Pastor David B. Curtis

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The Reformation

Church History

Delivered 10/28/2012

This Wednesday is the anniversary of a very important date in history. Do you know what it is? October 31, 1517 is the date which is recognized as the beginning of The Reformation. This was the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg.

On our web site in the "About us" section that gives some distinctive characteristics of Berean Bible Church it says, First of all, we are reformed in the way that we view the world and the Bible. This means that we consider ourselves to have historically descended from those churches of the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. We believe in the absolute sovereignty of the Almighty God, "Sola fide" (salvation by grace through faith alone) and "Sola Scriptura" (the Scriptures alone). So we think that The Reformation was very important.

How you view The Reformation will depend on your theological persuasion. Roman Catholic historians interpret The Reformation as a heresy inspired by Martin Luther. While Protestant historians — such as Schaff, Grimm, and Bainton — interpret The Reformation largely as a religious movement that sought to recover the purity of the primitive Christianity that is depicted in the New Testament.

The Reformers sought to develop a theology that was in complete accord with the New Testament and believed that this could never be a reality as long as the church, instead of the Bible, was made the final authority. The Reformation proper began on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the church door.

Martin Luther is one of the most influential figures in Western history. His writings were responsible for fractionalizing the Catholic Church and sparking the Protestant Reformation. His central teachings, that the Bible is the central source of religious authority and that salvation is reached through faith and not deeds, shaped the core of Protestantism.

Church history is a subject that few twenty first century Americans know much about. Martin Lloyd Jones said, "Fortunately, we are not the first people who have been engaged in this battle (Christian life) and there is nothing which can be of greater help to us, next to the Scriptures, than the History of the Church." So, let's look at the history of Luther and The Reformation and see what we can learn.

Martin Luther was born November 10, 1483 in Germany. He attended school at Mansfeld, at Magdeburg under the Brethren of the Common Life, and at Eisleben. He then went to the University at Erfurt (1501), where he came under Nominalist influence and learned Greek, graduating B.A. in 1502 and M.A. in 1505. His father wanted him to study law, but in 1505 Luther became frightened during a severe thunderstorm on the road near Stotternheim and promised Saint Anne that he would become a monk if he were spared. About two weeks later, he entered a monastery of the Augustinian order at Erfurt. Here in 1507, he was ordained and celebrated his first mass.

In 1511, Luther was transferred to Wittenberg. During the next year he became a professor of Bible and received his Doctor of Theology degree. Luther at this time was still unconverted.

In his lectures from 1513 to 1515, he expounded the Psalms. Around 1515 he began to expound the book of Romans. It was in 1515 that Luther had what he called the "Tower Experience."He said that Romans 1:17 just jumped out of the Scriptures and brought him to God. Romans 1:17 was his key verse:

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." Romans 1:17 NASB

It convicted him that only faith in Christ could make one just before God. From that time on Sola Fide — justification by faith alone, and Sola Scriptura — the idea that the Scriptures are the only authority for sinful man in seeking salvation — became the main points in his theological system.

He came to realize that God's righteousness in Romans 1 is not the justice that we have to fear, but the positive righteousness that God gives believers in Christ — it is a righteousness they receive by personally trusting in Christ.

He began to understand that the Roman Catholic Church did not square with the Scriptures. As he hears confessions at Wittenberg, he hears that people are trusting in their works and trusting also in their indulgence letters.

Archbishop Albert of Brandenburg, through a series of circumstances, wound up in some high offices in the church; technically he was not eligible for these high offices because of his age. Also, church law forbade multiple occupation of high ecclesiastical offices by one person. But the pope agreed to overlook the legal problems if Albert would pay him a huge sum of money. Albert borrowed the money from the wealthy and powerful Fugger banking house of Augsburg. Then, to enable Albert to raise money to pay his debts, and to raise money to build the new St. Peter's Church in Rome, Pope Leo X authorized an "indulgence," which Albert was permitted to have preached and sold in his dioceses.

An indulgence was an official church provision by which a penitent sinner could purchase from the pope a remission of the punishment for temporal sins — sins that would otherwise have to be atoned for in purgatory. Indulgence benefits were even extended to departed souls supposedly already in purgatory.

The Roman Catholic Church taught that Yeshua's merit covered sin in a certain sense, but there also was a penalty that you must pay, and God punished you either in this life or in purgatory. So, the indulgence was a means to get rid of that penalty. In Roman Catholicism, purgatory is the place of cleansing after death, usually imagined to involve punishment and suffering. According to this doctrine, Christians go to purgatory to be purified of venial sins that were unconfessed and unforgiven on earth. After the appropriate cleansing has taken place, the soul is ready to be received into heaven. Indulgences, masses, and prayers for the dead can speed the cleansing process and reduce the time in purgatory. Let me just say here that purgatory is NOT Biblical! It is an invention of man.

Albert commissioned a Dominican monk, John Tetzel, as the indulgence preacher. Tetzel was selling indulgence letters throughout Germany. His crassly mercenary sermons were successful in filling church coffers. His slogan was, "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul into heaven springs." Fifty percent of the money he raised was used to build St. Peters cathedral in Rome. Tetzel preached that by buying indulgences, you could buy a relative out of purgatory into heaven.

Now you might be thinking, "How could people fall for this nonsense?" Prior to the Reformation, the Scriptures were not translated into the people's language. When you went to church for the mass, the whole thing was done in Latin. There was no Bible to speak of in the hands of the people. The only contact the people had with the Bible was from what was read by the priests in Latin. Consequently, nobody understood it, and nobody read it, except for the priests, who would expound upon this Latin text. The people would simply believe whatever the priest said, because they had no basis by which to evaluate: They couldn't read the Latin, let alone interpret it. So they accepted what the priest said.

Century after century went by in this way with the Roman Catholic Church having developed a system which was never really investigated by the people, mainly because they didn't have the Bible in their own language. The people had unquestioningly accepted the priestly interpretations and conformity to the system of Rome. What the Reformation did more than anything else was give the Bible to the people. It put the Word of God in the people's hands. When they began to read the Scripture, then many began to see the false teaching and the misrepresentation of the Gospel that had been given to them for centuries. It was the truth of the Gospel that helped to shatter the Dark Ages, and Protestant Christianity, as we know it today, was born out of that. And today, we have the Bible in our own languages and are, therefore, able to evaluate the validity of any religious system by the Bible's divine standard.

When Luther discovered what was going on with Tetzel and the indulgences, he drafted his famous 95 Theses. On October 31, 1517, Luther posted his Theses on the door of the Caste l Church in Wittenberg. In them he condemned the abuses of the indulgence system and challenged all comers to debate on the matter.

Number 27 of the 95 Theses said, "Those who assert that a soul straightway flies out of purgatory as a coin tinkles in the collection box, are preaching an invention of man."

Number 32 said, "Those who think themselves sure of salvation through letters of pardon, will be damned forever with their teachers."

In 14 days, Martin Luther's theses had spread all over Germany. Just 100 years earlier Huss had been burned at the stake for saying things not far distant from Luther.

When translated and widely circulated, these theses brought an explosion of anti-church feeling that wrecked the indulgence. Given practical application in this way, Luther's theology could no longer go unnoticed, and he came at once under ecclesiastical pressures ranging from attempts at intimidation to promised favors for compliance.

Early in 1521 a bill of excommunication was prepared that, if carried out, would have deprived Luther of civil rights and protection. Before its execution, Charles V agreed to give Luther the chance to recant at the diet to be held at Worms. Here, Luther made his resounding confession before the emperor, princes, and other rulers: "I ask for the Scriptures and Ek offers me the fathers. I ask for the Sun, and he shows me his lanterns. I ask, 'Where is your Scriptural proof?' And he adduces Ambrose and Cyril. With all due respect to the Fathers, I prefer the authority of the Scripture."

Charles V said to Luther, "One friar who goes counter to all Christianity for 1,000 years must be wrong." Luther replied, "My conscience is captive to the Word of God . . Here I stand, I can do no other." Luther went against the corrupt Christianity of the day, but he stuck to the Scripture. Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura were the cry of The Reformation.

Luther said that only Erasmus knew what the real issue in The Reformation was, and it was the issue of the bondage of the will.

Erasmus was Europe's most famous philosopher, and he and Luther debated on the question of whether or not the human creature has the freedom to accept or to refuse divine grace. The issue was: Do we have "free will"? This debate was not new; in the fifth century Augustine and Pelagius debated the same issue, and Pelagius' views were condemned at the Church Council of Ephesus in 431.

Erasmus published a Diatribe on Free Will (1524). To this, Luther made a sharp and almost scornful reply in his Bondage of the Will (1525). This work is a powerful statement of the Augustinian position that in matters of right conduct and salvation, the will has no power to act apart from the divine initiative.

Luther taught that man, because of the fall, was so bound by sin that he could not of himself do anything to avail himself to get out of the situation, but that God must do it. This is what is called the Doctrine of "Total Depravity." Luther believes that man has the power of choice, but that the will of man was not free.

Luther and Erasmus disagreed. Erasmus taught that the will of man was always able to choose good or evil. Luther accused Erasmus of Epicurianism — the idea that the universe is basically chance. It teaches that God hasn't foreordained everything. Luther said that Erasmus taught an indeterminate God, a God that hasn't determined everything. That was semi-plaginism. Luther said that this was not only heresy but blasphemy. And more than blasphemy, it was atheism. Because if God is not totally in control of everything, He's not God. He said that Erasmus' god didn't exist, and that he was teaching a form of atheism.

Luther believed that after the fall, man's will was a selfish sinful will. Man could choose — he was uncoerced, but man fallen had no desire for anything except the evil, and as long as he is inclined only to evil, he chooses only evil. Edwards, in his essay, "The Freedom of the Will," wrote that all men everywhere always act according to their strongest inclination at any given time. After the fall, the Bible teaches that man's strongest inclination at any given moment is always to sin. Fallen man loves darkness (sin) and he hates light, so whenever he is confronted with a choice between darkness and light, he chooses darkness. He chooses what is attractive to him.

"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. "For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. John 3:19-20 NASB

A person always chooses according to his strongest inclination, he is in bondage to choose what he loves. Now, you might ask, "Where is the bondage in choosing what we love and want?" The bondage comes in the result of the sin he loves, the consequences of sin he doesn't like. He wants to live forever; he wants joy, love, peace; but he hates righteousness.

Look with me at Zechariah 1, which is a call to Israel to return to the LORD.

In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo saying, "The LORD was very angry with your fathers. "Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Return to Me," declares the LORD of hosts, "that I may return to you," says the LORD of hosts. "Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds."' But they did not listen or give heed to Me," declares the LORD. Zechariah 1:1-4 NASB

Commenting on these verses, Luther said, "It is not in your power to turn to God. If you think that it is in your power to turn to God, you have missed the whole point of The Reformation and don't understand total depravity. It is not in your power to turn to God. You are a sinner, you're dead, you're eaten up with corruption. Every choice of yours is evil and not good. So how can we turn to Him who is light, righteousness, holy, and good?"

Luther taught that you have a duty to return to God, but you do not have the ability. RESPONSIBILITY DOES NOT IMPLY ABILITY!

"While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light." These things Yeshua spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. John 12:36 NASB

Yeshua said "believe in the light." Most believers today would say that because Christ commands us to believe, we must be able to believe. That is not correct! Look at the following verses.

But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?" For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, John 12:37-39 NASB

They did not believe because they could not believe. Notice what Yeshua said earlier in John's Gospel:

"But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. John 10:26-29 NASB

Why did they not believe? They didn't believe because they did not belong to Yeshua. They had not been given to Him by the Father. So they could not believe. Scripture states dogmatically some things that a lost man cannot do:

Man cannot see or perceive the kingdom of God — until he first be born again:

Yeshua answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 NASB

Man cannot understand spiritual things — until he is first given spiritual life:

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB

The natural man is man without the Spirit. Man cannot come to God — until he first be effectually called by the Holy Spirit:

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44 NASB

Some have tried to interpret the word "draw" here as "call or invite." But this is not what the word "draw" means. The Greek word translated "draw" is helkuo, which means: "to drag." It is used eight times in the New Testament. To understand what it means, let's look at a few of its uses:

Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus. John 18:10 NASB

The word "drew" is helkuo; does "call or invite" make any sense here? Did Peter invite or call his sword to come out? No! He grabbed it, and pulled it out.

But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities, Acts 16:19 NASB

The word "dragged" is helkuo; does "call or invite" make any sense here? They did not invite Paul and Silas to the market place, they grabbed them and dragged them.

But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? James 2:6 NASB

The word "drag" is helkuo. The usage of this word makes it very clear that helkuo means: "to draw by irresistible superiority." Please take the time to look up all eight uses of helkuo in the New Testament. They all have the idea of dragging, not inviting or calling.

Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. John 21:11 NASB

The word "drew" is helkuo. Do you think that Peter invited the net full of fish to the land?

There, I gave you five of the eight so you only have three to look up on your own. Be Bereans and look them up. I have seen many Arminians fall on this verse.

So, in John 6:44 Yeshua is saying that no one can come to Him "...unless the Father who sent Me draws him!" This is what Calvinists call "Irresistible Grace or Sovereign Grace." It is not that God drags those who don't want to come. It is that God makes willing by His grace. In regeneration, God gives us spiritual life, which includes a desire for Him. If God gives us a desire for Christ, we will act according to that desire, and we will choose Christ.

A sinner absolutely cannot (notice it is not "will") come to Christ until God first does something in that sinner's nature. That "something" is what the Bible calls "regeneration," or the new birth, and it is the exclusive work of God, the Holy Spirit. Man has no part whatever in regeneration. In John 11, Yeshua commands Lazarus to come forth out of the grave:

When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." John 11:43 NASB

Did Lazarus have the ability in himself to obey that command? No, he was dead! He had no ability at all. Unsaved man, natural man, has a duty to believe the Gospel, but he does not have the ability.

Since The Reformation, people have departed from the sovereignty of grace. Most professing Christians are not, but of those who really are Christians most have departed from The Reformation in this way. All of the Reformers — Luther, Calvin, Zwingly, Knox, Cramner; the German reformer, the Swiss reformer, the French reformer, the Scottish reformer, the English reformer — everyone of them believed not only in Grace, but Sovereign grace. The majority of believers today try to have the grace without the Sovereignty of the grace. Evangelical Christianity is trying to hold on to grace provided, while rejecting grace applied. Grace proves irresistible just because it destroys the disposition to resist.

Why does God command us to do what we cannot do? To show us how depraved we are, to show us the depth of our depravity. The foundation of reformed theology is the Doctrine of Total Depravity. Many people think they have trouble with the Doctrines of Election and Predestination but their real problem is they don't understand how depraved we really are. When God commands us to return and promises that if we do return to Him He will return to us; we won't do it, we can't do it. We are in bondage to what we love, which is darkness and evil. And we reject what we hate, which is light and goodness and God. We should be able to turn to God, but we are not because of our choice to disobey God in The Garden. We all chose in Adam to turn away from God:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned — Romans 5:12 NASB

We all made a choice in The Garden to turn away from God. This act has left all of us spiritually dead. Let me just say a word to those Preterists who think that election was something that ended in A.D. 70. Why did God use to have to draw dead men to Himself but now He doesn't? What has changed? Is man no longer spiritually dead? And if he is not, what is his condition? Are men no longer born in sin and separated from God? If they are not, then they don't need a Savior. Where in Scripture does it state or imply that man apart from Christ is no longer dead in sin after A.D. 70?

The very fact that God commands us to do that which we are utterly unable, morally unable, to do shows how totally depraved we are. And if salvation is going to come at all, it's going to be applied Sovereignly. This overthrows self-confidence and convinces sinners that their salvation is altogether out of their hands and shuts them up to a self-despairing dependency on the glorious grace of a Sovereign Savior.

The nature of the human will:

The will is the faculty of choice, the immediate cause of all action. You think about something, and then you do it. In every act of the will there is a preference, the desiring of one thing rather than another. To will is to choose, and to choose is to decide between two or more alternatives. But there is something which influences the choice. The will is not causative because something causes it to choose, therefore, that something must be the causative agent.

What is it that determines the will? If the will is not causative, then what is it that causes you to make a choice? Let's say that your boss comes to you and says, "You're going to California." You don't have a choice if you want to keep your job. But he says, "Would you like to drive or fly?" He is giving you a choice. What determines which option you choose? What determines your choice is the strongest motive power which is brought to bear upon it. With one, it may be the logic of reason — if I drive, it will take me five days, and if I fly, it will only take me about five hours. I choose to fly. With another, it may be the impulse of emotion — there are a lot of plane crashes and I'm not ready to die, so I'll drive. What you think causes you to will. Which ever of these presents the strongest motive power and exerts the greatest influence upon us, is that which impels the will to act.

In other words, the action of the will is determined by the mind or heart. The will is not free, but is in bondage to the heart. The Word of God teaches that it is the heart which is the dominating center of our being:

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 NASB

The Complete Jewish Bible puts it this way:

Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life's consequences. Proverbs 4:23 CJB

Our choices are determined by our desires. When we have conflicting desires, which ever desire is greater at the time of decision is the desire I will choose.

Example: What causes a person to overeat? Your mind, your thinking, will determine your choice. If your desire at the moment is self gratification, you will eat what ever you want. But if your desire to maintain a healthy weight is stronger, you will not overeat. The condition of our hearts will determine our choices. If we don't think being overweight is bad for us, then we will continue to over indulge. J. Edwards defined the will as, "the mind choosing."

Let's carry this idea of the will to the non-regenerate. Does the lost person have a free will to choose God or reject Him? By and far the majority of the church today believes that the lost person has a free will. The church, during the days of The Reformation, held that man had no free will. In the eighteenth century, Campbell, a Scottish preacher, was excommunicated from the church for teaching that man had a free will. The church today is man-centered, so they want man to be able to determine his own destiny. Does the lost man have a free will? No! He can not choose God because he loves sin and hates God; he has no desire for Him. He cannot choose what he does not desire. He does not desire God because his heart is dead in sin. Until God changes his heart through a supernatural sovereign act, he cannot choose God.

Luther was committed to total depravity, that man could not choose God, as was Calvin. As we go backward in time, we see that Augustine taught the same thing in the fifth century. Augustine said, "Man's will is entirely corrupted by the fall so that he must be considered totally depraved and unable to exercise his will in regard to the matter of salvation." The reformers taught it in the 16th century, Augustine taught it in the 5th century, and the apostles taught it in the 1st century:

as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE." Romans 3:10-12 NASB

"There is none who does good." People will admit they're sinners, but not many will admit sin is this serious. Is there really none who do good? We see unbelievers doing good every day: obeying laws, providing for their families, giving to the needy. Is Paul using hyperbole here? Is he exaggerating to make his point? No! This is God's judgement on fallen man. What is the standard for good; the standard by which we shall all be judged? God's law. God doesn't grade on a curve. He demands perfection. We do not do what God commands ever:

THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; Romans 3:11 NASB

Do you believe that? Have you ever heard someone say, "They're not a Christian but they are searching." I've got news for you — God is not hiding. In the Garden of Eden, who hid? God? No! Adam and Eve hid from God, He was looking for them.

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10 NASB

Yeshua is the one seeking and saving. People don't seek God. They might seek after the benefits that God can give them, but they don't seek God, Himself. There is nothing good in the flesh, it can do nothing good. We cannot believe the Gospel until God gives us life. The teaching of The Reformation is: "Regeneration precedes faith." We must have life before we can believe. The Scriptures clearly show that faith is the evidence and not the cause of regeneration:

Whoever believes that Yeshua is the Christ is [has been] born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 1 John 5:1 NASB

The Greek text reads: "Everyone who believes that Yeshua is the Christ has been [perfect tense] born of God." Wuest translates it: "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ, out from God has been born and as a result is His child." Law said, "The Divine begetting is the antecedent [go before] not the consequent of the believing." Yeshua stated this concept in:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24 NASB

The one who believes does so because he has been given eternal life.

Spiritual death brings an insensitivity to the things of God. It is a spiritual slavery, the prisoners of which are helpless. This is the Doctrine of Total Depravity. It does not mean, as many have misunderstood, that man is as bad as he can possibly be. It means that man is as bad off as he can possibly be. The bottom line is this: Our hope does not lie in our own will. It is our will that has got us lost! We are all sure for condemnation unless God would somehow incline our wills in the opposite direction. We must have a Savior who is mighty enough to rescue us from ourselves. Clearly, God must do something. We've made our choice; our will has spoken. We are hopelessly lost — unless God will choose otherwise. This is the Doctrine of Total Depravity.

The famous Baptist preacher, C. H. Spurgeon wrote:

I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the Gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the Gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the Gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ brought out upon the cross.

It is also my conviction that Calvinism is biblical and is the true Gospel. The church today is being flooded with a new Gospel, a humanistic Gospel.

The Gospel is always and essentially a proclamation of Divine sovereignty in mercy and judgement. It is a summons to bow down and worship the mighty Lord on whom man depends for all good, both in nature and grace. Its center of reference is God. But in the new Gospel, the center of reference is man: You choose, you decide, you initiate salvation. The chief aim of the Gospel was to teach men to worship God, but the concern of the new Gospel seems limited to making them feel better. The Gospel is — God Saves Sinners! If we understand "total depravity" then we will understand that our salvation is a gift from God. Then God, and not man, receives all the glory in salvation:

to the only wise God, through Yeshua the Messiah, be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 16:27 NASB

Let me say in closing that I believe that there is a new reformation under way and it also stands on Sola Scriptura — the Scriptures alone. It is the Preterist Reformation. This new reformation is stating, "Everything Yeshua said would happen, happened exactly as and when He said it would — within the lifetime of His generation. And everything every New Testament writer expected to happen, happened exactly as, and when, they expected it would — within their lifetime. Unlike Luther's time, people today have Bibles, everyone has a Bible. Our problem is we don't read them. We have got to encourage people to read their Bibles in light of audience relevance. The New Testament was written two thousand years ago to people at that time. If we can get them to do this, they will see the truth of a first century coming and fulfillment of all the promises. May Yahweh help us all to be facilitators of this "new reformation."

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