Sunday, July 5, 2009

7/6- Setting the Stage for Calvin

(Erasmus- a pre-Reformer)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

7/6- Calvin’s Birthday Week- Setting the stage
5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations? 6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, LORD, and grant us your salvation. (Psalm 85:5-7)

Calvin: First, then, the question is not whether the Church suffers from many and grievous diseases, for this is admitted even by all moderate judges; but whether the diseases are of a kind whose cure admits of no longer delay…We maintain to start with that, when God raised up Luther and others, who held forth a torch to light us into the way of salvation and in whose ministry our churches are founded and built…the use of the sacraments was polluted, and the government of the church was tyrannical (Necessity of Reforming the Church).

There were many things that were going on in Calvin’s day that set the stage for his coming.
1) The world was changing- feudalism was ending and nations were emerging, money economies were beginning, there were tremendous changes in medicine, mathematics, and physics, a new world (America) was discovered at the end of the 15th century.
2) The church was corrupt. The Papacy and upper clergy had become political and greed-filled. Simony (selling of church offices) was common. The pope had resorted to indulgences sales to fund the building of St. Peter’s in Rome. The church as an ostentatious and greedy place contrasted with Jesus of Nazareth’s simple lifestyle.
3)People were becoming literate- and wanted to read the scriptures. The printing press was in over 200 cities by the end of the 15th century, and half of the six million books printed were religious.
4) Pre-reformers, and early reformers had paved the way- Wycliffe in England sought to translate the Bible into English (1320-1384), Hus (1369-1415), Savanarola in Italy (1452-98) then-LeFevre (France 1435-1536) , Erasmus (Netherlands 1466-1536) (who refused to join the Lutherans or affirm the Catholics- Calvin did not criticize him as Luther did) then Luther (Germany 1483-1546), Zwingli (Zurich 1484-1531). The Albigenses (12th and 13th cent France) and Waldenses (who eventually joined the Reformed movement).
5) The fall of Constantinople brought scholars who reminded the westerners to get back to the original sources, and this also spurred the Rennaissance.
All these things and more were the right environmental soup for a John Calvin to be used of God. The stage was set for the actor to come on the scene.
Today we could be on the brink of a New Reformation- if the right humble, brilliant, godly person were to be used by God. The fields are white with harvest. The time is ripe- with the internet, facebook, email, and western society crumbling in its own decay and greed.

Prayer: Today, Lord, we need a new Reformation. In your providence, revive us again that your people may rejoicein you.

No comments:

Post a Comment