Chapter 4

 

The Reformation

To the Reformation thinkers, authority was not divided between the Bible and the church. The church was under the teaching of the Bible.

  • The High Renaissance in the south and the Reformation in the north must always be considered side by side. They dealt with the same basic problems, but they gave completely opposite answers and brought forth completely opposite results.
  • To the Reformation thinkers, authority was not divided between the Bible and the church. The church was under the teaching of the Bible–not above and not equal to it. It was Sola Scriptura, the Scriptures only.
  • At its core, the Reformation was the removing of the humanistic distortions which had entered the church.
  • The Reformers went back to the teaching of the Bible and the early church and removed the humanistic elements which had been added. The individual person, they taught, could come to God directly by faith through the finished work of Christ. That is, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was of infinite value, and people cannot do and need not do anything to earn or add to Christ’s work. But this can be accepted as an unearned gift. It was Sola Gratia, grace only.
  • In 1860, Jacob Burckhardt in The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy indicated that freedom was introduced to man in the north by the Reformation and in the south by the Renaissance. But in the south it went to license; in the north it did not.  The reason was that in Renaissance humanism man had no way to bring forth a meaning to the particulars of life and no place from which to get absolutes in morals. But in the north, the people of the Reformation, standing under the teaching of Scripture, had freedom and yet at the same time compelling absolute values.

Cover Photo: Statue of Martin Luther in Dresden, Germany

This post contains quoted and paraphrased passages of How Should We Then Live? by Francis A. Schaeffer. 50th L’Abri Anniversary Edition, © 2005 by Crossway Books.
 

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