Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 3

Denominationalism had received acceptance by the late 15th century.  Luther’s ideas had not been championed by Melancthon, Luther’s second in command (who later had come all the way to the New Testament position on most subjects but did not have the generalship to lead) and the gaffe left, gave rise for the world to have another who could decipher his beliefs from the inspired Word of God and tell mankind what God intended to say by His apostles in the Bible but was unable to articulate.  Among those most famous in this area was a French lawyer named John Calvin.  Born in the late 15th century, Calvin left Roman Catholicism while a young man and went to an area around Geneva, Switzerland.  The world now had two reformers of German descent, but that was about the only thing they had in common (Martin Luther had also aspired to be a lawyer).  When the Pope called on Charles V (a defender of the faith) to condemn Luther, Calvin was not going to risk such insult.   Invited to Geneva by the city fathers to reform the church, Calvin found his Jerusalem.  What had started out as a desire to restore the church of the New Testament in doctrine and practice soon became a climb to fame and fortune.  He forgot God and became god.   In Geneva, Calvin found the opportunity to preach the old Augustinian doctrine of predestination and write his catechism, called the Prayer book.  He eventually took the power of the government and in the first five years of his power executed 58 people and exiled another 75.  His boldest move was the execution of a Spanish doctor turned preacher, Servetes, in 1553, which they burnt alive atop his own written books that had come to Geneva to debate Calvin in public discussion.   He seemingly took no interest in his own native country of France but sent missionaries and preachers to her for years.  His doctrine came to England through one of his converts, John Knox, then to Scotland.  Calvin taught that God had chosen a select “elect” and nothing good or bad they might do would change their eternal destination, but, and if you were chosen to be eternally damned, there was nothing you could obey, do, or believe that would change your eternal consequences.  He sided with Zwingli on the Lord’s Supper and for this reason could not be a Lutheran.  His unearthly cruelty was evidenced in many ways.  He is said to have starved to death his oldest daughter for disobeying him.

No one had ever heard of the Presbyterian Church until John Calvin started it.  If she is the select of God, what happened to all those who lived and died before John Calvin was born? I guess it is alright to be “predestinated” to eternal life and not know about it, but what about being “predestinated” to eternal damnation and never having a chance? The Calvinist think the better they live, the more proof they are “predestinated” to eternal life, but if you NEVER knew you were “predestinated” to eternal damnation, it would be a little raw to wake up in Hell having lived all your life being an exemplary student of the life of Christ and not know you could never have been anything but LOST!!

Other doctrines the “lawyer from France” did not check with the Word of God about were “inborn sin” (called hereditary total depravity) and sprinkling for baptism.  I have often wondered why every Presbyterian has their children baptized (sprinkled) when one of them might be hereditarily totally depraved?  Maybe the doctrines of penances of Roman Catholicism was error, Mariolatry was sinful, and transubstantiation was completely absurd, but the idea that once you are in a certain family God would select you because of your parents church affiliation for eternal life seems a little profound.

At the same time in history King Henry VIII of England decided to divorce his wife and marry Anne of Boleyn.  Henry, being King, thought nothing of doing everything his way.  When he received word the Pope had decided to excommunicate him, Henry flew in a fury and started his own church which in the American continent is called the Church of England.  This church did not start as a reform movement, it started over who was the “guilty party” (whatever that is, I have never read this verbiage in God’s Word).  Not being among the reformed movements, it still spawned another of the modern day denominations called the Baptist Church.  Henry passed the decree that no one worshipped God in England in any other church than the Church of England, or be killed.  So corrupt she became in a short time that there arose a “separatist movement” that was a reform effort called, in mockery, the Baptist Church, started by a minister of the Church of England in 1602, John Smythe.

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