Stories (via Michael Reeves)

If you’re attending Christian worship expecting to learn something from the Bible, that’s a fruit of the Reformation.
From Michael Reeves:

By the 15th century, only a small percentage of people could expect to hear their priest preach to them regularly in their local parish church. The English reformer Hugh Latimer spoke of “strawberry parsons” who, like strawberries, appeared but once a year. Even then, the homily would often be in a Latin unintelligible to the people (and, perhaps, to the priest).
As for the content of these rare delicacies, they were highly unlikely to go anywhere near Scripture. The vast majority of the clergy simply didn’t have the Scriptural knowledge to make the attempt. Instead, wrote John Calvin, pre-Reformation sermons were usually divided according to this basic pattern:

The first half was devoted to those misty questions of the schools which might astonish the rude populace, while the second contained sweet stories, or not unamusing speculations, by which the hearers might be kept on the alert. Only a few expressions were thrown in from the Word of God, that by their majesty they might procure credit for these frivolities.

As a result, ignorance of the Word and gospel of God was profound and widespread.
n eye-catching contrast, the Reformation made the sermon the very focal point of the church’s regular worship, and emphasized it architecturally through the physical centrality and conspicuousness of the pulpit.

Read the rest of the article here.

Well, at least you shouldn’t be hearing misty questions or sweet stories if you’re attending a church with a Reformation heritage.

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The Protection Of Sola Scriptura (via Michael Kruger)

Michael Kruger, at his blog Canon Fodder, writes about three protections that the Reformation doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) offers to Christians.

Traditionalism: “Church tradition is our guide”
Individualism: “My Own Private Bible Interpretation is My Guide”
Existentialism: “Who Needs the Bible? Religious Experience is My Guide”

Read his explanations here.

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The Reformation And The Enjoyment Of God

Gleaning through a plethora of posts about the Reformation, this point from Michael Reeves is one that stands out.
If you’re a Christian and your attitude toward God is not marked by fear, uncertainty or anxiety, that’s a fruit of the Reformation.

Consider these words, written by a team of scholars in Westminster, England, in the 1640s: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
Those words capture the heart of the Reformation. For Luther’s discovery made abundantly clear that God is glorious: beautiful, good, kind, and generous. We can therefore actually enjoy God. Not hate. Not avoid. Not appease. Enjoy.
This was all quite different to what so many had known before. As a monk Luther had confessed he’d come to hate God; doubtful of whether he’d made himself worthy of heaven, he shook with fear at the thought of how God might judge him on the last day.
Yet armed with his new discovery, Luther realized he could face such fears like this:

When the Devil throws our sins up to us and declares that we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: “I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made satis­faction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also.”

And so the horrifying doomsday became for him “the most happy Last Day.” The gospel had so transformed Luther’s life that he was able to look to the future with unshakeable hope and assurance that he would enjoy the living God forever.


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A Reformation Of Confidence (via Kevin DeYoung)

If you prayed as a Christian in the name of Jesus, completely confident that God hears and accepts your prayer, that’s a fruit of the Reformation.
Kevin DeYoung interacts with the writings of Martin Luther:

[In addition to other spiritual truths, the Reformation] was also about confidence. Not self-confidence, but confidence that God is for us not against us, confidence that we can go to heaven without a sentence in purgatory first, confidence that though we cannot rest in our works, we can rest in Christ’s.
Consider, for example, this powerful reflection from Luther on the confidence we should have in prayer.
…one of the things we must never forget to say is that the Reformation mercifully allowed fearful sinners to have a new kind of relationship with God. The Reformation reminded God’s people that they can have direct access to God through Christ. It re-centered the church on the lavish, scandalous good news of the cross. And it reassured them (and us) that God is on the side of the justified saint, even though they were still struggling sinners.

Read Luther’s words at DeYoung’s blog.

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What Is The Greatest Of All Protestant “Heresies”? (via Sinclair Ferguson)

If you worshipped as a Christian yesterday assured of your salvation, that’s a fruit of the Reformation.
Sinclair Ferguson writes about a lesser acknowledged fruit of the Church’s great awakening, by interacting with one of its contemporary critics:

Let us begin with a church history exam question. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621) was a figure not to be taken lightly. He was Pope Clement VIII’s personal theologian and one of the most able figures in the Counter-Reformation movement within sixteenth-century Roman Catholicism. On one occasion, he wrote: “The greatest of all Protestant heresies is _______ .” Complete, explain, and discuss Bellarmine’s statement.
How would you answer? What is the greatest of all Protestant heresies? Perhaps justification by faith? Perhaps Scripture alone, or one of the other Reformation watchwords?
Those answers make logical sense. But none of them completes Bellarmine’s sentence. What he wrote was: “The greatest of all Protestant heresies is assurance.”
A moment’s reflection explains why…

Read the rest of the post at Ligonier.

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The Story of Martin Luther (A Playmobil Animation)

This charming Playmobil animation by Go Chatter Videos tells the story of Martin Luther.
Watch is a primer for Reformation Sunday tomorrow.