John MacArthur on The Reformation: A Lesson About Heresy & The Power of Truth
This is THE year. 2017. So many have been awaiting its arrival with anticipation, with hope, with a desire to see history repeat itself. And NO. It isn’t about some eternally unimportant temporal American election.
It’s about the explosion of truth … God’s Truth … across the planet. It’s about when Truth was unshackled from a millennium of virtual bondage in a blasphemous prison built by the apostate hands of man. It’s about not a mere celebration of a historical event – the Reformation – it’s about praising God for giving bold, historic evidence of his claim in Psalm 138:2:
You have exalted above all things
your name and your word. Psalm 138:2
The Reformation serves as providential, temporal, historic evidence that His Name and His Word will always remain unfettered by the prideful whims of man and unshadowed by the efforts of a God-hating enemy. Utterances from the truthful lips of God (Proverbs 12:19) remain forever.
The Reformation was a providential movement of God, protecting His Truth and thereby extending grace to the undeserving world. Its’ fruit has, as of this year, continued to bless the world for five hundred years.
But, though we know the many warnings of end-time diversions off the narrow path and how the church will increasingly be plagued with false teachers and false gospels, the true church – not the superficial one – prays for another reformation.
We want another reformation that brings to the modern church what the Reformation brought to the 16th-century one – the restoration of God’s Name and God’s Word to their rightful, exalted place. We want that preached in our pulpits and taught in our Sunday school rooms. We want THAT Truth to be the visible image of the church to an onlooking world. And we want that Truth to be proclaimed, defended and contended, so that the elect hearts of men may be saved by it. We want that Truth blasted across an increasingly depraved world because THAT Truth gives glory to Jesus, the Lord and the Savior.
But the modern superficial church – the one most unbelievers think of when they think about “church” – is light years away from the authentic light of God’s Word, though that Word is so often merely a fingertip away. False teaching is rampant because the Word goes unheeded. Error is hurled, tolerated, and endorsed with ever greater ferocity because sound doctrine is ignored. Deception continues WITHIN the church as “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 John 5:19) appealingly deludes with unsound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3) imprisoning men’s minds in strongholds of darkness. (2 Corinthians 10:4)
On his daily Grace To You Radio broadcast today, John MacArthur prefaced his message with a quick look at two particular lessons from the Reformation. These studio comments come ahead of the rebroadcast of his message, Is Jesus The Only Way?
Here’s what Dr. MacArthur had to say:
“I think there are a couple of things that come out of the Reformation that are just really profound, far-reaching lessons.”
“The first one is that error, heresy, false Christianity can survive for a very long time. It can not only survive, it can actually be a dominant force in society. That is exactly what happened for a thousand years in the development of Roman Catholicism.”
“If you think that there’s not a powerful, massive, embedded force for heresy, for a corrupted Gospel and a corrupted church, alive and well in the world, you don’t know history.”
“Error is always seeking to be permanently embedded and given a kind of dignity, a kind of acceptability, a kind of prominence in the world. And that’s what happened for a thousand years in the development of the Roman Catholic Church.”
“The other thing that comes out of the Reformation is this … that as profoundly embedded as evil is for such a long time and through tens of thousands of people, God can use one person as He did Martin Luther – or two or three – to literally bring the Truth.”
“That’s something we ought to pray for even today.”
There’s really only one thing that can be said to this … AMEN.
[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]