Baptists and Reformation Day


This was originally posted on Facebook. It went a lot farther than I wanted, but it started what I think is a good conversation. I think it’s a conversation that should be had, but this is a better place than Facebook to have it. So, I am going to paste my original post and then try to paste each comment that was made so that the whole conversation is here and can be continued here if anyone desires. I’m also putting it here because I think there are people who don’t use Facebook that could contribute to the conversation.

—original Facebook post—

I’m a Baptist, but I won’t deny that God used many leaders of the Reformation to break the chains that the Roman church had on the Western world. Of course, the Baptists were always there, but they weren’t the ones God used to give tremendous numbers of new liberties to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world. While many Reformers did persecute Baptists, we have also gained many freedoms because of their work. No freedoms were gained because of the Roman church’s work.

Today is a day to thank God for the liberties He gave us through the efforts of men we disagree with 🙂 —through men who sometimes persecuted our forefathers. Like it or not, we (Baptists) wouldn’t be where we are without the work of the Reformers.

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7 Comments

  1. I tried to be careful with the words that I chose, but I believe some read more than what I wrote. I tried to say that I am thankful for the freedoms we have today that God used Reformers to give us.

    I don’t know what BJ ecclesiology is, but I tried to make the point that, in His Providence, God used these men to give the world certain liberties that it did not have before. First of which, is the Bible in the common tongue. I know that people were making common language translations, but the ones that we use…, that have been most used…, like the KJB, were done by people we would call Protestants.

    Just like God used men like Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson to help give America freedom, He used these men we Baptist call heretics to give the world the Bible in its own language. And from that, the technological, medical, governmental and educational advancements that we’ve seen since the 1500s.

    A few things were read into my words…. 1) I said nothing about their theology, except that we disagree with them…. 2) I did not say we would not be here; I said we wouldn’t be where we are. We’re here by the grace of God, we’re where we are, in part, because God used the Reformers to break the stranglehold that the Roman Church had on the world.

    So…, this post is about History, not Ecclesiology. God used men who did not understand and even hated Baptist doctrine–especially Baptist church doctrine (ecclesiology)–to break the chains of Romanism.

    I guess I’m just thankful that I don’t live in a Roman Catholic world, where the only spiritual thing I hear is in some language I do not know, and my king has to stand in snow for three days to make amends to some wicked man called a pope. It’s history, not ecclesiology.

  2. Hello Jeff. You can address me. No need to say “some.” I like Fairhaven.

    Sincere ?s. Does Reformation Day promote what you’ve described or does it promote the heresy and heretics? If not, why pick today to celebrate such things?
    Today is about the “Reverend Father Luther” and His 95 Theses. That’s the reason it’s called Reformation Day. Luther and his theology. Luther did not want to break from the RCC, he wanted to reform it. Have you read them? They were not a declaration of religious liberty from Rome.

    Truth is that young Baptists today need no help accepting Protestants as their forefathers and Calvinism and Allegoricalism as their theology.

    Every time a Baptist preacher praises them another nail goes into the Baptist history coffin. They sure know who Luther and Calvin are but ask them who Shubal Stearns is and watch them scratch their heads!

    And come on, you went to BJ, you know what their ecclesiology is. 😀

    1. Pastor Rogers, I did not address you at first, because I thought that my further explanation should be part of the original post. And, I went to summer school in BJU’s School of Education. I did not have one Bible or Religion class from them and we didn’t discuss those things in the classes I had.

      Sincere answers. I don’t know what Reformation Day promotes. I only know that October 31st is the day that the world looks at and recognizes as the beginning of the Reformation and end of Romish domination in all aspects of life. Just like the world looks at July 4th as the day the Declaration of Independence was signed, and it didn’t technically happen on that day. For me, they both represent the progress of liberty.

      Your next line is a statement, not a question. If I have, I don’t remember what Luther’s Theses said. Evidently, what they declared and what happened over the years after are different things. I guess I’m not ready to deny what happened in history, AND I believe God is in control of all history.

      I tried to be careful not to praise any reformers. I praise God for what he has done. And God uses whomever he pleases.

      Finally, I know a LOT more about Shubal Stearns, Sandy Creek, etc. than I do about Luther or Calvin

      A sincere question, really: When would you celebrate the world’s liberation from Romanism and the introduction of being able to read the Bible in our own language? It happened sometime in history. And it was a wonderful event that God orchestrated.

    2. Hello Brother. Here’s Tom Ross’ good summary of the 95 Theses. Others have critiqued them as well.

      As far as when I would celebrate the world’s liberation from Rome? well I’m not sure that is a necessity. I’m also not sure Catholicism’s hold on this world is over. I believe it will rise again and give way to the AntiChrist Kingdom. I witnessed to a Roman Catholic today, steeped in the religion, which in my view, is much more bondage than the imprisonment of the past. I’m pretty sure the Baptists of the past didn’t take time to celebrate Luther’s 95 these and the supposed liberty they brought. They remained on the run preaching the Gospel and planting churches.

      I guess the way I look at it is if I loved candy, I wouldn’t post how much I was thanking the Lord for candy and celebrating by giving my kids a bunch on Halloween. Obviously, it would give an appearance I was participating in and endorsing something I was completely against. Besides, seems like every day is some kind of special day anymore. That takes away the whole idea of a special day in my view.

  3. Brother Rogers, I noticed a reply on one of your facebook posts that helped me understand where we differ on this topic. I thought that Reformation Day was about the Reformation—something that took a long time, and that we are still enjoying the benefits of today. You state that Reformation Day is about Martin Luther and his 95 Theses. So…, I can see that it would be foolish to celebrate Martin Luther’s one act of writing and posting his 95 Theses. Especially, since I haven’t read them and don’t know what they say.

    On that point, I will read what they say. I find that Thomas Ross has not done his usual thoroughness in the post you linked to. He refers to 15 of the Theses. That is nearing 20% percent of them. What do the other 80 say? I’m going to read them and report back.

    Regular readers of this blog (both of them) will know that it will take a long time to get to that. Since I’m busy (as you are also) doing the work of Christ with people here at our church.

    Thank you for your prodding. It is a true proverb (of course): Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

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