(Continued from page 269)
Who have conflicting beliefs and no unity of doctrine - 'Protestants' or Roman Catholics?
You write: 'If they were true Christians, then they would not have had conflicting beliefs, but would have had unity of doctrine'
TCE: This, again, is an astonishing admission of your ignorance, for these groups had doctrines closely in common - in contrast to the myriad of Papal heresies, such as the following:
Hippolytus (third century writer) recorded that 'Pope' Callistus (221-227 A.D.) was Unitarian. 'Pope' Liberius (358 A.D.) embraced Arianism and anathematised the great Trinitarian defender, Athanasius, 'Pope' Zozimus (417-418 A.D.) embraced the Pelagian heresy, and 'Pope' Honorius (625-638 A.D.) specifically taught the Monothelite heresy (that Christ had only one will & therefore denied either His deity or His humanity) - and he was subsequently anathematised & condemned by Popes and their councils for 800 years!
Papal Rome has always been an enemy of orthodoxy and the mother of heresies!
Again, your vitriol reveals the sad delusion of your worship of pagan Papal Rome when you claim: 'The only speck of unity they had was the same speck of unity that Protestants have today - hatred of the True Church.' Again your blindness to truth is clearly revealed, for we have amply demonstrated which organisation has really shown hatred towards all other groups who expressed their claim to be Christian while rejecting Rome! Protestants as a whole have merely revealed the evil nature of Papal Rome - as admonished by Scripture (Ephesians 5:11: Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them) - and your interpretation of this as hatred only emphasises your love of evil.
Catholics were just about the only Christians around until the Reformation - did Rome kill millions?
You write: 'Another way Fundamentalists try to revise History, and something that you said, is that the Catholic Church murdered millions of Christians. If that is true, then Catholics would have had to have killed millions of their own, because Catholics were just about the only Christians around until the Reformation.'
TCE: Unfortunately, whether those killed by Papal Rome in centuries past were Papal Roman Catholics or true believers is impossible to tell, since the Inquisitions were so indiscriminate, but it is certainly true that Papal Rome massacred millions and continues to kill true Christians to this day!
Here is another test of simple facts and logic: if Rome only controlled the areas they dominated from 400 A.D. until ~1850 A.D. - when the 'popes' began to realise they were losing their power - then they only had to kill 1,000 dissenters who would not bow the knee to them, per year:
i.e. (1850 - 400) = 1,450 years x 1,000 dissenters = 1,450,000 people
Since we have proven that they were capable of killing anyone opposing even one of their doctrines to those they considered 'witches' this is doubtlessly a conservative estimate and could be increased by a factor of 2, or 3, i.e. 2,900,000 - 4,350,000 people
Even as we write (July 2003!) Paul John II has made one of his infamous cover-up 'apologies' in which he attempted to condemn others for one of the cruellest episodes in history - the massacre of Eastern Orthodox Serbs by Roman Catholic Croats in Yugoslavia during the Second World War, in an effort to make the province of Croatia solidly Roman Catholic. These hideous massacres surpassed even those of the Duke of Alva in the Netherlands and those of St. Bartholomew's day in France. These crimes have mainly been ignored or hushed up by the news services, although similar massacres of Jews in Germany were given the widest publicity, and demonstrate again how subtly and efficiently the Papacy exerts its influence over supposed 'free speech.' French author, Edmond Paris, who was born a Roman Catholic, revealed the account in his fully documented books, The Vatican Against Europe (1959, translated, 1961) and Genocide in Satellite Croatia (1959, translated, 1960). Another French author, Herve Lauriere, also a Roman Catholic by birth, has recorded the same events in his Assassins in the Name of God. Both Paris and Lauriere put the responsibility squarely on the Church of Papal Rome.
Terrorist Ustashi (Papal Roman Catholics) Croat bands, led by Ante Pavelich (who was found guilty of the assassination of king Alexander I of Yugoslavia in France in 1934 in both French and Yugoslav courts) who had escaped to Italy where Roman Catholic dictator Mussolini gave him protection and refused to surrender him to the Yugoslav government, joined the Nazis when they invaded Yugoslavia in 1941. As a reward, Hitler (who was happy in his Papal Roman Catholic Church 'faith') made Pavelich the puppet head of the new 'Independent State of Croatia.' His minister of religion was Andrija Artukovic, another Roman Catholic. They began a war of suppression or extermination of all Serbs and Jews. Nearly 70,000 of the 80,000 Jews in the new state were killed or forced to flee, their property being confiscated. Official records and photographs show that Pavelich and archbishop Stepinac were closely associated in governmental, social, and ecclesiastical affairs. Stepinac was appointed supreme military apostolic vicar of the Ustashi army led by Pavelich. He was, therefore, in a position to know of the atrocities that were constantly taking place. In May, 1941, after innumerable massacres had been committed, Pavelich went to Papal Rome and was received by pope Pius XII, and on the same occasion signed a treaty with Mussolini. In June of that year more than 100,000 Orthodox Serbian men, women, and children were killed by the Ustashi. In all some 250 Orthodox churches were destroyed or turned over to Roman Catholic parishes and convents. Documents requesting and authorizing such transfers were found in the state prosecutor's office at Zagreb and Sarajevo, bearing the signature of archbishop Stepinac. In February 1942, a Te Deum was sung in Stepinac's church in Zagreb, which was then capital of Croatia, with special honours paid to Pavelich. In a pastoral letter Stepinac declared that, in spite of complexities, what they were seeing in Croatia was 'the Lord's work,' and called on his priests to support Pavelich. Stepinac twice visited pope Pius XII, in Papal Rome, in 1942. He reported that 244,000 Serbs had accepted (forced) conversion to Papal Roman Catholicism. So the pope, too, knew full well what was going on in Serbia and Croatia. Edmond Paris places the total number of men, women and children killed by the Ustashi during the four years of the occupation at more than 500,000 (The Vatican Against Europe, p. 224). When it became necessary for the Nazis to retreat from Yugoslavia, Pavelich, Artukovic, and almost all of the Roman priests went with them. After the war ended Yugoslav courts sentenced Stepinac to sixteen years imprisonment for his Nazi-Fascist collaboration. After serving five years he was released, but was kept under house arrest. The pope, however, rewarded his services by naming him a cardinal. Until his death in 1960, he was celebrated in Roman Catholic circles, particularly in the United States, as a 'martyr,' even to the extent that New York cardinal Spellman named a parochial high school after him.
Pavelich again fled to Italy, where for some time he lived in disguise as a monk in a monastery, and later escaped to Argentina. Artukovic also avoided capture, and eventually entered the United States under a false name using a forged certificate of identity from Southern Ireland, and settled in California. Both Pavelich and Artukovic successfully resisted all efforts of the Yugoslav government to extradite them as war criminals. Pavelich eventually returned to Spain, where he died in 1960. Los Angeles newspapers reported that through two court trials the principal support for Artukovic to prevent his extradition came from the Roman Catholic Church, of which he had been a lifelong member. So reads another chapter of Papal Roman Catholic Church intrigue as vile as any played out during the Middle Ages. Let it also be noted that both Hitler and Mussolini were Roman Catholics, but that despite their crimes against humanity neither was ever ex-communicated, nor even severely censured, by the Roman Church.
Were other heresies around before the Reformation?
You write: 'Excepting the Arian heresy, heretics who claimed to be Christians existed in minute numbers until then.'
TCE: While it is true that there may have been only a small number of true believer - thanks to the persecutors of Papal Rome - you prove that you have made no attempt to investigate the facts, for heresies have always been around (as Paul and Peter warned: Acts 20:28 and 2 Peter 2:1: 'But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves') and there were many more than just the errors of Arius, e.g. Ebonism, Nestorianism, Socinianism, Monarchianism, Patripassianism, Sabellianism, Adoptionism, Eutychianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, Docetism, Marcionism, Gnosticism etc.
The Papal Doctrine of 'The Two Swords'
The 'first' Protestants persecuted Roman Catholics?
You write: 'Of the few true instances where heretics were killed, the sentence was carried out by the state, and not by the Church. Heresy was considered treason by civil authorities, because it caused tremendous upheaval in a society that was based entirely on Christian teachings, and the punishment for treason was death.'
TCE: This is simply not true to fact! The Roman Church has never acknowledged that the use of force to compel obedience is wrong in principle, although she has been compelled to abandon the practice in Protestant countries since disgraceful persecutions, such as the Inquisition, are no longer tolerated. Even in those countries that have remained under her control an enlightened public opinion indirectly influenced by Protestantism has been sufficient to bring about a considerable degree of restraint although, in Romanist countries, the Papal Roman Catholic Church clergy continue to be the instigators and leaders of riots against others they still class as 'heretical sects.' We had the recent instruction in South America when Paul John II instructed his followers to 'resist Protestants in the street' - which led to the burning of Protestant houses and churches! But these statements are not new in his reign:
'In a scorching blast at evangelical Protestant 'sects,' Pope John Paul II accused them yesterday of seducing with 'false mirages' and misleading with 'distorted simplifications.' (THE BOSTON GLOBE, 10/14/91.)
'Alas, Pope John Paul II has disserved himself by speaking ill-chosen words about evangelical Christian denominations. Addressing the Fourth Latin American Conference of Bishops in Santo Domingo, the pontiff portrayed these Protestants as 'voracious wolves' menacing his Catholic flock.' (MIAMI HERALD, 10/16/92)
Thank God that evangelicals have made great inroads among Latin Catholics. But, regardless of attempts by Roman Catholics to deny that they have been taught that Protestants are to be hated or persecuted, the fact is that 'Protestant sects' are charged with heresy wherever the Papal Roman Church holds sway and heresy, by Roman Canon Law, is punishable by death if need be. It is a demonstrable fact that Protestant ministers behind the Iron Curtain, in such countries as Poland, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany, had more freedom to hold church services and to distribute Christian literature than they had in Spain! Only Islam and the mis-named Orthodox Russian Church can compare their efforts to victimize others in modern day persecution. The consecration of every Roman Catholic bishop calls for this oath of allegiance to the pope:
'With all my power I will persecute and make war upon all heretics, schismatics and those who rebel against our lord (the pope) and all his successors . . . So help me God and these the holy gospels of God' (Pontificale Romanum Summorum Pontificum. Belgium. Mechlin, p. 133. - cited by Emmett McLoughlin, in American Culture and Catholic Schools, p. 125).
Thomas Aquinas, prominent in the Dominican Order and the most authoritative philosopher and theologian of the Roman Church even to the present day, held that the church had the right to hunt out and kill heretics as a means of maintaining its purity and wrote:
'Though heretics must not be tolerated because they deserve it, we must bear with them, till, by a second admonition, they may be brought back to the faith of the church. But those who, after a second admonition, remain obstinate in their errors, must not only be excommunicated, but they must be delivered to the secular power to be exterminated' (Summa Theologica, Vol. IV, p. 90).
'So far as heretics are concerned, heresy is a sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death' (Vol. II, p. 154).
'If counterfeiters of money or other criminals are justly delivered over to death forthwith by the secular authorities, much more can heretics, after they are convicted of heresy, be not only forthwith excommunicated, but as surely put to death' (Vol. II, Q. 2, Art. 3).
Another quote from Dr. Marianus de Luca, S. J., Professor of Canon Law at the Georgian University in Rome in 1901, and with a personal commendation from pope Leo XIII:
'The Catholic Church has the right and duty to kill heretics because it is by fire and sword that heresy can be extirpated. Mass excommunication is derided by heretics. If they are imprisoned or exiled they corrupt others. The only recourse is to put them to death. Repentance cannot be allowed to save them, just as repentance is not allowed to save civil criminals; for the highest good of the church is the duty of the faith, and this cannot be preserved unless heretics are put to death.' (Institution of Public Ecclesiastical Law)
The official newspaper of the large Roman Catholic diocese of Brooklyn, New York, The Tablet, in its issue of November 5, 1938, declared:
'Heresy is an awful crime . . . and those who start a heresy are more guilty than they who are traitors to the civil government. If the State has the right to punish treason with death, the principle is the same which concedes to the spiritual authority the power of capital punishment over the arch-traitor to truth and Divine revelation. ... A perfect society has the right to its existence . . . and the power of capital punishment is acknowledged for a perfect society. Now . . . the Roman Catholic Church is a perfect society, and as such has the right and power to take means to safeguard its existence.'
In the following words by a present day American Roman Catholic theologian, Francis J. Connell, with Imprimatur by Cardinal Spellman, even the right of existence is denied to other churches:
'The Catholic Church is the only organization authorized by God to teach religious truth and to conduct public religious worship. Consequently, they (Roman Catholics) hold that any creed which differs from that of the Catholic Church is erroneous, and that any religious organization which is separated from the Catholic Church lacks the approval and the authorization of God. The very existence of any other church is opposed to the command of Christ, that all men should join His one church. From this it follows that, as far as God's law is concerned, no one has a real right to accept any religion save the Catholic Church' (Pamphlet, Freedom of Worship, the Catholic Position).
These are representative samples of the 'tolerance' that can be expected when the Roman Church has things its own way. Add to these the more than one hundred anathemas - 'Let him be anathema,' which means, 'Let him be accursed' - pronounced by the Council of Trent, the most authoritative of Roman Catholic councils, upon all who dare to differ with its pronouncements. Such violent, intemperate language in a creed which purports to set forth the basic principles of the Christian system reveals clearly the un-Christian nature of the men who pretend to belong to the 'One True Church'! How do these statements line up alongside the noble sentiments expressed in the American Declaration of Independence:
'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.'
It is embarrassing to read a Roman Catholic mocking democracy and promoting this evil 'theocracy' that is the papacy. Even the most turgid humanistic democracy would struggle to compete with the filth of the Papal Roman Catholic Church.
How has the Papal Roman Catholic Church tried to avoid responsibility for her crimes against humanity? Pope Boniface VIII, in 1302, issued the Unam Sanctam, a document in which he claimed to be the representative of God on earth, and concurrently claimed authority over every nation and government on earth. This decree, which sets forth the doctrine of 'the two swords,' reads as follows:
'In her (the Church) and within her power there are two swords, we are taught in the Gospels, namely, the spiritual sword and the temporal sword . . . the latter to be used for the Church, the former by the Church; the former by the hand of the priest, the latter by the hand of the princes and kings, but at the nod and sufferance of the priest. The one sword must of necessity be subject to the other, the temporal authority to the spiritual. ... For truth being the witness, the spiritual power has the function of establishing the temporal power and sifting in judgment on it if it should not prove good... but if the supreme power (the papacy) deviate, it cannot be judged by man but only by God alone.'
This power of control over the 'two swords' is assumed to be inherent in the Papal office and superior to all other such powers. Men are to be compelled to submit to the Roman pontiff by the sword of the state, as wielded by kings and soldiers, but at the direction of the priesthood. This is, in fact, the traditional position of the Roman Church, that the actual persecution or execution of those judged by the church to be heretical should be done, not by the church, but by the state at the direction of the church. By such subterfuge the church seeks to escape responsibility for her crimes. The doctrine of 'the two swords' was the basis for the persecution and massacre of thousands of the Waldensians in Italy and France, one of the worst massacres having taken place in France, in 1545, when twenty-one of their towns were burned and the inhabitants plundered, tortured, and murdered in circumstances of the utmost cruelty. Two years later the dying monarch, Francis I, remembering with bitter remorse his ultimatum to the Waldensians that they embrace Papal Roman Catholicism or be destroyed, pleaded with his son that the men who persuaded him to that course and led the massacre be given their just deserts.
Perhaps the most notorious of all massacres was that which was carried out against the Protestants of France, beginning on St. Bartholomew's Day, August 24, 1572, and continuing throughout France for five or six weeks. Some 10,000 'Huguenots,' as the French Protestants were called, were killed in Paris alone, and estimates of the number killed throughout the country run from 40,000 to 60,000. The Standard International Encyclopedia places the number at 50,000. Hundreds of thousands more fled from France to other countries. Many of their descendants eventually made their way to the United States.
When the news of the massacre reached Papal Rome church bells were rung and there was wild rejoicing in the streets. Not long before that time Germany had become Protestant, as had also parts of Switzerland; and the new movement had made such progress in France that nearly a fourth of the population was Protestant and there was a real possibility that if it remained unchecked the whole country might become Protestant. So pleased was the pope, Gregory XIII, to be rid of the Protestants in France that he ordered Te Deums (hymns of praise and thanksgiving) sung in the churches of Papal Rome, and had a medal struck with his own profile on one side and the destroying angel on the other. He also sent cardinal Ursini to convey his felicitations to the queen mother of France, Catherine de Medici, who at the promptings of the Jesuits had organized the plot. Primarily through that massacre France was preserved a Roman Catholic country, and has remained such, nominally at least, to the present day.
The Inquisition was created by the Roman Catholic Church to search out, examine, and punish heretics. Its worst excesses took place in Spain, under the inquisitor Torquemada, whose appointment was made by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1483 and confirmed by pope Alexander VI. The Jews too were driven out of Spain by Torquemada. As Columbus set sail from Palos in 1492 for his explorations in the new world he saw other ships in the harbour taking the Jews into exile.
An earlier Spanish king, Ferdinand III of Castile (died, 1252), had so pleased the Roman Church by his vigorous actions against dissenters that he was made a saint in 1671 and the church inserted in the Breviary (book of daily readings and prayers for the priests) these words in praise of him:
'He permitted no heretics to dwell in his kingdom, and with his own hands brought wood to the stake for their burning' (The Stability and Progress of Dogma, by cardinal Lepicier, p. 202; 1910).
The Inquisition also carried on its work with great effectiveness in Italy, where thousands of Protestants were put to death simply because they would not give up their faith and become Roman Catholics. Today Spain, Italy, Portugal, and to some extent France, Quebec, and Latin America, remain the devout children of the Inquisition. That, at any rate, was the method by which whole nations were made, or kept, Roman Catholic. Indeed, when we see the medieval attitude of the hierarchy still manifesting itself in the present day persecutions in some of those countries we are forced to conclude that the Roman Catholic Church is either the most decadent of all anachronisms, or the most dangerous of all survivals from a past that we wish were dead and buried.
The Inquisition was Papal Rome's masterpiece for the control of people and nations, and the tribunal of the Inquisition has never been abolished. Today in Papal Rome it is known as the Congregation of the Holy Office. It is composed of cardinals and prelates, with the pope himself as its head, and its principal work is that of maintaining the doctrines of the Roman Church against errors and heresies. The excesses of the Inquisition are no longer practiced, but the principles which made those excesses possible still are in effect. The late bishop Segura, of Seville, Spain, who was prominent in the persecutions in that country in his reign, said shortly before he died: 'I regret I was not born in the days of the Holy Inquisition.' Another authoritative voice in Romanism was Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order who is still held in high honour by the Jesuits who continue to be the real masters in the Roman Church and wrote:
'It would be greatly advantageous, too, not to permit anyone infected with heresy to continue in the government, particularly the supreme government, of any province or town, or in any judicial or honorary position. Finally, if it could be set forth and made manifest to all, that the moment a man is convicted or held in grave suspicion of heresy he must not be favoured with honours or wealth but put down from these benefits. And if a few examples could be made, punishing a few with the penalty of their lives, or with the loss of property and exile, so there of could be no mistake about the seriousness of the business of religion, this remedy would be so much more effective....
'It would be advisable that whatever heretical books might be found, on diligent search, in the possession of dealers or individuals, should be burned or removed from all the provinces of the kingdom. The same may be said of books written by heretics, even when not heretical themselves, such as those which treat of grammar or rhetoric or dialectic, which it seems, ought to be cast aside utterly out of hatred toward the heresy of their authors....
'Of all rectors and public professors in universities and academies, and likewise rectors of private schools and schoolteachers as well, and even tutors, it should be required that long before being accepted in their posts they should all be found true Catholics, through examination or secret information, and should be recommended by the testimony of Catholics: and they should swear that they are and will always remain Catholics; and if any such men should be convicted of heresy, they should be severely punished if only on the grounds of perjury' (Obras Completas de San Ignacio de Loyola, edicion Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos. Translated by Dwight Cristoanos; Madrid; 1952; p. 880).
We need not ask ourselves what the Roman Catholic Church would do in the United States if it came into power. All we need do is to look at what it has done where it has been in power. Even children in parochial schools were taught that the Roman Church has the right to suppress other churches and that it has the right to punish with death anyone who is a traitor to it. And history teaches that when people have the power they usually do what they have a right to do. Before the Reformation the Roman Church was able to quench all opposition in blood and violence. But since that time it has lived under the eyes of an alert and fiercely critical body of writers who have been free to express their opinions without fear of reprisal. But the doctrines concerning the temporal power of the pope, and the right of the Roman Church to use physical force to attain spiritual ends, have never been renounced by any pope or church council. Nor has that church ever repented of or apologized for the crimes that she has committed. An infallible church simply cannot repent.
How ironic that, in our day, Paul John II is himself accused of heresy by other Papal Roman Catholics (e.g. at ) because of his ecumenism and its resultant re-writing (again!) of the Papal Roman Catholic Church faith. Here is a brief summary of part of their accusations under the heading 'The Apostasy of John Paul II':
'Notice that I have not chosen the word heresy, but rather apostasy. John Paul's errors truly constitute an apostasy, and not merely a heresy.
Heresy is to doubt or deny a particular truth of the faith, or perhaps some truths of the faith, e.g., the divinity of Christ, the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, the virgin birth, etc. You are probably familiar with some of the well-known heretics of history: Arius, Luther, Calvin.
Apostasy, on the other hand, is to completely reject the Christian faith. For example, the emperor in the fourth century, Julian, utterly repudiated the faith and became an apostate, embracing the cult of the Roman gods of old. He is known as Julian the Apostate. So why do I use this strong word with John Paul II, who professes to be a Catholic, and who even from time to time says edifying and pious things?
It is because he does not adhere to any of the articles of faith which he professes to believe. He does not adhere to them because for him these sacred truths do not exclude what is opposed to them. What contradicts these truths are not, for him, false.
Why does he not hold them to be false? Because first and above all, John Paul II is an ecumenist, and not a Catholic. An ecumenist is someone who believes that all religions contain a certain measure of the truth, some more, some less, and that they all therefore have a certain value. All religions, for the ecumenist, are true religions. Some are merely better than others.
The most that they give to the Catholic Church is that it has the 'fullness of truth,' whereas the others have only 'partial truth.' But when they talk about the Catholic Church, are they speaking about the Catholic Church which you and I know? No, they are referring to this reformed Catholicism, this new religion of Vatican II, an ugly fake of the true faith.'
You write: 'In my own experience, Fundamentalists never acknowledge what their spiritual ancestors, the first Protestants, did to Catholics when they first came to power in Europe. Catholic Church property was stolen, and Catholics were forbidden to practice their faith. Those who tried to were hunted down like animals, and if caught, endured terrible tortures before they were killed.'
TCE: First of all we re-iterate the falseness of your definitions as you continue to deliberately employ your ignorance of true Christianity with 'Fundamentalism' and 'Protestantism.' It is very clear from history that some Protestant groups followed the pagan Roman church's lead, for they had learnt from her example, and retaliated as they had been trained to do. While we are slightly bemused that the follower of a cult that mercilessly persecuted and killed all others for centuries should suddenly cry 'unfair' when the boot appeared on the other foot, do not expect, for one moment, that we would try and deny that these partially-Reformed people who had suffered under the yoke of Rome for centuries were going to be suddenly transformed 'to a man' and deal with their enemies mercifully and lovingly, as Scripture exhorts (@). In almost every place where the Reformation had success there was some form of civil disobedience or armed rebellion:
Netherlands: Catholic Spain had isolated the non-Catholic population both politically and geographically. Thus the Protestants were concentrated in what is now Holland which had become the last holdout against the Spanish power. The leaders of the revolt established Protestantism as the dominant religious form of the country. The turning point was the battle for Leyden in 1574 and the Dutch Protestants fought ferociously. When they finally won, the door was open not only for the subsequent political entity of Holland, but also for the successful Dutch Reformation with all its cultural as well as religious results;
Sweden: In 1527 the Vasa family broke away from Denmark as an act of rebellion and established Sweden as a Lutheran country. Later, in 1630, it was the Swedish king, Gustavus Adolphus, a sincere champion of Lutheranism, who marched his army out of Sweden and into Germany against the Emperor to protect Protestant Germany by the use of force;
Denmark: In 1536 the Protestant party of nobles overthrew the Danish dynasty by force and set up a new government and new dynasty to establish Lutheranism in the country;
Germany: Luther was protected by the Duke of Saxony against the political and military power of the Emperor. After many wars in which the Duke of Saxony and other German nobles kept the Emperor at bay, the Peace of Augsburg was signed in 1555 and this established that the ruler's religion would determine the religion of his geographical location. Thus the German Reformation won its right to exist until the later rise of the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation which resulted in the destructive 'Thirty Years War' until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which ratified the 1555 Peace of Augsburg, and ensured that German Protestantism was protected from the reprisals of the Counter-Reformation;
Switzerland: Bern established reform and Protestantism between 1523 and 1525 by Communal vote. In many places, e.g. the Canton of Vaud, it was Protestant Bern's military control of this area which gave William Farel his opportunity to preach the gospel in Aigle and Ollon, leading to reformation in French-speaking Switzerland;
Geneva: This area became Protestant by vote of the Common Council in 1533-1534 and Calvin came to Geneva in 1536. There was no open war and the Reformation was established despite the constant threat of war by the House of Savoy.
John Knox of Scotland is probably an excellent example of the transformation from Roman Catholicism to 'Protestantism' and the path of the struggle. Knox was ordained to the priesthood in 1536 (the year William Tyndale was executed) after studying at St. Andrews University near Edinburgh. Knox was also a lawyer and a bodyguard to a fiery evangelist George Wishart and, shortly thereafter, Knox accepted a call to the ministry and began attacking the Roman Catholic Church. This was extremely dangerous since the Roman Catholic Church exerted a dominant influence over the Scottish State. Knox was prevented from preaching on Sundays (the dates were conveniently filled by Papist priests) so he held services on weekdays during which he refuted what was said by the priests on Sundays. So successful were his efforts that a majority of those in Edinburgh made an open profession of the Protestant faith by participating in the Lord's Supper as administered by Knox.
On June 30, 1547, Knox was in an unfortunate group of men who were captured by French forces in the war with England and suffered for almost two years as a galley slave before gaining his liberty. He landed as a refugee in England in 1549, resumed preaching and was so effective that Protestant families in Scotland, hearing of his ministry, crossed the border illegally and resettled in Berwick, England, to ensure that they continued to hear the truth from the Word of God.
Knox is considered to be a radical reformer but differed from the many other examples in that, throughout his ministry, Knox appealed for moderation and compromise whenever truly fundamental issues were not at stake. Attempts to keep the English crown in Protestant hands failed and in August, 1553, the Roman Catholic Mary Tudor entered London. Many outspoken Protestants were taken captive and imprisoned, but Knox escaped to Geneva, Switzerland.
During this time Knox preached a theology of resistance to tyranny and smuggled pamphlets into England. The most significant of these was the Admonition to England, published in July, 1554, a more strident appeal than those made by such as Luther. Within a few years, tens of thousands of Huguenots were offering armed resistance to the French government and the year Knox died saw the beginning of the successful revolt and turning to ''Protestantism' in Holland. Knox had shocked Europe with his Admonition to England because, whereas Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin reserved the right to rebellion to the civil rulers alone, Knox had gone further. He maintained that the common people had the right and duty to disobedience and rebellion if state officials ruled contrary to the Bible because to do otherwise would be rebellion against God.
Knox was not against civil government per se. He knew full well that civil government is ordained of God, but maintained that state officials have the duty of obeying God's Laws. Knox returned to Scotland on May 2, 1559, and Scotland became a Protestant country. The effectiveness of the Presbyterian system there was so great that the persecutions of the following century were unable to root it out. The Reformation had come to stay and it was John Knox, an exponent of godly resistance in the face of tyranny, who planted the seeds that were later nurtured by such men as Samuel Rutherford.
In contrast to the countries (named above) where the Reformation involved various forms of civil disobedience or armed rebellion, there are as many examples where the Reformation was exterminated by Papal forces because of the lack of such protection, e.g.:
Hungary: The Reformation had great initial success but when the Turks pulled out of the country, the Roman Catholic authorities had unchecked power and used it to eliminate the Reformation, largely by killing off most of the Protestants;
France: The Huguenots were most successful in numbers and position but, on St. Bartholomew's Day (1572), lacking protection, the Reformation was broken in France by the mass assassination of most of its leadership (see earlier detailed account);
Spain: There was a small Reformation movement among the monks of Seville but, lacking any protection, they were totally eliminated by martyrdom.
Thus, in almost every place where the Reformation flourished there was not only religious noncompliance; there was civil disobedience as well.
It was in this setting that Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) wrote his Lex Rex: or The Law and the Prince (1644). The clear concept in Lex Rex is that the law is king, and if the king and the government disobey the law they are to be disobeyed because the law is founded on the Law of God. Lex Rex was promptly outlawed in both England and Scotland and the parliament of Scotland was due to meet in order to condemn Samuel Rutherford to death for his views, but he escaped execution as a civil rebel by dying before they could carry out their evil intentions.
In this classic work, Lex Rex, Rutherford had set forth the proper Christian response to un-Biblical acts by the state. Rutherford, a Presbyterian, was one of the Scottish commissioners at the Westminster Assembly in London (1643-1647) and later became Rector at St. Andrews University in Scotland. The book Lex Rex, in a society of landed classes and monarchy, created an immediate controversy. The governing authorities were concerned about Lex Rex because of its attack on the undergirding foundation of seventeenth century political government in Europe - 'the divine right of kings.' This doctrine held that the king or state ruled as God's appointed regent and, this being so, the king's word was law. Placed against this position was Rutherford's assertion that the basic premise of civil government and, therefore, law, must be based on God's Law as given in the Bible. As such, Rutherford argued, all men, even the king, are under the Law and not above it. This concept was considered political rebellion and punishable as treason. Rutherford argued that Romans 13 indicates that all power is from God and that government is ordained and instituted by God. The state, however, is to be administered according to the principles of God's Law. Acts of the state which contradicted God's Law were illegitimate and acts of tyranny. Tyranny was defined as ruling without the sanction of God.
Only a fool would try and deny that Christians who came out of the Reformation suddenly achieved perfection, but the most important matter for any true believer is to know that they are now 'in Christ' (@) and walk into heaven the moment they die because of His sacrifice on Calvary when He paid the full price for their salvation. No purgatory, no judgment, no doubt about it - a certain Biblical doctrine!
It is indisputable that weaknesses definitely existed, even at the outset of the Reformation, as exemplified by many of the words and actions of Luther, Calvin, et al. At certain points the people in the stream of the Reformation were inconsistent with the Biblical teaching they claimed to follow. There were many areas where they were not faithful to the Bible as they should have been, but they still had to shake off the influences of Rome, as many of Luther's words reveal.
This kind of behaviour is still going on in places like Northern Ireland where 'Protestant' terrorist groups are as vile as their Papal Roman Catholic counterparts. Since these atrocities were inherited from pagan Papal Rome, whose Emperor Constantine was the first pope, we can see the effects of following Roman 'tradition.' We challenge you to find one New Testament Scripture to support the terrorist activities of the papacy and to explain her thefts and persecutions.
(Continued on page 271)