The Unfinished Reformation

R. David Pogge

5 November 2017

 

The Protestant Reformation began 500 years ago.  Why hasn’t it been finished yet?

 

Jesus came to Earth in the flesh to purchase our salvation by dying on the cross; but that isn’t all He did.  He realized His church had strayed from the truth and adopted many false doctrines.  Jesus confronted the religious leaders of his day and challenged them to reform those errors.  As a result, there was a great revival among thousands of Jews, including some Pharisees, at Pentecost.  But Peter and Paul both tell us that within a few years, the church started turning to a different gospel.  Most of Paul’s epistles were written to backsliding churches.  Peter’s letters warn of the Antichrist and the apostasy that had already infiltrated the New Testament churches.

 

In the following 1500 years, it only got worse.  It even got to the point that the Church was selling forgiveness of sins for money.  That was the last straw that inspired Martin Luther to begin to reform the Church 500 years ago.  Isn’t it about time that we finished what he started?

 

Jesus wondered if he would find faith on the Earth when returned [Luke 18:8].  He warned that many people who think they are saved will be terribly surprised to find they are lost because they have been deceived into practicing Counterfeit Christianity [Matthew 7:21-23].

 

Over the years, The Word With Us has explored the doctrinal errors that must be reformed before Jesus returns.  In this broadcast we will summarize those errors, and provide links to other broadcasts which deal with those needed reforms in detail.

95 Theses

 

The Protestant Reformation began with Luther’s 95 Theses, which he nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral on October 31, 1517.  It would be more accurate to say that it was actually one thesis, stated 95 different ways.  That one thesis is that the church cannot save anybody—only Jesus can save you.  Luther was outraged that the Church was selling indulgences for sin.  The Church taught that you could buy your way out of Hell or Purgatory by making a large contribution to the Church, and Luther could not sit idly by while the Gospel of Jesus Christ was being replaced by this corrupt practice.

 

In Part 1 of our broadcast titled, Luther’s 95 Theses [http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU111030a.mp3] we told the background that led to Luther taking his stand against the sale of indulgences.  We wanted you to see how God worked in Luther’s life, and showed him that human traditions had replaced the Gospel in the Church.

 

Then, in Part 2 [http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU111030b.mp3] we quoted some representative samples of his theses, and commented upon them.  A transcript of the entire broadcast is available in PDF format [http://krsf.net/pdfs/TWWU111030.pdf] and HTML format [http://krsf.net/htms/TWWU111030.htm] on the KRSF.NET website.  The website also contains a link to an English translation of all 95 theses [http://www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html] and an audio recitation of that translation [http://krsf.net/mp3s/95.mp3].

 

Luther expected his 95 Theses to result in an honest doctrinal debate which would lead to reformation.  Instead, the result was that he and his followers were declared to be heretics worthy of death.  The Protestants responded with the Augsburg Confession of Faith.

 

The Augsburg Confession

 

In the Augsburg Confession of Faith, the Protestants explained what they believed, and the Biblical reasons for why they believed it.  They also outlined some things that they were falsely accused of believing.  We addressed the Augsburg Confession of Faith in a three-part series.

 

In the first broadcast in the Augsburg Confession series, we praised the courage of those Protestants who risked their lives to stand for the truth, hoping that their example would inspire similar faith and courage in you.  Most of the material in that broadcast was taken from Chapter 11 of Ellen White’s book, The Great Controversy, which you can read for free on-line [http://www.whiteestate.org/books/gc/gc11.html].  You can listen to our excerpts of that chapter [http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU120226a.mp3] and our commentary [http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU120226b.mp3], or read the entire transcript on the KRSF.NET website [http://krsf.net/pdfs/TWWU120226.pdf].

 

Sadly, few modern Protestants demonstrate that same courage of conviction.  In 1979, when we began broadcasting The Word With Us, it was easy for us to find Christians who would give their personal testimony on the air.  Christians came to us, asking to be allowed to share their faith.  In recent years, we have not broadcast many personal testimonies because we have had trouble finding Christians who are willing to be interviewed.  They seem to be ashamed of their belief.  This is tragic because Jesus said,

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” [Mark 8:38]

In our second broadcast in the Augsburg Confession series, we summarized the first 27 articles of the Confession.  Primarily they deal with a concept commonly referred to as Righteousness by Faith.  It is the doctrine that one cannot earn salvation by following church rules, taking part in church ceremonies, doing good deeds and giving money to the church.  Instead, salvation is a gift given by Jesus to his obedient followers.  The first 27 articles stress the fact that one must obey God’s commands rather than human traditions whenever there is a conflict between the two.  In Part 1 of that broadcast, we gave examples of human traditions which conflict with the Gospel [http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU120304a.mp3].  In Part 2 of that broadcast, we quoted many pertinent sections of the Augsburg Confession [http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU120304b.mp3].  The entire transcript of our broadcast can, of course, be found on the Archives page of the KRSF.NET website [http://krsf.net/pdfs/TWWU120304.pdf].  All the Lutheran doctrines, including the Augsburg Confession, are in the Book of Concord, which you can read for free on-line from a Lutheran source [http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/wittenberg-boc.html].

 

Few modern Christians would say that belonging to a church will save them—but they act as if they believe that.  They may attend church regularly, or occasionally, and may give large or small donations to the church; but in their daily lives they follow the traditions of man rather than the commands of God.  They say they love God; but don’t live according to His rules.  They think their profession of love for God will save them; but Jesus said,

 “If you love me, keep my commands.” [John 14:15]

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” [John 14:21]

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46]

The third broadcast in our Augsburg Confession series dealt with the troublesome 28th article.  After writing 27 articles explaining why the Bible must take precedence over human traditions, the Reformers tried to justify two exceptions where they allowed tradition to take precedence over God’s explicit commands.  Those two exceptions are Easter and Sunday.

Sunday

 

The Catholic Church replaced Passover with the pagan fertility celebration, Easter, and Sabbath with pagan day of worship, Sunday, in the 4th century for purely anti-Semitic reasons.  The Reformers were intimately familiar with the Church Canons, and knew exactly when and why these changes were made.  But anti-Semitism was still so prevalent in the 16th century (when the Augsburg Confession was written) that the Protestants, after admitting that the Church had no authority to replace the “Jewish” Sabbath with the Lord’s Day, tried to justify their anti-Semitic tradition on the basis of unity and order.  Part 1 of our third broadcast on the Augsburg Confession reviewed the history of the change of Sabbath in the 4th century [http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU120311a.mp3].  Part 2 of that broadcast addressed the Protestant rationalization in Article 28 for not changing it back [http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU120311b.mp3].  The entire transcript is on the Archives page of the KRSF.NET website [http://krsf.net/pdfs/TWWU120311.pdf].

 

Sunday worship in the Catholic Church originated as a weekly, intentional violation of the Sabbath commandment instituted by Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicaea because they wanted to have nothing to do with the Jews.  That doesn’t mean that modern Christians who worship on Sunday do it because they hate Jews.  Most modern Christians have been falsely taught that Jesus or the Apostles changed Sabbath day to honor the resurrection.  They think they are honoring Jesus by breaking the Sabbath Commandment every week—but they aren’t.

 

As we heard just a few moments ago, Jesus asks, “Why do you call me Lord, and not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46] and tells them “If you love me, keep my commands.” [John 14:15]  Christians who intentionally sin against God every week are in danger of being lost.  These are the people Jesus said He will be ashamed of when He returns. [Mark 8:38]  In fact, Jesus won’t simply be ashamed of them—He will cast them away!

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” [Matthew 7:21-23]

Restoration of the Sabbath Commandment in our churches is perhaps the most important reformation that must be made before Jesus returns.

 

Many Christians have been tricked into believing that Jesus or the Disciples changed the day of worship.  They are completely unaware of when and why the Catholic Church changed the day of worship in the 4th century.  That’s why we have devoted several broadcasts to the topic.

 

If you truly want to give your whole heart to Jesus, and want to express your love for Him through your obedience, we urge you to get together with several other church members and study the Sabbath issue.  Carefully and critically read, or listen to, our broadcast titled, “Why Sunday?”   Check all the Biblical and historical references.  You listen to it any time on the Archives page of the KRSF.NET [Part 1 http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU121014a.mp3 and Part 2 http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU121014b.mp3] or read the transcript there [http://krsf.net/pdfs/TWWU121014.pdf or http://krsf.net/htms/TWWU121014.htm] if you prefer.

 

Once you have convinced yourself that Sunday worship is actually a rejection of Jesus’ Gospel, please have the courage to obey God rather than man.

 

Sunday worship has its roots in anti-Semitism—but that doesn’t mean everyone who worships on Sunday is anti-Semitic.  Congregations that worship on Sunday are innocently following a human tradition that directly contradicts one of God’s commands—except for the fact that willful disobedience isn’t innocent.  Sunday worship is an unconfessed sin.  God promises to forgive confessed sins; but He gives no such promise for unconfessed sins.

Easter

 

The substitution of the pagan fertility festival, Easter, for the Jewish Passover was also implemented by the Roman Catholic Church in the 4th century, about the same time Sunday was substituted for Sabbath, for exactly the same reason.  Constantine and the Council of Nicaea are on record as saying that it was done so as to have nothing in common with the Jews.  Bunnies, baby chicks, and Easter eggs are pagan symbols associated with the fertility goddess, Ishtar, not the resurrection of Jesus.

Forbidden Food

 

And why do you suppose the traditional Easter meal is ham?  We know Jesus never ate ham once in His life because Jesus never sinned.  Peter boasted that he had never eaten anything unclean more than a decade after the resurrection [Acts 10:14].  But it is commonly taught in Christian churches that Christians aren’t bound by God’s dietary restrictions.  If that’s true, nobody told the Apostles, because Acts 15:29 tells us that the Council in Jerusalem said that Gentile converts had to obey the Jewish dietary laws.  If Jesus doesn’t care about what you eat, why did He rebuke the Christians in Pergamum and Thyatira for what they ate? [Revelation 2:14, 20]

 

Satan told Eve that God didn’t mean it when He said not to eat something.  Satan lied.  It was such a simple test of obedience, and Adam and Eve failed.  After they were driven out of the Garden of Eden, God instituted another simple test of obedience.  He specified certain foods that nobody should eat.  Satan tells Christians that God doesn’t mean it when He says not to eat something.  Satan is still lying, and people still fall for the lie.

 

We explained why the God’s dietary restrictions are still binding on Christians in our broadcast titled, “That’s What Eve Said.”  You can listen to it on the Archives page of the KRSF.NET website [Part 1 - http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU130623a.mp3 and Part 2 - http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU130623b.mp3] or read the transcript there [http://krsf.net/pdfs/TWWU130623.pdf or http://krsf.net/htms/TWWU130623.htm].  We even have a chart there that plainly lists clean and unclean foods [http://krsf.net/tcyc/toeat.jpg].

 

 

 

 

 

The  Gospel

 

Paul was amazed that the Galatians had so quickly replaced the Gospel of Christ with a false gospel.

 

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!  As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! [Galatians 1:6-9]

 

How many times have you gone to the funeral of someone who showed no interest in church, but was said to be looking down from heaven right now because he was a nice guy.  The Gospel of Nice is a false gospel.

 

John tells us that the eternal, universal Gospel was preached by an angel from Heaven.

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people.  He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” [Revelation 14:6-7]

Paul said,

All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.  For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. …  This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. [Romans 2:12-13,16]

Death

 

By the way, the Biblical truth about “the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ” is not consistent with the notion that nice people go to heaven when they die whether they obeyed God or not.  The idea that people go to Heaven or Hell when they die comes from Greek Mythology—not the Bible.  It became Church doctrine sometime after the Nicaean Creed was written because it contradicts a statement in the Nicaean Creed.  The idea that people remain conscious in Purgatory or Hell is what allowed the Church to sell indulgences, which is what started the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago.  Most Protestant churches today still preach the Greek death myth rather than the Biblical doctrine of resurrection on Judgement Day.

 

We explained how the Biblical truth about death differs from the Greek Mythology commonly taught in modern Christian churches in our broadcast titled, Death. You can read the transcript [http://krsf.net/pdfs/TWWU130526.pdf  or http://krsf.net/htms/TWWU130526.htm] or listen to it [Part 1 - http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU130526a.mp3, Part 2 - http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU130526b.mp3, Part 3 - http://krsf.net/mp3s/TWWU130526c.mp3] on the Archives page of our website, KRSF.NET.

Finish the Reformation!

 

Five hundred years ago Martin Luther bravely began the Protestant Reformation.  Unfortunately, it ended before it was completed.  We need to get the job done before Jesus comes back.

 

Most of Paul’s epistles were written to backslidden churches who were preaching “another Gospel.”  Those epistles are still relevant today because many Christian churches are preaching another Gospel. 

 

Doctrine matters! The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation contain the text of letters Jesus dictated to John, to be sent to seven churches.  In those letters Jesus warns those churches that they will lose their light because of what they are teaching and eating.  Eating forbidden food is just as much a sin today as it was in the Garden of Eden.

 

We pray for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on the churches to enable them to fulfill the Great Commission to teach and baptize.  Is the Holy Spirit really going to help churches teach false doctrines?  Of course not!

 

The Holy Spirit is calling us to return to Biblical Christianity and purge our churches of false doctrines rooted in paganism and anti-Semitism so that He can bless and empower the churches.  Without the Holy Spirit, the churches can’t stand against secular culture and radical Islam.  We need to be united in Christ!

 

Churches need to study and show themselves approved of God.  How can God approve of a church that breaks the Sabbath Commandment every week?  How can God approve of people who eat forbidden food?  How can God strengthen a church that is preaching a Gospel other than the one Jesus taught?

 

Don’t just take our word for what we have said.  Go to the KRSF.NET website and take the link to The Unfinished Reformation.  Print out the transcript of the broadcast and check out everything we have said.  If you think anything we have said is wrong, we invite you to come in and debate us on the air.  We have just as much confidence in our theses as Martin Luther had in his 95 Theses.