Tag Archives: Protestant Reformation

Is the Reformation Over? A Statement of Evangelical Convictions

I am glad to share the following press release by the Reformanda Initiative.

Is the Reformation Over? – A Statement Release

 Rome, Italy – October 24, 2016 – The Reformanda Initiative is releasing a statement entitled, “Is the Reformation Over? A Statement of Evangelical Convictions,” which affirms the principles of the Reformation, and calling on international evangelical leaders to sign it.

The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. In recent times, ecumenical friendliness between Protestants and Catholics has created ripe conditions for some leaders in both camps to claim that the Reformation is over.  While the fact that dialogue has replaced persecution is something to be thankful for, the question remains:  Have the fundamental theological differences between Catholics and Protestants/Evangelicals disappeared?

The Protestant Reformation was ultimately a call to (1) recover the authority of the Bible over the church and (2) appreciate afresh the fact that salvation comes to us through faith alone. These theological differences remain to this day.

At the same time, what is true of the Roman Catholic Church as a doctrinal and institutional reality is not necessarily true of individual Catholics. God’s grace is at work in men and women who repent and trust God alone, who respond to God’s gospel by living as disciples seeking to know Christ and make him known.

We, as Evangelicals, affirm the following three principles:

1)      Encouraging Collaboration: Where common values are at stake regarding ethical, social, cultural and political issues, we encourage efforts of collaboration between Evangelicals and Catholics and also other religious groups.

2)      Maintaining Clear Gospel Standards: When it comes to fulfilling the missionary task of proclaiming and living out the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world, Evangelicals must be careful to maintain clear gospel standards when forming common platforms and coalitions.

3)      Affirming the Reformation’s Core Principles: The issues that gave birth to the Reformation 500 years ago are very much alive today for the whole church. Evangelicals affirm, with the Reformers, the foundational convictions that our final authority is the Bible and that we are saved through faith alone.

Visit http://IsTheReformationOver.com/ to learn more.

Click here to read the full Statement.

Click here to see the current list of Evangelical leaders who have signed the Statement.

The Reformanda Initiative exists to equip and resource evangelical leaders to understand Roman Catholic theology and practice, to educate the evangelical Church, and to communicate the Gospel.

Contact:                                                                                                                                                            Reformanda Initiative                                                                                            

contact@reformandainitiative.org                                                                            

www.reformandainitiative.org

 

    83. What Francis Really Thinks of the Reformation (and of Calvin in Particular)

    June 23rd, 2014

    Friendly. Appreciative. Always wanting to stress commonalities and to lay aside differences. This has been the popular image of Pope Francis in his dealings with non-Catholics thus far. Many are impressed by his easy-going style that often seeks to affirm others. This may have been the rule but now there is an exception, and a very significant one. The recent re-publication of a lecture on the history of the Jesuits that Archbishop Bergoglio gave in Argentina in 1985 indicates the kind of harsh assessment that he gave of the Protestant Reformation in general and of John Calvin in particular. The lecture was re-published in Spain in 2013 and then translated into Italian in book form (Chi sono i gesuiti, Bologna: EMI, 2014). Since there is no indication that he has changed his mind, we have to consider the contents of the book an accurate reflection of what Francis still thinks of the Protestant Reformation.

    Protestantism as the Root of all Evils

    In examining the history of the Jesuits Bergoglio gives special attention to their interactions with the Reformation and their role in the Latin-American missions. According to him the inevitable consequences of the Reformation are the annihilation of man in his anxiety (resulting in existential atheism), and a leap in the dark by a type of superman (as envisaged by Nietzsche). Both outcomes lead to “the death of God”, and a kind of “paganism” that manifests itself as Nazism and Marxism. All this originating from the “Lutheran position”! Bergoglio argues that the Reformation is the root of all the tragedies of the modern West, from secularization to the death of God, from totalitarian regimes to ideological suicides.

    There is nothing new under the sun. This disparaging and appalling view of the Reformation has been the common reading of modern European history by scores of Counter-reformation Catholic polemists until recent decades. Bergoglio did not invent it. He rather reaffirms it as if more thorough historical research and theological and cultural analyses never took place after the Council of Trent. What can we make of his friendly tones towards Protestants if he really thinks that the “Lutheran position” is to be blamed for all the evils of Western civilization?

    John Calvin the Spiritual Executioner

    There is more. Bergoglio makes a distinction between Martin Luther the “heretic” and John Calvin the “heretic” and “schismatic”. The Lutheran heresy is “a good idea gone foolish”, but Calvin is even worse because he also tore apart man, society, and the church. As for man, Bergoglio’s Calvin split reason from the heart, thus producing the “Calvinist squalor”. In society, Calvin pitted the bourgeoisie against the other working classes, thus becoming “the father of liberalism”. The worst schism happened in the church, however. There Calvin “beheaded the people of God from being united with the Father”. He beheaded the people of God from its patron saints. He also beheaded it from the mass, i.e. the mediation of the “really present” Christ. In summary, Calvin was an executioner that destroyed man, poisoned society, and ruined the church!

    To say that Bergoglio does not like Calvin is an understatement. He has strong feelings against him. But are we sure that he understands Calvin beyond totally biased and outdated clichés? 2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and will be an opportunity for Francis to go back to more recent history books and get a fairer and more accurate picture of what happened from the XVI century onwards. If he does not revise his assessment of the Reformation all “ecumenical” language will be a superficial mask hiding a real hatred for Luther and (especially) Calvin.