CT: In 1517, Martin Luther staked his soul on two revolutionary ideas: sola fide, that justification is dependent on faith alone; and sola scriptura, that Scripture is the only ultimate authority for Christian belief and practice and does not need oversight from church leaders or tradition to be read and understood.
The 95 theses Luther nailed to the door at Wittenberg served as the catalyst for one of the world’s largest religious splits, as thousands broke off from the Roman Catholic Church. His legacy, 500 years later, is 560 million Protestants across the globe, making up more than a third of the world’s Christians.
But many of them don’t actually agree with him.
Today, half of American Protestants say that both good deeds and faith in God are needed to get into heaven (52%); the same number believe that in addition to the Bible, Christians need guidance from church teachings and traditions, according to two studies released today by the Pew Research Center.
The numbers don’t change in Western Europe. In Luther’s home country of Germany, more …
Opinion: We put a stake in the ground about that which we know, and work backwards from it.
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.’ Revelation 3:14-16
When the book of Revelation is viewed chronologically, the church of Laodicea is the final church which will be in place during the tribulation when the False Prophet of Revelation 13:11-14 leads the only accepted government-sponsored church.
The church of Philadelphia (Rev. 7:7-13), the faithful church which immediately preceded Laodicea, was the only church shown an ‘open door’. The church of Philadelphia will be raptured to meet Christ in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-18; 2 Thess. 2:7-8), prior to the dominance of Laodicea.
With the true church of Jesus Christ gone from the earth, Satan is released for 7 years (2 Thess. 2:7-8). God will use that time to turn His attention to the Jews, when a remnant of Jewish believers will escape the wrath of Antichrist by fleeing to the mountains as they were prophesied to do in Matthew 24:15-16.
That Protestants are turning away from grace through faith, towards grace plus faith plus works, is primarily because of the debased nature of man.
Paul said this in Romans 4:1-4:
“What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.”
John MacArthur said this: “If there is any doctrine that the chief enemy of man and of God desires to undercut and distort, it is the doctrine of salvation. If Satan can cause confusion and error in regard to that doctrine, he has succeeded in keeping men in their sin and under divine judgment and condemnation, which the unredeemed will one day share with Satan and his demonic angels in the eternal torment of hell.”
What we can learn is that 500 years after the doctrine of grace through faith turned the world upside down, men are easily swayed to a different gospel:
“For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Cor 11:4)