Month: May 2015

89-Luther’s Legacy file | Play in new windowThis episode of CS is titled Luther’s Legacy. Long time subscribers to CS know that while the podcast isn’t bias free, I do strive to treat subjects fairly. However, being a pastor of a non-denominational, evangelical Christian church in SoCal, I do have my views & opinions on the material we cover. When I share those opinions, I try to mark them as such. So >> Warning; Blatant opinion follows. We live in the Era of the Instant. People expect to have things quickly & relatively easily. Technology has produced an array of labor-saving devices that reduce once arduous tasks to effortless, “push a button & voila” procedures. Sadly, many people assume such instantifying applies to the acquisition of knowledge as well. The internet enhances this expectation with ready access to on-line information, not just thru a desktop computer, but via smartphones where ever we are. And of course, if it’s on the interwebs, it must be true. But knowledge and understanding are different things. Knowing a fact doesn’t equal understanding a concept, truth or principle. And many people now want their history in condensed form. They don’t really care to understand so much as to “get an A on the quiz” or, be able to answer trivia game questions. They can answer multiple choice but wouldn’t have a clue how to write...

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88-Luther’s Struggle file | Play in new windowThis episode of CS is titled, Luther’s Struggle. As we saw last time, Luther’s situation after appearing before the Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms didn’t look hopeful. The majority of officials there decided to apply the papal bull excommunicating Luther & removing his protection. Some of the nobles knew they could incur the Pope’s favor by taking matters into their own hands and assassinating the troublesome priest. But the German prince Frederick the Wise, one of the Emperor’s most important supporters, arranged to air-quotes à “kidnap” Luther on his way back to Wittenberg. He secreted Luther to his castle at Wartburg under an assumed identity. Now in hiding, Luther used the time to translate the NT from Greek into a superbly simple German Bible.  He finished it in the Fall of 1522 and followed it up with an OT translation from Hebrew. This took longer and wasn’t finished till 1534. The completed Bible proved to be no less a force in the German-speaking world than the King James Version was later to be in the English sphere, and it’s considered one of Luther’s most valuable contributions. The revolt against Rome sparked by Luther’s list tacked to the castle church door at Wittenberg began to spread.  In town after town, priests and town councils removed statues from churches and abandoned the...

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87-Luther’s List file | Play in new windowThis episode of CS is titled, Martin’s List. In the summer of 1520 a document bearing an impressive seal circulated throughout Germany in search of a remote figure. It began, “Arise, O Lord, and judge Your cause. A wild boar has invaded Your vineyard.” The document was what’s called a papal bull—named after that impressive seal, or bulla bearing the Pope’s insignia.  It took 3 months to reach the wild boar it referred to, a German monk named Martin Luther who’d created quite a stir in Germany. But well before it arrived in Wittenberg where Luther taught, he knew its contents. 41 of the things he’d been announcing were condemned as à “heretical, scandalous, false, and offensive to pious ears; seducing simple minds & repugnant to Catholic truth.” The papal bull called on Luther to repent and publicly repudiate his errors or face dreadful consequences. Luther received his copy on the 10th of October. At the end of his 60-day grace period, he led a crowd of eager students outside Wittenberg and burned copies of the Canon Law and works of several medieval theologians. Included in the paper that fed the flames was a copy of the bull condemning him. That was his answer. He said, “They’ve burned my books. So I burn theirs.” That fire outside Wittenberg in December of 1520 was...

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86-Erasmus file | Play in new windowThis episode of CS is titled Erasmus. As we begin this 86th episode, I once again want to do a brief, and I promise it will be brief, summary of the threads that conspired to weave the tapestry of the Reformation. Others might refer to them less as threads that weaved a tapestry as those that frayed in the unraveling of the Church caused by those trouble-makers called the Reformers. The reason I feel compelled to do all this summarizing as we launch into the Reformation period in Europe is because of the massive sea-change that’s coming in Church History & the need to understand it wasn’t just some malcontents who woke open day and decided to bail on a healthy church. Things had been bad for a long time and the call for reform had been heard for a couple hundred years. The Western European Church of the 14th & 15th C’s experienced a major crisis of authority. This crisis came from challenges both within and without. They combined to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of many about the credibility and legitimacy of Church leaders. Let’s review some of the things they’d done, or that happened to the Church, that created the crisis. Due to the politics of late medieval Europe, Pope Clement V moved the papal seat to Avignon,...

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85-Dawn file | Play in new windowThis 85th episode of CS, is titled, Dawn. We’ve come now to 1 of the most significant moments in Church History; the Reformation. Since the Reformation is considered by many to be the point at which the Protestant church arose, it’s important to realize a couple things. First – The student of history must remember almost all those who are today counted as the first Protestants were Roman Catholics. When they began the movement that would later be called the Reformation, they didn’t call themselves anything other than Christians of the Western, Roman church. They began as an attempt to bring what they considered to be much needed reform to the Church, not to start something new, but to return to something true. When the Roman hierarchy excommunicated them, the Reformers considered it less as THEY who were being thrust forth out of the Church as it was those who did the thrusting, pushed themselves out of the true church which was invisible and not to be equated with the visible religious institution HQ’d in Rome & presided over by the Pope. It’s difficult to say for certain, but you get the sense from the writing of some of the Reformers that they hoped the day would come when the Roman church would recognize in their movement the true Gospel and come to...

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