Are You A Protestant?

By John Thiel

I ask the question, are you a Protestant? If we want to know what it means to be a Protestant, study Protestantism. As you look this subject, there are some very pertinent messages in Revelation. In the study of the seven churches Jesus speaks to his faithful children. You will notice that the messages that were given in the successive generations can be applicable to us now as they were given to churches of the past.

Balaam thought the best way to get the booty from the king was to corrupt Israel and he did that. He brought in the women from outside. He brought in sacrificing to idols to accept the ways around them. This is what the Christian church in the time of Pergamos was falling into. A worldly flood was coming into the church. This is as much as important for us to understand it so won’t happen to us and also so that there won’t be a cause for us to fall.

Pergamos Didn’t Repent

The very thing that was warned in Pergamos was now happening in Thyatira in that church called Jezebel. I gave her space to repent and she repented not. God gives a very clear message here of what Gods church must avoid.

Revelation 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Revelation 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

Here we have this problem learning from these stories of what are our dangers and not to fall into them. The church that was faithful in Thyatira is now addressed;

Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Here God is speaking to his faithful people and he says there are problems amongst you. There are people that teach like Balaam. If you’re not listening, you will think you have a name that you live but you’re dead. This is what Protestants were doing in the period of Thyatira.

Acts 20:20 [And] how I kept back nothing that was profitable [unto you], but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I [am] pure from the blood of all [men]. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Can you see that what happened in the Pergamos period? Among Gods people were these other ones preaching the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes causing the church to parlay with Jezebel. Indeed the experience of Gods church having amongst them these kind of grievous wolves causing false things to arise.

1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

It’s an event that has to take place within the church so that faithful people will be made manifest. We understand somewhat of Balaam and Jezebel. What about the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes?

The doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made the law of God of no effect; that by “believing” we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned (ST Jan. 2, 1912). {7BC 957.6}

Shades of these kinds of things take place in Gods church even today. Within the church itself arises these false ideas. The church that had been resisting eventually fell into a state of having a name that they live and yet are dead. What is the name that we should have that we are alive?

Restorers

Here is a name of people who have a name and live by it;

Isaiah 58:12 And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

The people that manifested when heresies arose are they that uphold Gods ways. Is that a name that you live by? A repairer, a restorer?

Here are given the characteristics of those who shall be reformers, who will bear the banner of the third angel’s message, those who avow themselves God’s commandment- keeping people, and who honor God, and are earnestly engaged, in the sight of all the universe, in building up the old waste places. Who is it that calls them, The repairers of the breach, The restorers of paths to dwell in? It is God. Their names are registered in heaven as reformers, restorers, as raising the foundations of many generations (RH Oct. 13, 1891). {4BC 1151.7}

Reformers

That’s what the Protestants were weren’t they? Martin Luther, Wesley, Knox, all these men and their counterparts. They were all working energetically. They were protesting against the wrongs, still loyal to the church but reformers. That was the name that they lived by. In the period of Sardis God says sorry, you have a name that you live but you are dead. The faithful ones continued into the Philadelphia period and so on. This is the question now we are to examine ourselves in. To be engaged in the sight of all the universe in building up the waste places. To honour God and so be engaged this is what we want to ask ourselves. Are we that? Are we in the same predicament as they were in the past in Gods church that there would be among those in Gods church that would break down the issues of Gods truth? Our character, our position if we are going to be Protestants has a charter of Protestantism we can read and sign ourselves to. Mark the remarkable similarities to their time as to our time. We read of a declaration made by the reformers. This is the charter, this is the declaration;

A solemn declaration was therefore drawn up, and presented to the Diet:– {GC88 202.3}

“We protest by these presents, before God, our only Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Saviour, and who will one day be our Judge, as well as before all men and all creatures, that we, for us and our people, neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatever to the proposed decree in anything that is contrary to God, to his Word, to our right conscience, or to the salvation of our souls. . . . We cannot assert that when Almighty God calls a man to his knowledge, he dare not embrace that divine knowledge. . . . There is no true doctrine but that which conforms to the Word of God. The Lord forbids the teaching of any other faith. The Holy Scriptures, with one text explained by other and plainer texts, are, in all things necessary for the Christian, easy to be understood, and adapted to enlighten. We are therefore resolved by divine grace to maintain the pure preaching of God’s only Word, as it is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, without anything added thereto. This word is the only truth. It is the sure rule of all doctrine and life, and can never fail or deceive us. He who builds on this foundation shall stand against all the powers of hell, whilst all the vanities that are set up against it shall fall before the face of God.” “We therefore reject the yoke that is imposed upon us.” “At the same time we are in expectation that his imperial majesty will behave toward us like a Christian prince who loves God above all things; and we declare ourselves ready to pay unto him, as well as unto you, gracious lords, all the affection and obedience that are our just and legitimate duty.” {GC88 202.4}

The edict was that the Catholic Church was to be submitted to and that they were the governors over the people. This was a declaration made out before the church in Martin Luther’s time – the protest of the princes. Mark carefully what inspiration is telling us how to regard this declaration. What is the bible and Spirit of Prophecy to be? Easy to be understood.

The Holy Scriptures ought to be explained by other and clearer texts; . . . this Holy Book is, in all things necessary for the Christian, easy of understanding, and calculated to scatter the darkness. We are resolved, with the grace of God, to maintain the pure and exclusive preaching of His only word, such as it is contained in the biblical books of the Old and New Testaments, without adding anything thereto that may be contrary to it. This word is the only truth; it is the sure rule of all doctrine and of all life, and can never fail or deceive us. He who builds on this foundation shall stand against all the powers of hell, while all the human vanities that are set up against it shall fall before the face of God.” {GC 203.1}

“For this reason we reject the yoke that is imposed on us.” “At the same time we are in expectation that his imperial majesty will behave toward us like a Christian prince who loves God above all things; and we declare ourselves ready to pay unto him, as well as unto you, gracious lords, all the affection and obedience that are our just and legitimate duty.”–Ibid., b. 13, ch. 6. {GC 203.2}

“The principles contained in this celebrated Protest . . . constitute the very essence of Protestantism. Now this Protest opposes two abuses of man in matters of faith: the first is the intrusion of the civil magistrate, and the second the arbitrary authority of the church. Instead of these abuses, Protestantism sets the power of conscience above the magistrate, and the authority of the word of God above the visible church. In the first place, it rejects the civil power in divine things, and says with the prophets and apostles, ‘We must obey God rather than man.’ In presence of the crown of Charles the Fifth, it uplifts the crown of Jesus Christ. But it goes farther: it lays down the principle that all human teaching should be subordinate to the oracles of God.”–Ibid., b. 13, ch. 6. {GC 203.4}

The protesters had moreover affirmed their right to freely utter their convictions of truth. They would not only believe and obey, but teach what the Word of God presents, and they denied the right of priest or magistrate to interfere. The Protest of Spires was a solemn witness against religious intolerance, and an assertion of the right of all men to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. {GC88 203.2}

The declaration had been made. It was written in the memory of thousands, and registered in the books of Heaven, where no effort of man could erase it. All evangelical Germany adopted the Protest as the expression of its faith. Everywhere men beheld in this declaration the promise of a new and better era. Said one of the princes to the Protestants of Spires, “May the Almighty, who has given you grace to confess energetically, freely, and fearlessly; preserve you in that Christian firmness until the day of eternity.” {GC88 204.1}

Had the Reformation, after attaining a degree of success, consented to temporize to secure favor with the world, it would have been untrue to God and to itself, and would thus have insured its own destruction. The experience of those noble reformers contains a lesson for all succeeding ages. Satan’s manner of working against God and his Word has not changed; he is still as much opposed to the Scriptures being made the guide of life as in the sixteenth century. In our time there is a wide departure from their doctrines and precepts, and there is need of a return to the great Protestant principle,–the Bible, and the Bible only, as the rule of faith and duty. Satan is still working through every means which he can control to destroy religious liberty. The antichristian power which the protesters of Spires rejected, is now with renewed vigor seeking to re-establish its lost supremacy. The same unswerving adherence to the Word of God manifested at that crisis of the Reformation, is the only hope of reform today. {GC88 204.2}

There is a need of a return to the great Protestant principle. Are you a Protestant? Is this your declaration, manifesto and charter? The bible and bible only as Satan is trying to destroy religious liberty is now with renewed vigour seeking to re-establish its lost supremacy. Is there hope of a reform today? The only hope of being a reformer is adherence to that which was expressed by them in that crisis. That is our only hope.

What Are We To Protest Against?

It is the spirit of the papacy. The spirit of the papacy that is alive today as much as back there. It is alive in the Protestant churches today. It is alive from within the church. There will arise these kinds of people. This is in reference to the British how the church had spread into Britain. Then the Saxons had come in and invaded but the Britons were humble Christians. When the Saxons came in, the faithful Christians fled to Ireland and into the mountains. As Rome came across it says;

But Rome had fixed her eyes on Britain, and resolved to bring it under her supremacy. In the sixth century her missionaries undertook the conversion of the heathen Saxons. They were received with favor by the proud barbarians, and they induced many thousands to profess the Romish faith. As the work progressed, the papal leaders and their converts encountered the primitive Christians. A striking contrast was presented. The latter were simple, humble, and Scriptural in character, doctrine, and manners, while the former manifested the superstition, pomp, and arrogance of popery. The emissary of Rome demanded that these Christian churches acknowledge the supremacy of the sovereign pontiff. The Britons meekly replied that they desired to love all men, but that the pope was not entitled to supremacy in the church, and they could render to him only that submission which was due to every follower of Christ. Repeated attempts were made to secure their allegiance to Rome; but these humble Christians, amazed at the pride displayed by her emissaries, steadfastly replied that they knew no other master than Christ. Now the true spirit of the papacy was revealed. Said the Romish leader: “If you will not receive brethren who bring you peace, you shall receive enemies who will bring you war”. -J. H. Merle D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, b. 17, ch. 2 {GC 62.4}

Are you picking up the mentality? We are coming to give you peace and you are rejecting us, then we must fight you. That is the spirit of the papacy. That is what is declared here. We are in a position where we need to place ourselves under the charter as that which is recorded in heaven as the true Protestant name. Who drafted the declaration? Who chartered the protest and who presented it to the people?

The reformed princes had determined upon having a statement of their views in systematic form, with the evidence from the Scriptures, to present before the Diet; and the task of its preparation was committed to Luther, Melancthon, and their associates. This Confession was accepted by the Protestants as an exposition of their faith, and they assembled to affix their names to the important document. As the Christian princes advanced to sign the Confession, Melancthon interposed, saying, “It is for the theologians and ministers to propose these things, while the authority of the mighty ones of earth is to be reserved for other matters.” “God forbid,” replied John of Saxony, “that you should exclude me. I am resolved to do my duty, without being troubled about my crown. I desire to confess the Lord. My electoral hat and robes are not so precious to me as the cross of Jesus Christ.” Having thus spoken he wrote down his name. Said another of the princes as he took the pen, “If the honor of my Lord Jesus Christ requires it, I am ready to leave my goods and life behind me.” “Rather would I renounce my subjects and my States, rather would I quit the country of my fathers, staff in hand,” he continued, “than to receive any other doctrine than is contained in this Confession.” Such was the faith and daring of those men of God. {GC88 206.2}

They wanted to stand before the diet with evidence of their faith and proper scriptural support. The task of its preparation was committed to Luther. Who put it together? Martin Luther. Can we sign under a name and under someone that the Lord has used? Are you prepared to stand on the words of Martin Luther? What does Martin Luther say in principle when something is wrong in the church?

“The mass is a bad thing. God is opposed to it. It ought to be abolished, and I would that everywhere the supper of the gospel were established in its stead. But let none be torn from it by force. We must leave results to God. It is not we that must work, but his Word. `And why so?’ you will ask. Because the hearts of men are not in my hand as clay in the hand of the potter. We have a right to speak, but none whatever to compel. Let us preach; the rest belongs to God. If I resort to force, what shall I gain? Grimace, fair appearances, cramped uniformity, and hypocrisy. But there will be no hearty sincerity, no faith, no love. Where these are wanting, all is wanting, and I would not give a straw for such a victory. God does more by the simple power of his Word than you and I and the whole world could effect by all our efforts put together. God arrests the heart, and that once taken, all is won.” {GC88 189.4}

“I am ready to preach, argue, write; but I will not constrain any one, for faith is but a voluntary act. Call to mind what I have already done. I stood up against pope, indulgences, and papists; but without violence or tumult. I brought forward God’s Word; I preached and wrote, and then I stopped. And while I laid me down and slept, . . . the Word I had preached brought down the power of the pope to the ground, so that never prince or emperor had dealt it such a blow. For my part I did next to nothing; the power of the Word did the whole business. Had I appealed to force, Germany might have been deluged with blood. But what would have been the consequence? Ruin and destruction of soul and body. Accordingly I kept quiet, and let the Word run through the length and breadth of the land.” {GC88 190.1}

This is Gods church, are we part of it? This is Protestantism. Within Gods church that spirit is repulsed by another spirit. We have to stand up and be counted.

Amen.

Posted on September 6, 2009, in Prayer Meeting Sermonettes, The Church of God and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. May God bless u

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