28 Feb 2011 2 Comments
From Ravi Zacharias – 2 short lectures, Alvin Plantinga.1)Does God have a nature and 2)What is a properly Basic Belief?
28 Feb 2011 1 Comment
in Alvin Plantinga, Apologetics, Christian Living/Live for Christ, creation/evolution, Jesus Christ, Ravi Zacharias, Ravi Zacharias, Salvation Tags: Alvin Plantinga, apologetics, Does God have a nature?, Ravi Zacharias, What is a properly basic belief?
Ravi Zacharias presents these 2 short videos (approx 20 minutes each) through his ministry RFZIM: Alvin Plantinga is John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy University of Notre Dame and author of (among other books) ‘Warranted Christian Belief’.
Does God have a nature?
What is a properly Basic Belief?
28 Feb 2011 4 Comments
We can draw a straight line from the emergence of evolutionary theory to the resurgence of atheism in our times. Never underestimate the power of a bad idea.
Monday, February 7, 2011
The New Atheism is now an established feature of the intellectual landscape of our age. Thinkers such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris are among the figures who most regularly appear on the front tables of America’s bookstores and the front pages of our newspapers. And, along with their vigorous defense of atheism, we most often find an equally vigorous defense of evolutionary theory. This is no accident.
Atheism has appeared in some form in Western cultures since the midpoint of the last millennium. The word “atheist” did not even exist within the English language until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The earliest atheists were most often philosophical and theological skeptics who denied the existence of any personal God. Nevertheless, the God they almost always rejected is the God of the Bible – in other words, a specific rejection of Christianity.
The early atheists were usually notorious, as were well-known heretics. Their denials of God and the Christian faith were well-documented and understood. But the early atheists had a huge problem –- how could they explain the existence of the Cosmos? Without a clear answer to that question, their arguments for atheism failed to gain much traction.
As even the ancient Greeks understood, one of the most fundamental philosophical questions is this: Why is there something, rather than nothing? Every worldview is accountable to that question. In other words, every philosophy of life must offer some account of how we and the world around us came to be. The creation myths of ancient cultures and the philosophical speculations of the Greeks serve as evidence of the hunger in the human intellect that takes form as what we now call the question of origins.
For some time, atheists were hard-pressed to offer any coherent answer to that question. Once they ruled God out of the picture, they had virtually no account of creation to offer.
Of course, all that changed with Charles Darwin.
Darwin’s theory of natural selection and the larger dogma of evolution emerged in the nineteenth century as the first coherent alternative to the Bible’s doctrine of Creation. This revolution in human thinking is well-summarized by Richard Dawkins, who conceded that an atheist prior to Darwin would have to offer an explanation of the Cosmos and the existence of life that would look something like this: “I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn’t a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.”
Dawkins, who is perhaps the world’s best-known evolutionary scientist, argues that the explanation offered by a frustrated atheist before Darwin “would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied.”
But then came Darwin. In a single sentence, Dawkins gets to the heart of the matter: “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”
His point is clear and compelling. Prior to the development of the theory of evolution, there was no way for an atheist to settle on any clear argument for why the cosmos exists or why life forms appeared. Darwin changed all that. The development of Darwinian evolution offered atheism an invaluable intellectual tool – an account of beginnings.
The New Atheists have emerged as potent public voices. They write best-selling books, appear on major college and university campuses, and extend their voices through institutional and cultural influence. The movement is new in the sense that it differs from the older atheism in several respects, and one of these is the use of science in general, and evolutionary theory in particular, as intellectual leverage against belief in God.
Dawkins, for example, not only believes that Darwinism made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, but he also argues that religious belief is actually dangerous and devoid of credibility. So, he argues not only that Darwinism made it possible for an atheist to be intellectually fulfilled, he also argues that the theory of evolution undermines belief in God.
In other words, Dawkins asserts that Darwinism makes it impossible to be an intellectually fulfilled Christian.
Daniel Dennett, another of the “Four Horsemen” of the New Atheism, has argued that Darwin’s theory of evolution is a “universal acid” that will burn away all claims of the existence of God. His confidence in Darwinism is total. He looks back longingly at his own childhood belief in a divinely-created world and argues that, eventually, his experience of moving from belief in creation to confidence in evolution will be shared by a humanity that grows into intellectual adulthood.
Dennett is honest enough to recognize that if evolutionary theory is true, it must eventually offer an account of everything related to the question of life. Thus, evolution will have to explain every aspect of life, from how a species appeared to why a mother loves her child. Interestingly, he offers an argument for why humans have believed in the existence of God.
As we might expect, the theory of evolution is used to explain that there must have been a time when belief in God was necessary in order for humans to have adequate confidence to reproduce. Clearly, Dennett believes that we should now have adequate confidence to reproduce without belief in God.
Sam Harris, also a scientist by training, is another ardent defender of evolutionary theory. Pushing the argument even further than Dawkins and Dennett, Harris has argued that belief in God is such a danger to human civilization that religious liberty should be denied in order that science might reign supreme as the intellectual foundation of human society.
The last of the “Four Horsemen,” author Christopher Hitchens uses his considerable wit to ridicule belief in God, which he, like Dawkins and Harris, considers downright dangerous to humanity. Though Hitchens is not a scientist, his atheism leaves no room for any theory other than evolution.
The Dogma of Darwinism is among the first principles of the worldview offered by the New Atheists. Darwin replaces the Bible as the great explainer of the existence of life in all of its forms. The New Atheists are not merely dependent upon science for their worldview; their worldview amounts to scientism – the belief that modern naturalistic science is the great unifying answer to the most basic questions of human life.
As Richard Dawkins has recently argued, they believe that disbelief in evolution should be considered as intellectually disrespectable and reprehensible as denial of the Holocaust. Thus, their strategy is to use the theory of evolution as a central weapon in today’s context of intellectual combat.
The New Atheists would have no coherent worldview without the Dogma of Darwinism. With it, they intend to malign belief in God and to marginalize Christians and Christian arguments. Thus, we can draw a straight line from the emergence of evolutionary theory to the resurgence of atheism in our times. Never underestimate the power of a bad idea.
Related Posts by Albert Mohler
- “Atheism Remix” — Understanding and Answering the New Atheism
- Why Darwinism Survives
- Are Humans Hardwired for Belief in God? Darwinism Attempts a Naturalistic Explanation of Belief in the Supernatural
- Putting God Out of Business? A Debate Over Darwinism
- On Darwin and Darwinism: A Letter to Professor Giberson
28 Feb 2011 Leave a comment
de la Danut Manastareanu (blogul Persona):Acest clip este o initiativa a bisericii evanghelice Aletheia din Timisoara, impreuna cu Alo!Copii si Abc Media. Desigur, mesajul este formulat de cei mari si in el transpar limitele teologice tipic evanghelice – ma refer la ideea ca copiii nu-l pot urma cu adevarat pe Cristos decit la virsta adulta, ceea ce, evident, este fals. Nimic nu-i impiedica pe copii sa creada in Cristos si sa-l urmeze … Read More
27 Feb 2011 8 Comments
„Pe creştinii ataşaţi de Cristos nu-i poţi înregimenta în proiecte ideologice”: o poveste a cultului penticostal (1)
Interviul realizat de Otniel Veres la revista electronica Romana OglindaNet.
|„Pe creştinii ataşaţi de Cristos nu-i poţi înregimenta în proiecte ideologice”: o poveste a cultului penticostal (1)|
|Interviu cu Emanuel Conţac realizat de Otniel Vereş|
|Duminică, 27 Februarie 2011 00:00|
|Emanuel Conţac (n. 1981) este licenţiat al Institutului Teologic Penticostal din Bucureşti (2004), unde lucrează în prezent ca lector la catedra de Noul Testament şi ca secretar general de redacţie al jurnalului teologic Plērōma. A obţinut titlul de master în Studii Clasice (Facultatea de Limbi Străine, Universitatea din Bucureşti, 2005) şi este doctor în Filologie al Universităţii din Bucureşti (2010), cu o teză despre condiţionările teologice ale traducerilor Noului Testament în limba română.
Din anul 2003 colaborează cu o importantă editură evanghelică românească (www.logos.ro), pentru care a tradus sau editat următoarele cărţi: John Stott, Puterea predicării (2004); Stanley Grenz et al., Dicţionar de termeni teologici (2005); Moisés Silva şi Walter Kaiser, Introducere în hermeneutica biblică (2006); Gordon Fee, Exegeza Noului Testament (2006); Douglas Stuart, Exegeza Vechiului Testament (2006); Arthur G. Patzia şi Anthony J. Petrotta, Dicţionar de studii biblice (2007); Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Costul uceniciei (2009). Colaborator al editurii Humanitas pentru două traduceri din C. S. Lewis: Surprins de Bucurie, 2008 şi Ferigi şi elefanţi (colecţie de eseuri, în curs de publicare).
Domenii academice de interes: istoria traducerii Bibliei în limba română, condiţionări teologice ale traducerii Bibliei în limba română, probleme de traducere a Noului Testament. Articole de specialitate publicate în Plērōma, Studii şi cercetări lingvistice, Studii clasice, Biblicum Jassyense.
Otniel Vereş: Stimate domnule Conţac, aş dori să împletim în acest interviu întrebările şi informaţiile cu caracter istoric cu observaţiile ce ţin de specificitatea dogmatică a tradiţiei penticostale. În primul rând, cum, când şi unde au apărut prima dată efectiv penticostalii? Am spus „efectiv” pentru că, anticipez, de rădăcinile istorico-dogmatice mai îndepărtate ne vom ocupa mai jos.
Emanuel Conţac: Cu rolul de fondator al penticostalismului modern este creditat îndeobşte Charles Fox Parham, născut pe 4 iunie 1873, al treilea dintre cei cinci fii ai familiei Parham. Cred că ar fi util să dau câteva detalii biografice despre el, fiindcă sunt importante pentru înţelegerea evoluţiei sale teologice. Prima parte a vieţii a fost marcată intermitent de boală. O infecţie virală contractată pe când avea doar 6 luni l-a urmărit până la vârsta de 5 ani. A doua boală, mai gravă, a fost febra reumatică, foarte dureroasă, care l-a afectat de la vârsta de 9 ani. Chiar dacă în anumite perioade această maladie regresează, pe termen lung ea slăbeşte valvele inimii şi inflamează miocardul, provocând insuficienţă cardiacă. Nu întâmplător, ca urmare a acestor suferinţe (şi a altora) Parham a pus un mare accent, în teologia şi slujirea sa, pe vindecarea bolilor. Încă de la vârsta de 9 ani, când a survenit primul puseu de febră reumatică, Parham a crezut că Dumnezeu îl cheamă să fie un slujitor al său. Convertirea a avut loc la 13 ani. La 15 ani ţinea deja primele întâlniri evanghelistice, iar la 17 ani a început să studieze pentru a deveni pastor metodist. În 1891, febra reumatică a revenit atât de puternic, încât luni de zile a zăcut în dureri intense pe care nici morfina nu le-a putut alina. În acea perioadă de chin, Parham a început să rememoreze promisiunile biblice cu privire la vindecare şi s-a rugat să fie vindecat. A avut parte de o însănătoşire în mai multe etape care i-a întărit credinţa că Dumnezeu continuă să lucreze nu doar la nivel spiritual, ci şi la nivel fizic. În anii 1893–1900 a desfăşurat o activitate predicatoricească intensă şi s-a apropiat treptat de teologia mişcărilor „Holiness”. În 1898 a început să pună un accent deosebit pe vindecarea divină, propovăduind acest mesaj cu mult zel. S-au păstrat multe mărturii ale celor vindecaţi în urma rugăciunilor. Cred că este important să se ştie că, înainte de a-şi pune problema teologică a botezului cu Duhul Sfânt şi a vorbirii în limbi, Parham avea deja o teologie tipic penticostală, cu privire la boală. Evident, nimeni, la vremea aceea, n-ar fi caracterizat-o în aceşti termeni.
Ce s-a scris atunci în presă?
Primul articol despre întâlnirile din strada Azusa (Los Angeles Daily Times, 18 aprilie) nu era deloc binevoitor, ci foarte ostil, vorbind despre „o stranie babilonie de limbi” (“a weird babel of tongues”). În ciuda imaginii negative, sau poate tocmai de aceea, mişcarea a cunoscut două perioade de maximă intensitate: 1906–1909 şi 1911–1912, cu servicii divine care începeau la 10 dimineaţa şi continuau pe tot parcursul zilei, până aproape de miezul nopţii. Între zecile de mii de curioşi, simpatizanţi sau sceptici, care au vizitat modesta clădire de pe Azusa (demolată la sfârşitul anilor ’30) au fost şi mulţi lideri ai unor denominaţiuni deja existente. Aceştia au preluat mesajul penticostal şi l-au dus în comunităţile lor, în America sau în Europa. Cel puţin câteva denominaţiuni „Holiness” au adoptat imediat teologia propovăduită de Joseph Seymour, devenind deci penticostale. Menţionez doar două: „Church of God in Christ” şi „Church of God” din Cleveland, Tennessee.
Cum au apărut penticostalii în România? Unde şi când au fost atestaţi pentru prima dată?
Se născuse ortodox?
Da, ortodox. A început să citească Biblia şi a continuat să frecventeze întrunirile ei. La scurt timp a trecut prin experienţa inumană a războiului, s-a căsătorit pe 21 septembrie 1918, în timpul unei permisii mai lungi (o lună), iar apoi a revenit pe front. O boală căpătată la scurtă vreme l-a scutit de „frontul italian” şi astfel a revenit acasă. Anii care au urmat au fost foarte dificili, în principal din cauza pleureziei de care suferea Persida, soţia lui. Pe atunci cei doi locuiau în Păuliş. În 1921 un credincios baptist din sat, Constantin Sida, a primit din America o scrisoare de la Petru Pernevan care pomenea vindecările făcute prin evanghelista Aimee Semple McPherson, foarte celebră în America anilor ’20. Această scrisoare le-a aprins soţilor Bradin speranţa că Persida poate fi vindecată. În primăvara anului 1922 cei doi s-au mutat în Cuvin, satul natal al lui Gheorghe Bradin. În vara acelui an Persida Bradin a fost vindecată, în urma unei rugăciuni personale, fapt care a avut consecinţe serioase asupra teologiei celor doi, convinşi că Dumnezeu face minuni şi botează cu Duhul Sfânt conform evenimentelor descrise în Faptele Apostolilor. Legătura cu rude mai îndepărtate ale soţiei, români emigraţi în America, de confesiune penticostală, şi cu Pavel Budeanu, penticostal român aflat în America, a consolidat credinţa acestora, astfel încât la 10 septembrie 1922 Bradin a deschis prima casă de rugăciune penticostală din România, la Păuliş, renunţând să mai frecventeze biserica baptistă. La scurtă vreme li s-au alăturat alţi credincioşi baptişti, astfel încât pe la sfârşitul anului 1922, relatează Bradin, adunarea lor număra circa 30 de persoane. Pe 3 iunie 1923 au avut loc primele experienţe tipic penticostale ale acestui grup: 8 persoane au fost botezate cu Duhul Sfânt.
Cum au fost acceptaţi de ortodocşi?
Aşa cum vă imaginaţi, persecuţiile nu au întârziat să apară. Primul prigonitor a fost chiar preotul ortodox din Păuliş, Cornel Popescu. Un oponent mult mai influent şi mai înverşunat a fost viitorul episcop al Aradului, Grigore Comşa, care îi detesta în egală măsură pe baptişti şi pe penticostali. Acesta din urmă a lăsat în urmă o bogată colecţie de scrieri „antisectare”, în care îi menţionează, desigur, şi pe penticostali. Îmi aduc aminte că, parcurgând cu mai mulţi ani în urmă sertarul cu fişe privind „scrierile antisectare” de la Biblioteca Academiei din Bucureşti, am rămas surprins să văd câte de numeroase au fost în perioada interbelică broşurile polemice împotriva confesiunilor „neoprotestante”, unele recunoscute legal, dar, cu toate acestea, hărţuite aproape sistematic, iar altele persecutate şi reprimate violent. Multe dintre aceste broşuri îl au ca autor pe episcopul Aradului. Ca o ironie a istoriei (Dumnezeu are şi simţul umorului!), trebuie menţionat că autorul Noii călăuze pentru cunoaşterea şi combaterea sectelor se arăta încrezător că în afară de cele două biserici deschise (la Păuliş şi Cuvin) penticostalii nu vor mai creşte numeric.
Da, istoria penticostalilor în România a fost tumultoasă şi tulburată. De exemplu, în ce priveşte relaţiile cu statul, în ciuda numeroaselor persecuţii suferite, baptiştii au primit recunoaştere confesională mult mai uşor decât cultul penticostal, în Transilvania chiar din 1905. Pe de altă parte, cultul penticostal a fost recunoscut ca atare mult mai greu, fiind în mod repetat trecut în rândul sectelor sau asociaţiilor religioase interzise. Astfel, decizia 5734 din 29 ianuarie 1925 a Ministerului cultelor declară la art. 1: „Sunt cu desăvârşire oprite asociaţiile cu caracter religios/secte religioase: 1. nazarinenii/pocăiţii/, 2. asociaţia internaţională a studenţilor în Biblie /milenişti, 3. adventiştii reformişti, 4. secerătorii, 5. penticostaliştii, 6. inochentiştii, întrucât doctrinele pe care le propagă sunt de natură a aduce atingere legilor şi instrucţiunilor statului şi prin practicile lor contravin ordinii publice”. La fel, regulamentul sectelor religioase din 11 iunie 1938 trece cultul penticostal în rândul asociaţilor religioase interzise. Care a fost în opinia dumneavoastră motivul exact pentru această situaţie şi ce credeţi că se avea în vedere prin interzicerea acestor asociaţii?
Nu cunosc în detalii istoria recunoaşterii cultelor neoprotestante în România, dar, la o evaluare generală, aş spune că foarte puţine au primit recunoaştere în perioada interbelică. Impresia mea este că cele mai multe au moştenit recunoaşterea pe care au avut-o în Transilvania, în perioada când aceasta a fost parte din Imperiul Austro-Ungar. Cred că motivele interzicerii penticostalilor au fost mai multe. În primul rând, România n-a avut o tradiţie a pluralismului religios, ca alte state europene. Constituţia din 1923 pare foarte generoasă la acest capitol. Există multe articole referitoare la domeniul religios şi par să promoveze libertatea religioasă. Art. 5, de pildă, preciza că românii, indiferent de originea etnică, limbă sau religie, se bucură de libertatea de conştiinţă, de libertatea întrunirilor sau libertatea de asociaţie. Potrivit art. 7, credinţa sau confesiunea religioasă nu constituie piedici în calea dobândirii drepturilor civile şi politice. Art. 8 spunea că toţi românii, indiferent de origine etnică, limbă sau religie, sunt egali înaintea legii. Dar să nu uităm, prin art. 22, care garanta tuturor cultelor (celor recunoscute, evident) libertate şi protecţie, se stabilea şi faptul că Biserica ortodoxă şi cea greco-catolică sunt biserici româneşti, iar Biserica ortodoxă era definită ca „biserică dominantă în statul român”, iar celei greco-catolice i se recunoştea întâietatea faţă de celelalte culte. Acelaşi articol preciza că „raporturile dintre diferitele culte şi stat se vor stabili prin lege”. Dacă mai ţinem cont şi de faptul că în Senatul României intrau de drept mitropolitul şi episcopii eparhioţi ai bisericilor ortodoxe şi greco-catolice, constatăm că, în fapt, Biserica ortodoxă avea o influenţă considerabilă, care i-ar fi permis să facă dificilă sau chiar imposibilă obţinerea recunoaşterii legale de către unele asociaţii religioase.
În detalierea deciziei din 1925, decizia ministerială adaugă următoarele. Textul este cam incoerent: „[Este interzisă] Secta penticostaliştilor, având aderenţi exclusiv în comuna Păuliş şi Cuvin, judeţul Arad, sub conducerea lui Gheorghe Bradin. Doctrina este tipărită în broşură de 14 pagini; declararea fundamentului adevărat; este oprită fiindcă doctrina nu reprezintă tuturor aderenţilor, ci numai anumitor persoane iniţiate; nu oferă garanţie suficientă de întrunirea condiţiunilor prevăzute în art. 22 din constituţie”. Ce părere aveţi despre aceste afirmaţii? La ce credeţi că fac ele referire?
Din această decizie înţeleg că penticostalii au fost interzişi fiindcă au fost consideraţi prea puţini (în doar două comune). Din nefericire, broşura românească nu s-a păstrat, prin urmare nu ştim la ce elemente de doctrină se face referire atunci când se afirmă că ea nu este reprezentativă pentru toţi aderenţii. Cred că broşura de 14 pagini a fost o traducere după Statement of Fundamental Truths („Declaraţia Adevărurilor Fundamentale”), publicată în 1916 de Consiliul General al Assemblies of God (importantă denominaţiune penticostală). Dacă versiunea românească este cât de cât fidelă originalului, atunci poate că în ochii autorităţilor a părut suspect punctul 15, referitor la venirea iminentă, premilenistă, a lui Cristos.
Dar în celelalte ţări europene de ce statut s-au bucurat penticostalii în perioada interbelică? Au fost trataţi mai tolerant?
Nu. Penticostalii din Italia, ale căror începuturi sunt mai timpurii (1908), au avut o soartă similară. Între 1935 şi 1958 (!) mişcarea a fost supusă unor persecuţii dure. Întâlnirile lor „indiferent sub ce formă” au fost cu desăvârşire interzise în timpul lui Buffarini-Guidi, ministrul de interne al lui Mussolini. A fost o perioadă de hărţuiri, arestări, exilări, bătăi şi chiar martiraj. Intensificarea persecuţiei a coincis, deloc surprinzător, cu izbucnirea războiului cu Abisinia. Abia în 1954, aşa-numitul Consiglio Federale delle Chiese Evangeliche a reuşit, în urma unui apel către Consiliul de Stat, să obţină o decizie prin care persecuţia împotriva penticostalilor era declarată ilegală. Ceea ce nu înseamnă că organizaţia Assemblies of God n-a avut şi ulterior procese care au ajuns până la cele mai înalte tribunale de la Roma, fiind câştigate cu ajutorul unor avocaţi nepenticostali. Mai dau un exemplu interesant: în 1952, Curci Michele, prezbiter penticostal italian, a murit asfixiat în timp ce încerca să-l scoată pe un tovarăş de lucru dintr-o fântână. Preotul catolic din localitate a refuzat să accepte îngroparea lui în cimitirul localităţii, deşi acesta nu aparţinea bisericii. Menţionez incidentul doar fiindcă este similar unuia care despre care am informaţii de mâna întâi. În martie 1997, preotul ortodox din Iacobeni (Botoşani) a refuzat cu îndârjire cererea tatălui meu de a îngropa în cimitirul satului un penticostal (singurul din sat), pe motiv că „se spurcă locul”!
Care este relaţia dintre cultul baptist şi cel penticostal în România? La început a existat o relaţie foarte tensionată, mai ales având în vedere şi faptul că penticostalismul a fost o mişcare apărută în sânul bisericii baptiste în România. S-a ajuns chiar la conflicte deschise care au implicat măsuri venite din partea conducerii cultului baptist. Care au fost cauzele acestor conflicte şi credeţi că într-o anumită măsură ele s-au născut şi pe un anumit fond de nesiguranţă izvorât din faptul că nici biserica baptistă nu era încă puternic fixată în spaţiul autohton?
Într-adevăr, atât în Statele Unite, cât şi în România învăţătura şi practicile penticostale au găsit sprijin îndeosebi în rândul baptiştilor. Fiind penticostal la a treia generaţie, nu am informaţii directe de la martorii care au trăit disputele dintre cele două culte, în primele decenii ale penticostalismului românesc. Interesant este că într-un articol din 17 ianuarie 1925, publicat în The Pentecostal Evangel, Pavel Budean, român penticostal din America, spunea că a vizitat România şi că a aranjat întâlniri bisericeşti în satul lui natal, în clădirile bisericilor baptiste. Dacă este să dăm crezare materialului său, la vremea aceea, când penticostalii erau numai 50 la număr, unele biserici baptiste îşi deschideau larg uşile pentru predicarea „Evangheliei Depline” (cum era numit mesajul penticostal la început). Apoi lucrurile s-au tensionat, în sensul că mulţi baptişti au adoptat învăţătura penticostală, fapt care a atras atenţia oponenţilor. Scrierile lui Grigore Comşa şi publicaţiile interbelice (penticostale sau nu) sunt mărturie în acest sens. Uneori s-a întâmplat ca nu doar credincioşi individuali, ci întregi comunităţi baptiste să adopte învăţătura penticostală. Nu am informaţii privind caracteristicile bisericilor baptiste din acea perioadă, de aceea aş fi rezervat cu evaluările. Ceea ce ştiu sigur este că în unele situaţii credincioşii baptişti care au avut parte de experienţe penticostale au fost excluşi din bisericile lor şi s-au văzut nevoiţi să înfiinţeze comunităţi penticostale. Râvna unora dintre neofiţi a fost mai mare decât înţelepciunea lor, drept care şi-au promovat destul de agresiv crezul şi experienţele. În ultimii ani relaţia a devenit mai bună şi înclin să atribui Alianţei Evanghelice un oarecare rol în această schimbare, deşi instituţia are mai degrabă valoare simbolică sau decorativă. Cu alte cuvinte, deşi nu a făcut prea multe isprăvi, Alianţa Evanghelică ne-a dat, cel puţin unora dintre noi, un minim confort psihologic că putem colabora.
În general, baptiştii şi penticostalii sunt adesea confundaţi în ţara noastră sau integraţi toţi în categoria „pocăiţilor”, aplicată în decizia ministerială amintită mai sus „nazarinenilor”. Cum se particularizează biserica penticostală în spaţiul protestant în general?
Eticheta „pocăit” n-a fost rezervată, în România, numai adepţilor Bisericii Apostolice Creştine (Nazarinene), fondată de elveţianul Samuel Heinrich Fröhlich în sec. XIX. Presa interbelică şi materialele „antisectare” sugerează că orice denominaţiune (neo)protestantă minoritară putea fi denumită cu acest titlu. Oamenii de rând au fost prea puţin sensibili la diferenţele confesionale dintre aceste mişcări şi au avut tendinţa de a-l eticheta pe celălalt după ceea ce li s-a părut definitoriu la nivelul trăirii practice. Or, sub raport etic, toate grupările religioase descinzând din Reformă puteau fi percepute ca „pocăite”, fiindcă erau rigoriste (interziceau consumul băuturilor alcoolice şi fumatul, criticau sudălmile, promovau îmbrăcămintea modestă, lipsa podoabelor etc.). Nu cred că nazarinenii au fost atât de cunoscuţi la nivelul societăţii încât să genereze, numai ei, o astfel de „confuzie”.
27 Feb 2011 Leave a comment
Predica (60 minute) de la Resurse Crestine, Romania O predica de neuitat din partea lui Richard Wurmbrand care povesteste cea mai frumoasa intimplare din viata lui, care s-a petrecut intr-un ajun de Craciun in inchisoare cind erau torturati si bolnavi de moarte, el cu Pastorul Iscu, si unul din cei ce i-a torturat si chinuit care a fost la rindul lui torturat. Discuta valoarea mingaierii in viata noastra si viata noastra incarcata de vina si puterea lui Hristos sa ne mintuie pe toti.
27 Feb 2011 4 Comments
Cintarea Nu te-ndoi si crede ca dupa orice nor-versuri Traian Dorz, muzica Nicolaie Moldovean. (Photo Traian Dorz- Oastea Domnului)
Poeziile recitate de Traian Dorz:
*De-as umbla prin soare ori prin noapte grea
*Inger care-n mina tii ptirul ultimii urgii
*Miine vom sui Isus si noi pe-o raza
*Cu dorul Tau Isus am pribegit in lume
*Nu lasa la nimeni pilda rea in lume
*Incarca-ti tineretea cu tot ce e frumos
*Mai sint destui cei ce n-asculta oricite-ndemnuri i-ar chema
Am inlcouit acest video, care nu mai este disponibil cu acest VIDEO by liviucanada
27 Feb 2011 1 Comment
Instead of seminary, you can insert any number of other words such as career,car,money,friends etc. Very convicting to both husbands and wives because we can all be guilty of loving other things more than our spouses at times. Here is some very useful marriage commentary (not just for seminarians and their wives) from The Aquila Report :
Nothing will throw off your graduation date from Seminary like a divorce.
Does a husband’s subjective call to ministry relativize his objective, biblical command to love his wife? Regardless of how I might have answered this question in a theological paper, the true answer of my heart was exposed by my actions. Some said my marriage issues were normal for a seminarian, even appropriate for my “season of life.”
My sinful heart exploited this poor counsel to justify my negligence as a husband. If you’re better at spotting immature husbands than I am, then you would quickly see that though I would have argued that no ministry opportunity — including the opportunity to attend seminary — undermines Ephesians 5:25, my true answer could be seen in how I talked to my wife.
You could see it in how I touched her, when I did. If you were to come to my home, you might have sensed that my study, neatly adorned with shelves of books, was my pride and joy. But I happily left the upkeep of the rest of the house to my wife.
You may have noticed my drive to write creative sermons and talk theology with classmates, but a deflated effort creatively to engage my wife in conversation. My eyes lit up over my syllabi, but I had little response over my wife’s new haircut or her plans for the day or a new recipe she was eager to try.
To my shame, I could spot the subtle ways heretical worldviews creep into the church, but I paid little attention to the subtle ways resentment crept into my wife’s heart. I jumped to unpack the mysteries behind Christ’s tears as He hung alone on the cross, but I left alone the mystery of my wife’s tears as she, once again, went to bed alone because her husband “needed” to study. After all, I was in seminary, and shouldn’t she support God’s calling on my life? She should be stronger, trust God’s plan more, and be more understanding of the demands of my calling, right?
At the end of the day, I gave heart service to my time at seminary, but only lip service to Ephesians 5, and it cost me my marriage.
Studious or self-deceived
Husbands, I have found that discerning whether or not we adequately love our wives is rarely something we can do on our own. If I were to ask you, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you think your wife feels loved by you?” many of us would likely rate ourselves higher than our wives would. Sure, no Christian man would have the audacity to rate himself a 10. We all know we are sinners. But, our hearts are incredibly self-biased, and finding where we truly land on the scale almost always requires a second set of eyes.
Somewhere along the way, we seminary students become really awesome at calling out sin apart from true heart change. After all of our trivial confessions, we may remain oblivious to how we are deeply wounding our wives because we end up loving her on our own terms. We can even wind up blaming her for a difficult marriage when the difficulty is really because we husbands don’t know how to dig deep enough to see our sin.
I humbly want to serve as that second set of eyes. As I think about my own marriage breakdown, I want to offer a few things I wish I would have more seriously considered during my time as a seminarian:
- 1. Tell your wife you love her regularly.
- 2. Deeply dwell on the Gospel. Your affection for your wife can only go as deep as your affection for the person and work of Christ. Because marriage is a picture of how Christ has loved His church, if your heart has grown cold toward the cross, you can be sure it has grown cold toward your marriage. Thus, do everything possible to keep your heart soft toward Jesus.
- 3. Read books about the cross. Listen to music about the cross. Try to constantly maintain a posture of wonder about being reconciled to God through Christ; this is the foundation for true love for any marriage. Remember that marriage is Gospel ministry. If you do not hold your marriage in high esteem (Heb 13:4), you do not truly hold Gospel ministry in high esteem. The size of your library is a poor indicator of how seriously you take the Gospel.
4. Your marriage is where the audit needs to happen. I think this is what Paul is getting at when he asks, “For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church” (1 Tim 3:5)?
5. Tell your wife you love her regularly.
I have also found that your class notes may not be the best devotional material for your wife. Fight to ensure that you and your wife’s affections for Christ flow from sources other than seminary. Never sacrifice intimacy for study. For some couples this means going to sleep at the same time, for others it means eating breakfast together every morning. Either way, budget time for intimacy. Manage your time better throughout the day, or take a lighter load of classes. Furthermore, show interest in her schedule.
Tell her you love her regularly. Fight peripheral laziness. One thing that will surely make it an uphill battle for your wife to respect you is if she sees you work hard at seminary but act like a slob everywhere else. Be tender during theological discussion with your wife. If she’s not as robust a student as you, she’ll likely not find the same things interesting. In conversation, she’ll likely not go as deep as you, and she may even contradict what you have just learned in class. Yet, gently affirm her knowledge of Christ. You are the pastor of your home; shepherd your wife, making the most of your theological education. Do everything you can to ensure that she feels safe expressing her heart regarding your study habits, ministry or projected graduation date.
Always be grateful for a wife who knows Christ. Fervently pray for her heart, even when times are good. Pray that God would keep Satan from using your sins as a seminarian to turn her away from Christ and His church.
Tell her you love her regularly.
Always remember that God doesn’t need you, your gifts or your ministry. If He did, why did He create you so late in history? Cultivate your marriage behind closed doors because “your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt 6:4).
Oh, and tell her you love her regularly.
God, wife, seminary
It is ironic that I have seen seminary be the place where many have been disqualified from ministry. It is clear in Scripture that the Holy Spirit specifically appoints certain men as leaders by gifting them and putting it in their hearts to serve joyfully in the context of a local church (Acts 20:28; cf. 1 Tim 3:1ff ). It’s a noble desire. It can be an all-consuming desire. But, with this desire comes the responsibility to humbly prioritize one’s life in such a way that prevents a subtle disregard for God’s written word. God has not commanded husbands to love seminary. He has commanded that we love our wives and strive to protect our marriages, even from something as noble as our ministry call.
Take it from me. My projected graduation date was December 2010. I was one semester away from earning my MDiv. when I decided I needed to take my marriage seriously. It was too late at that point.
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.
Love your wives more!!
This article is from the February 2011 issue of Towers: The Magazine of the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
27 Feb 2011 Leave a comment
From December 2007 – Fernando Ortega sings ‘Give me Jesus’ with interspersed images of Billy Graham a living testimony and example and his beloved wife of 64 years, Ruth, who passed away in 2007.
27 Feb 2011 2 Comments
36Alţii au suferit batjocuri, bătăi, lanţuri şi închisoare;
37au fost ucişi cu pietre, tăiaţi în două cu ferestrăul, chinuiţi; au murit ucişi de sabie, au pribegit îmbrăcaţi cu cojoace şi în piei de capre, lipsiţi de toate, prigoniţi, munciţi, –
38ei, de cari lumea nu era vrednică-au rătăcit prin pustiuri, prin munţi, prin peşteri şi prin crăpăturile pămîntului.
versuri (lyrics) (English subtitles in video)
Şi noi fiind înconjuraţi de-un nor aşa de martori
/:Să ‘nlăturăm orice păcat privind spre malul celălalt
Aşa creştinii au luptat ei nu s-au dat în lături:/
Să le urmăm c-un dor nespus credinţa lor supremă
/:Căci au luptat şi au învins creştinii noştrii ce s-au stins
De dorul Lui au fost cuprinşi mergeau cântând pe-arene:/
Când legile i-ameninţau şi-atunci ei n-aveau frică
/:Când fiarele le slobozeau pe mici şi mari îi sfâşiau
Dar ei de dor mai mult ardeau nici de-asta n-aveau frică:/
De foame istoviţi de frig ei pribegeau departe
/:Prind munţi şi peşteri alungaţi prin temniţă în fier legaţi
Lovit mai crud şi-ameninţaţi de Domnul nu-i desparte:/
Cântau al mântuirii cânt mergând pe orice cale
/:Şi-atuncea când intrau pe rând în subterane toţi cântând
Celui ce zice “Vin curând!vegheaţi în aşteptare”!:/
Căci am să vin ca şi un hoţ în noaptea cea târzie
/:Vegheaţi păziţi a mele porţi şi atunci Eu n-am să vin ca hoţ
Când voi striga la voi la toţi “Mireasa Mea să vină”!:/
În vremea ce ne-a mai rămas să stăm în aşteptare
/:Şi înapoi nu, nici un pas, ‘nainte să nu dăm răgaz
Că vine Mirele chiar azi să îi cântăm OSANA !:/
Click pe Youtube player care va va duce la video pe canalul Youtube.
26 Feb 2011 2 Comments
A Grief Observed, fragmente traduse de Florin Motiu (9 pagini)
Apologetica Lewisiana, traducere Rodica si Florin Motiu (7 pagini)
26 Feb 2011 Leave a comment
in Apologetics, Christian Living/Live for Christ, Creation, creation/evolution, Family matters, Jesus Christ, Kids, Ravi Zacharias, Ravi Zacharias, Word of God, Youth Tags: apologetics, Hong Kong University, Ravi Zacharias
Rodi: Ravi Zacharias is called the modern C.S.Lewis because of his apologetics. Here he speaks to University of Hong Kong students for 1 hour and then has a 45 minute question and answer session.
From the Ravi Zacharias organization:
An Evening with Ravi Zacharias (Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University)
Moderated by Prof Daniel KL Chua (School of Humanities, HKU)
Date: Thursday, March 18, 2010
Venue: Loke Yew Hall, The University of Hong Kong
Ravi Zacharias is presently Visiting Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University in Oxford. He has spoken in numerous universities, notably Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford University, and has given talks at the White House, the Pentagon, and the British Parliament. He has addressed writers of the peace accord in South Africa, the president’s cabinet and parliament in Peru, and military officers at the Lenin Military Academy and the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow. He has authored or edited twenty books, including Walking from East to West:(Zondervan, 2006), The Grand Weaver (Zondervan, 2007), and Beyond Opinion (Thomas Nelson, 2008); his Can Man Live without God (Word, 1994), was awarded the Gold Medallion for best book in the category of doctrine and theology.
26 Feb 2011 2 Comments
26 Feb 2011 1 Comment
Vezi detalii biografice William Tyndale
În vremea aceea, Tyndale traducea lucrarea lui Erasmus, “manualul soldatului creştin”. După ce a terminat traducerea, a dat o copie Lordului şi Doamnei Welch, care odată ce au citit cartea, au ajuns să îi primească pe oamenii Bisericii mult mai rar.
În curând preoţimea din zonă a început să se plângă de Tyndale în cârciumi şi alte locuri, spunând că lucrările sale sunt erezii şi adăugând la cele spuse de el lucrurile care făceau ca acuzaţiile să pară adevărate. Tyndale a fost chemat înaintea cancelarului episcopal, a fost ameninţat şi acuzat de multe lucruri, ca apoi să i se dea drumul nevătămat.
După această întâmplare Tzndale a găsit cu cale că este mai bine să părăsească regiunea, aşa că a plecat la Londra nădăjduind să-şi găsească un loc cu ajutorul lui Cuthbert Tonstal, episcopul Londrei. Pentru că acest lucru nu s-a putut face, a plecat în Germania.
Tyndale a găsit de bine, fiind influenţat în parte de John Frith, ca oamenii să poată citi ei înşişi Scriptura, fără să trebuiască să se încreadă în Biserică pentru explicaţii cinstite şi complete. El credea că corupţia Bisericii era tolerată doar pentru că oamenii nu ştiau nimic mai bun – iar Biserica nici vorbă să-i înveţe mai bine, fiindcă excesele şi privilegiile clerului ar fi fost periclitate.
În 1526 Tyndale a publicat traducerea în limba engleză a Noului Testament şi a început să lucreze la traducerea Vechiului Testament, adăugând câte un prolog la fiecare carte. În afară de aceasta, a publicat Mamona Cel Ticălos şi Practica Prelaţilor, trimiţând copii ale lor în Anglia.
După ce a călătorit în Germania şi Saxonia, unde s-a întâlnit cu Luther şi cu alţi oameni învăţaţi, a sfârşit prin a se stabili la Antwerp, în Olanda.
Când cărţile sale – mai ales Noul Testament – au început să fie citite de mai mulţi oameni din Anglia, episcopii şi prelaţii Bisericii au făcut tot ce le-a stat în putere ca să le condamne şi să le demaşte “greşelile”. În 1527 l-au convins pe rege să interzică toate lucrările lui Tyndale în Anglia.
În acest timp, Cuthbert Tonstal, episcopul Londrei, a colaborat cu Sir Thomas More pentru a găsi o cale pentru a opri ca traducerile să ajungă în mâna publicului. El a făcut cunoştinţă cu Augustine Packinngton, un comerciant englez care îl sprijinea în secret pe Txndale şi Packington a promis episcopului că îi va aduce fiecare copie a următoarei ediţii a traducerii dacă episcopul îi va furniza fondurile pentru cumpărarea lor. Când episcopul s-a arătat a fi de acord, Packington şi-a primit laudele iar Tyndale a primit toţi banii, parte din ei fiind folosiţi în mod prompt pentru tipărirea unei noi ediţii şi trimiterea ei în ţară. Restul de bani i-a fost de ajutor lui Tyndale pentru o bucată de vreme.
Tonstal a ars în public toate exemplarele cumpărate de el, lucru care i-a jignit pe oameni într-atâta încât Biserica a promis că se va îngriji să apară propria ei traducere, lipsită de erori. Însă nu s-a făcut nimic pentru ca promisiunea să fie împlinită. De fapt în luna mai 1530 Biserica a declarat că o asemenea traducere nu este necesară, ceea ce a dus la creşterea vânzărilor lucrării lui Txndale.
Până la urmă Tyndale a fost prins de către împărat la Antwerp, cărţile lui au fost confiscate şi el a fost întemniţat pentru un an şi jumătate înainte ca să fie condamnat prin decretul imperial de la Augsburg. Tyndale a fost pus pe rug, ştrangulat şi ars, la Vilvorden, în 1536. El a murit rostind cuvintele:”Doamne deschide ochii regelui Angliei!”
26 Feb 2011 7 Comments
WILLIAM TYNDALE, translator of the New Testament and Pentateuch, was born on the Welsh border, probably in Gloucestershire, some time between 1490 and 1495. In Easter term 1510 he went to Oxford, where Foxe says he was entered of Magdalen Hall. He took his M.A. degree in 1515 and removed to Cambridge, where Erasmus had helped to establish a reputation for Greek and theology.
Ordained to the priesthood, probably towards the close of 1521, he entered the household of Sir John Walsh, Old Sodbury, Gloucestershire, as chaplain and domestic tutor. Here he lived for two years, using his leisure in preaching in the villages and at Bristol, conduct which brought him into collision with the backward clergy of the district, and led to his being summoned before the chancellor of Worcester (William of Malvern) as a suspected heretic; but he was allowed to depart without receiving censure or giving any undertaking. But the persecution of the clergy led him to seek an antidote for what he regarded as the corruption of the Church, and he resolved to translate the New Testament into the vernacular. In this he hoped to get help from Cuthbert Tunstall, bishop of London, and so “with the good will of his master” he left Gloucester in the summer of 1523. Tunstall disappointed him, so he got employment as a preacher at St Dunstan’s-in-the-West, and worked at his translation, living as chaplain in the house of Humphrey Monmouth, an alderman, and forming a firm friendship with John Frith; but finding publication impossible in England, he sailed for Hamburg in May 1524.
After visiting Luther at Wittenberg, he settled with his amanuensis William Roy in Cologne, where he had made some progress in printing a 4to edition of his New Testament, when the work was discovered by John Cochlaeus, dean at Frankfurt, who not only got the senate of Cologne to interdict further printing, but warned Henry VIII and Wolsey to watch the English ports. Tyndale and Roy escaped with their sheets to Worms, where the 8vo edition was completed in 1526. Copies were smuggled into England but were suppressed by the bishops, and William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, even bought up copies on the Continent to destroy them. Attempts were made to seize Tyndale at Worms, but he found refuge at Marburg with Philip, landgrave of Hesse. There he probably met Patrick Hamilton, and was joined by John Frith.
About this time he changed his views on the Eucharist and swung clean over from transubstantiation to the advanced Zwinglian position. His Parable of the Wicked Mammon (1528), Obedience of a Christen Man (1528), in which the two great principles of the English Reformation are set out, viz. the authority of Scripture in the Church and the supremacy of the king in the state, and Practyse of Prelates (1530), a strong indictment of the Roman Church and also of Henry VIII’s divorce proceedings, were all printed at Marburg. In 1529 on his way to Hamburg he was wrecked on the Dutch coast, and lost his newly completed translation of Deuteronomy. Later in the year he went to Antwerp where he conducted his share of the classic controversy with Sir Thomas More.
After Henry VIII’s change of attitude towards Rome, Stephen Vaughan, the English envoy to the Netherlands, suggested Tyndale’s return, but the reformer feared ecclesiastical hostility and declined. Henry then demanded his surrender from the emperor as one who was spreading sedition in England, and Tyndale left Antwerp for two years, returning in 1533 and busying himself with revising his translations. In May 1535 he was betrayed by Henry Phillips, to whom he had shown much kindness as a professing student of the new faith. The imperial officers imprisoned him at Vilvorde Castle, the state prison, 6 mi. from Brussels, where in spite of the great efforts of the English merchants and the appeal of Thomas Cromwell to Archbishop Carandolet, president of the council, and to the governor of the castle, he was tried for heresy and condemned. On the 6th of August 1536 he was strangled at the stake and his body afterwards burnt.
The Burning of William Tyndale, from Foxe‘s Book of Martyrs
Though long an exile from his native land, Tyndale was one of the greatest forces of the English Reformation. His writings show sound scholarship and high literary power, while they helped to shape the thought of the Puritan party in England. His translation of the Bible was so sure and happy that it formed the basis of subsequent renderings, especially that of the authorized version of 1611. Besides the New Testament, the Pentateuch and Jonah, it is believed that he finished in prison the section of the Old Testament extending from Joshua to Chronicles. Beside the works already named Tyndale wrote A Prologue on the Epistle to the Romans (1526), An Exposition of the 1st Epistle of John (1531), An Exposition of Matthew v.-vii. (1532), a Treatise on the Sacraments (1533), and possibly another (no longer extant) on matrimony (1529).
Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Ed., vol. XXVII.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910. 499.
What is the Tyndale Bible?
William Tyndale holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale also went on to first translate much of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew into English, but he was executed in 1536 for the “crime” of printing the scriptures in English before he could personally complete the printing of an entire Bible. His friends Myles Coverdale, and John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers, managed to evade arrest and publish entire Bibles in the English language for the first time, and within one year of Tyndale’s death. These Bibles were primarily the work of William Tyndale.
The History of William Tyndale and his Bibles
William Tyndale was the Captain of the Army of Reformers, and was their spiritual leader. Tyndale holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale was a true scholar and a genius, so fluent in eight languages that it was said one would think any one of them to be his native tongue. He is frequently referred to as the “Architect of the English Language”, (even more so than William Shakespeare) as so many of the phrases Tyndale coined are still in our language today.
Tyndale was a theologian and scholar who translated the Bible into an early form of Modern English. He was the first person to take advantage of Gutenberg’s movable-type press for the purpose of printing the scriptures in the English language. Besides translating the Bible, Tyndale also held and published views which were considered heretical, first by the Catholic Church, and later by the Church of England which was established by King Henry VIII. His Bible translation also included notes and commentary promoting these views. Tyndale’s translation was banned by the authorities, and Tyndale himself was burned at the stake in 1536, at the instigation of agents of Henry VIII and the Anglican Church.
An Illustrated Tyndale New Testament
A clergyman hopelessly entrenched in Roman Catholic dogma once taunted William Tyndale with the statement, “We are better to be without God’s laws than the Pope’s”. Tyndale was infuriated by such Roman Catholic heresies, and he replied, “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!”
Tyndale was the first person to print an English language New Testament, doing so in 1525-1526. Only one complete copy of this first edition is known to exist, and the British Museum paid $2 million for it in 1948! Tyndale’s illustrated New Testaments of the 1530’s were even more spectacularly beautiful, and they went through several editions and printings. One year after Tyndale’s execution in October of 1536, Tyndale’s friend John Rogers, operating under the assumed name “Thomas Matthew”, produced the 1537 “Matthew-Tyndale Bible”. This was the very first printing of a complete English language Bible to be translated directly from the original language of Greek and Hebrew. It was reprinted once again in a more practical size in 1549. Originals (both whole books and individual leaves) and facsimile reproductions of these works are available today.
26 Feb 2011 1 Comment
“Printing, lately invented in Mainz, is the art of arts, the science of sciences. Thanks to its rapid diffusion the world is endowed with a treasure house of wisdom and knowledge, till now hidden from view. An infinite number of works which very few students could have consulted in Paris, or Athens or in the libraries of other great university towns, are now translated into all languages and scattered abroad among all the nations of the world”. –Werner Rolewinck (1474)
The first printing press was established around 1450 in Mainz, Germany. Contemporaries saw the technology ushering in dramatic changes in the way knowledge was stored and exchanged (Rolewinck 1474).Read the entire article here.
(via) Abraham Piper
The impact of the printing press on the Reformation, the history of the Bible and the emergence of the Puritans by Gavin Finley
26 Feb 2011 6 Comments
Our journey of discovery to seek the roots of the Puritans begins at a time when the Holy Scriptures were coming to the common man in Europe. After a thousand years of medieval darkness the Word of God was returning. In Germany during the mid 1400’s Johannes Gutenberg had invented a printing press with movable type. This greatly increased the speed of printing books. These were difficult and dark days for Europe. The second Jihad had begun and the Turks were attacking Christendom in the east. High taxes, famine, and peasant uprisings brought their misery. But in this same time frame there was something wonderful happening as well. The Bible was being translated and distributed in large numbers. And with that the lights were going on all over Europe.
With the Bible being translated in the European languages good copies of the Holy Scriptures were soon beginning to come off the presses in Germany. Not only that, they were being printed rapidly in significant numbers and at prices people could afford. This was one of the keys to the dramatic changes seen back in the 1500’s. It has been said that Gutenberg’s printing press made the Reformation possible.
Along with the courageous stand by Martin Luther it was the Bible translators at their wonderful work who lit the candles and brought the Light of God’s Word into the medieval darkness. The translators unlocked the Bible from the Latin, the dead language of ancient Rome. The new printing presses, marvels of German engineering at the time, were sitting there waiting for the Bible translators to bring in their manuscripts. And so out came the Bibles into the hands of the European people. The illumination of the Word of God changed the hearts and minds and the motivations of the people who heard. This was a marvellous turn of events. The impact of the Bible on Western Civilization along with the good and the evil historical responses to its coming cannot be overestimated.
John Wycliffe, the ‘morning star of the Reformation’ had begun this work with a translation of the Bible into English in the 1300’s. In the 1500’s Martin Luther translated the scriptures into the German language. Luther himself was transformed in the process. The scriptures opened his eyes to what was going on around him. He was appalled to see the obvious disparities between what he saw in the Bible and what was being practiced by the Church of Rome. The selling of indulgences by the church, supposedly securing the release of loved ones from Purgatory, was the last straw for Luther. Protesting this outrage, and numerous other grievances he nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg Cathedral. This sparked off a religious conflagration with the Roman Church in Germany. With Duke Ferdinand of Saxony and other German princes coming to his aid Luther avoided being taken into custody by the Roman church where he most certainly would have been burned as a heretic. Indeed, during the previous century in 1415 this had happened to a faithful priest in Bohemia, John Hus. Luther’s stand at the German city of Worms was historic. It was a defining moment for the church. And it led western Christendom into the Reformation.
Also in the 1500’s Englishmen Miles Coverdale and William Tyndale were translating the Bible into English. Tyndale was in exile in Europe. He lived a life of constant danger, translating the scriptures and living as a wanted man. His evangelical friends from Cambridge, John Frith and William Tewksbury, were both captured and burned at the stake. For years Tyndale was hunted down by agents of Henry VIII and the Bishop of London. Since Gutenburg’s printing presses were now proliferating in a big way it was Germany that was at that time the place to go for good printing work to be done. The coming of the scriptures to the common man had an enormous impact on European and English history. The Reformation led to the evangelical movement. Unfortunately its politicization led to a great tragedy. The awful 30 Years War wrecked Germany. It was left in such a ruined state that it would not recover for 200 years.
The 1500’s were years of great change. The peasants revolted throughout central Europe during a conflict that would come to known as the Peasant Wars. During this period of internal strife the Turks took advantage of the situation. They attacked European Christendom from the east. The Muslim forces advanced to the point where for a while they were actually closing in on Vienna. It was an awful time to be alive in Europe. It was a time of unprecedented religious, political and social upheaval.
Out of all this turmoil came the Anabaptists. These were the ultimate Christian radicals. The war in central Europe had gone on for a whole generation. Successive Catholic and Protestant armies had pillaged the countryside taking the lives of young and old. Germany and the Swiss valleys were left in in a shambles. Many were now migrating out of central Europe to take refuge in Holland which was to take a dominant role in European history in the following century. During the 1600’s Dutch sea power and peaceful trade had made this a place of refuge for many evangelicals. During the Reformation wars in central Europe many had seen enough of Christian savagery and barbarism to last several lifetimes. For many separatist evangelical Christians it got to the point where they didn’t care which army won. From the scriptures they had come to believe that Christianity was a matter of personal faith, not national or church sponsored citizenship. Nor was it about which church or cathedral you belonged to. It was all about a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ and a personal faith walked out with Him daily. Accordingly, while they paid their taxes to the governing powers the Anabaptists resolved to take no oaths of allegiance with the political or ecclesiastical princes, whoever they might be. Nor would they take up arms with or against any army coming into their valleys, whether they were Protestant or Catholic. These are the main articles of the “Schleitheim Confession”. This document was penned by one of the leading lights of the Anabaptist movement, Michael Sattler at the gathering at Schleitheim, in the mountains of Switzerland in February of 1527.
For their stand in the peace of Jesus Christ they were bitterly persecuted from both sides. Millions of Anabaptists died at the hands of Catholic and Protestant powers alike. They continued to die for over 200 years. This story has not been told. It has been cut out of the history books. From these determined Christian separatists came the peace loving Amish and Mennonites along with the Brethren and some primitive Baptists of the free church tradition. They remember this history. We don’t.
Let us make no mistake about this. These saints who had rejected the sword were still full of Christian zeal. But they had given up on a church that had corrupted itself by going to bed with the state. They would prefer to go to their secret Christian meetings, even if they were under the constant threat of being arrested. If an Anabaptist met another on the pathway they would challenge him with the scripture,
“You cannot serve two masters”.
If the other man was an Anabaptist he would smile and reply,
“You cannot serve God and mammon”.
The pathway they were now going on was a ‘highway of holiness’. ~ Isa.35:8-10. The Anabaptists resolved to keep their little church pure in devotion to Christ. They were weary of seeing the hideous mixture of the cross and the sword played out before their eyes year after weary year. The sword had been stained with Christian blood. To their mind it had become a despised and shameful thing. It no longer had the sacred power of chivalry it once held over them. They had seen its dark side. It had come to the point where they were going to turn their back on politics and make the peaceful preaching of the Gospel their prime concern come what may. At this time the first missionary outreaches were organized. The Mennonites, the Baptists, the Brethren and many other Christian groups began to send out missionaries beyond European shores. A new era in Christian missions had begun.
THE EMERGENCE OF THE ENGLISH PURITANS IN THE 1500’s.
This is where we pick up our story of the Puritans. The coming of the English Bible was giving rise to desires for full Reformation of the Church of England. There was even talk of ‘purifying’ the Church of England. It was during the latter part of the 1500’s that men like Thomas Cartwright began to argue for a purified English Christianity. They wanted to see a Church of England free of the medieval trappings and vestments of the Roman Church from which it had come. These reformist evangelicals came to be called ‘Puritans’.
These were dangerous times to express such views. During the reign of “Bloody Mary”, and throughout the 1500’s many separatist evangelicals were burned at the stake. But these persecutions, as usual, only spread the fires of devotion both inside the Church of England and outside the national church in the secret house meetings of the persecuted ‘Non-Comformists’.
In 1603 Protestant King James I came to the throne. By this time the Puritans were poised to move their agenda forward. These were turbulent times. Political extremists were abroad along with religious separatists. To the King and his bishops these people were all the same. As they saw it all these unregulated people were equally dangerous. Whether they be political dissidents or religious dissidents they all disturbed the peace with their tiresome petitions for reform. They interrupted the quiet life of the people which the leaders had worked so hard to maintain. In 1605, a Catholic zealot named Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament. He and his anarchist friends wanted to kill the king and as many Puritan parliamentarians as possible. The plot was discovered and Guy Fawkes was executed.
1611 was a banner year for evangelicals in England. The King James Bible went out to the people. With the more ready access to the scriptures the Puritans continued to gain in numbers. King James was forced to put more restrictions on these movers and shakers. This in turn caused them to to push even harder for reform in the Church of England.
Evangelicals in England during those times had two choices. They could separate from the Church of England and became Non-Conformists or Pilgrim style Separatists. Or they could join the Puritans and stay in the system hoping to reform it from within. Both streams of evangelical Christianity were persecuted but the separatists had it far worse. King James had commissioned the printing of the Holy Scriptures which sets men free. But under his reign religious freedom was still not realized. Englishmen were still forbidden to worship outside the Church of England. Many Bible believing Christians, under persecution by the king’s bishops, were forced to flee the country. A Puritan community from the town of Scrooby left for Holland in 1608.
During this time the expanding Dutch sea trade to India had made Holland extremely wealthy. The infusion of new and vital people from the Reformation Wars in central Europe had enriched Holland in many ways. It was the place to be for people like godless rationalists and Godly evangelicals, both groups considering themselves enlightened. In the 1600’s Holland was the trade center of Europe. It was also the place where new ideas, the Renaissance arts, (which had originated in Italy), and ideas could be expressed in peace without church or governmental interference. This was good for evangelical Christians. It was also good for humanists, rationalists and freethinkers like Erasmus. Dutch trade and sea power had made the Netherlands the dominant power in Europe during that time. Here people of faith could gather and worship without fear of persecution. Here too they could educate their children into a biblical world view with their own Christian schools. But for the Pilgrims and Puritans from Scrooby, (and others), Holland was a temporary haven. But it was not their destiny. The Puritan fellowship from Scrooby would only stay there in Holland 12 years. Then they would set forth towards the next stop on their epic journey. The Pilgrims and Puritans were bound for the New World. During the fall of 1620 they set sail aboard the Mayflower.
Meanwhile, back in England, the Puritans fumed and fretted and chafed under the constraints under which their new biblical faith was forced to operate. The difficult Pilgrim path of living as “non conformists” and walking a separated life to Christ was open to them of course. But the Puritans were committed to the continuation of a church-state union. So they remained within the Church of England trying to move the huge medieval colossus with all its “Romish” trappings forward inch by inch into biblical Christianity. Being people who believed in ‘the system’ the Puritans were determined to change the national church from within. But they were having a very very frustrating time. Since they were forbidden to worship outside the Church of England they were stuck. The church that they believed in just didn’t seem to be going anywhere.
The Church of England did provide wonderful opportunity for English Christians since it cut them off from Roman Catholicism. But its birth was not a spiritual birth so much as a political one. Henry VIII had broken the English church free of its moorings with the Church of Rome. Now the scriptures were shining a lamp onto the pathway ahead. Many Englishmen were coming into a personal faith in Christ. The Puritans were keen to move on out of the medieval darkness. Yet the bishops, under the kings thumb, were holding back the very church reforms that these new Bible reading Christians considered necessary.
All this was making things very difficult for the emerging Puritans. They did not want to take the road of ‘separation of church and state’ as the Pilgrim separatists were doing. They were not going to worship secretly. Nor did they want to gather in little fellowships. They were Englishmen! And they would worship God as Englishmen. If the system was not with them then their future course was clear. They would change the system! If the king wanted them in a single national church that was fine. But by God’s help they were bound and determined to move the Church of England forward into an enlightened Biblical Christianity.
The proliferation of Bibles in the 1500’s made these times of great religious discovery. The Puritan corporate conscience began to burn within them. They prayed and they agonized a s they sought to bring political and social substance to their dreams of a ‘nation under God’. They knew what could and should be done. And by God’s help they were going to make it happen!
In the early 1600’s this Puritan zeal was building up enormous political pressure within English society. The history that followed was quite predictable.
25 Feb 2011 1 Comment
For reasons not clear to me, Protestant Christians, whom I spend the most time with, seem to have some very funky notions about prayer, that are not well grounded in the Bible, or for that matter the early Jewish practice of prayer. And some of them are based in a very bad exegesis of what Luke 18 says and implies about prayer. Luke Johnson in his fine commentary on Luke (p. 274) has this to say about the matter:
“The parable itself makes clear that ‘always’ does not support any technique of ‘perpetual prayer’ or method of mysticism but rather consistency and perseverance in praying. Luke-Acts emphasizes not only the prayer of Jesus but also that of the disciples (6.28;11.12; 22.40,46;Acts 1.4;2.42;3.1; 6.4,6;10.4,9,30-31;12.5,12;16.13,16,25; 20.36; 21.5; 22.17;28.8).”
He helpfully goes on to add,
“The love of God can so easily turn into an idolatrous self-love; the gift can so quickly be seized as a possession; what comes from another can so blithely be turned into self-accomplishment. Prayer can be transformed into boasting. Piety is not an unambiguous posture.… The pious one [i.e. the Pharisee in Luke 18.1ff.] is all convoluted comparison and contrast; he can receive no gift because he cannot stop counting his possessions. His prayer is one of peripheral vision. Worse, he assumes God’s role of judge: not only does he enumerate his own claims to being just, but he reminds God of the deficiency of the tax-agent, in case God had not noticed. In contrast, the tax-agent is utter simplicity and truth. Indeed, he is a sinner. Indeed, he requires God’s gift of righteousness because he has none of his own. And because he both needs and recognizes his need for the gift he receives it….For Luke, prayer is faith in action. Prayer is not an optional exercise in piety, carried out to demonstrate one’s relationship with God. The way one prays therefore reveals that relationship…if prayer is self-assertion before God, then it cannot be answered by God’s gift of righteousness; possession and gift cancel each other out. “
No wonder God so often answers our prayers with an emphatic NO! Prayer as a means of self-exaltation, self-indulgence, self-agrandizement, self-congratulation, self-promotion, or prayer used as a sort of ouija board to get what we want out of a reluctant God are all very bad, and very unBiblical models of praying. Thankfully, Jesus came to teach us a new model— the Lord’s Prayer, which should really be called the Disciple’s prayer, though interestingly Jesus seems to pray a form of this prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. What is noteworthy about the Lord’s prayer is that it is a collective prayer, a prayer for the people to use together— ‘give us this day’ it says, ‘forgive us’ it says. We should not be praying for things for ourselves that we would not want to share with the body of Christ. And notice that this Lord’s prayer encourages us only to pray about the basics—- praising God (hallowed be thy name), asking that God’s saving reign and God’s will be done on earth as in heaven (not his in heaven, and our wills on earth), asking for daily bread (not, notice, lavish banquets), asking for forgiveness of sins and debts (an increasingly necessary prayer in our debtor nation), recognizing that in some mysterious way, our receiving of foregiveness is affected by our willingness to forgive and actually forgiving those who have wronged us, and we pray not to be put to the test, but to be delivered from the Evil One. This is Praying 101 for Jesus’ disciples, and it does not sound like the old Janis Joplin song— “Oh Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz, my friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends…..”
If we turn to the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector there is yet more to ponder from this same chapter.
The example of the pious Pharisee in this parable, who is no hypocrite, reminds us that prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, while all excellent religious practices commended by God and the Bible, in themselves don’t make a person more ‘spiritual’ or ‘holy’. Indeed, these practices may simply make you more focused on your own needs, more hungry, and poorer! Much depends on the heart that uses these spiritual disciplines, and in the case of the Pharisee we are right to see a note of pride and self-centeredness in his prayer. The word ‘I’ keeps coming up in that prayer, and he improves his sense of self-worth by putting others down. It is then not the spiritual discipline itself that makes a person more holy. It is the humbling one’s self in the sight of the Lord, being completely honest about one’s sins, and pouring out one’s heart with open hands to receive what God will give, that makes the difference in this story. Notice that the tax collector has no previous ‘good deeds’ or spiritual practices to appeal to, to make his case with God. It is God alone who justifies and sanctifies the man, not the spiritual practices, though God may use such practices to that end.
We are always looking for a short-cut, a how too self-help manual to improve our lives, but this parable warns about how one’s piety and spiritual practices can actually get in the way of your receiving what God would give, because one is in danger of thinking that the regular exercise of such practices entitles one to something, entitles one to make a claim on God, and so they become a means to a self-seeking end, rather than a means of growing in one’s relationship and dependency on God and his grace.
Think on these things.