Archive for November, 2017

An open letter to Archbishop Justin Welby

Dear Archbishop Justin Welby,

Earlier this year I read with interest your “Statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York” concerning your prayer for unity and the call on Christians to repent for the Reformation split. I have repeatedly delayed myself from giving any response, because I have sought to understand properly the things that have been said.

Firstly, I would like to point out that any call for persons alive today to repent of the past, is a logical fallacy. A living person cannot repent for something he or she never did. A person is only responsible for what he or she has done and what they will do in the future.

Secondly, a Scriptural definition of the word “repent” means to ‘change ones mind‘ and sometimes refers to ‘expressing sorrow’ of wickedness and turning away from it.

With these two points in mind, I seek to ask you what it is that you would like Christians like myself to repent of? and how can any Christian repent of something that might not be a sin in the first place? Is the primary focus on how we deal with divisions within Christianity or on the divisions themselves? Or is the primary focus upon the larger agenda to reunite the Church of England with the Roman Catholic Church?

I think the answer may well be both, but with a primary emphasis upon the latter!

May I remind you that during the 16th century German Reformation, it was Rome which excommunicated Luther and not Luther Rome. If Christians have common ground with Roman Catholicism, then what was it about the doctrines of Faith alone and Scripture alone that Rome despised so much? The positions seem quite Biblical to me!

I am reminded of Paul’s warning to Timothy “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Timothy 4: 16) These words when translated in the KJV give a distinct warning, not concerning love, but doctrine.

In the statement it is worded; “We therefore call on all Christians to seek to be renewed and united in the truth of the gospel of Christ through our participation in the Reformation Anniversary, to repent of divisions, and, held together in Him, to be a blessing to the world in obedience to Jesus Christ.” Thus, while I do not disagree with the entire statement, I cannot agree with all of it when the context is measured with Scripture, because a Christian who holds to Scripture cannot repent of divisions that are caused by those who deny the Bible.

A true united Church can only  be united to the truth of the Gospel when the Gospel is not denied by those who claim to represent it. But when establishments such as the Pope’s church deny the Scripture, how can those who love the Truth be at one with those who don’t? Can light mix with darkness?

Archbishop, though you may or may not see it, and I’m sure you have, close examinations have been done concerning the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, and studies show the Pope’s church is little more than an apostate works based religion. Thus in the face of Scripture, it becomes clear that the Pope’s church does not believe the true Gospel of grace alone.

In the preface of a 19th century copy of of ‘Foxe’s Book of Martyrs’ there is a distinct warning. It reads like so;

Rome is labouring, with redoubled effort, for the subjection of Britain. She attacks us openly from without, while there are traitors ready to open our gates from within. And the people have forgotten that she is a siren who enchants but to destroy. It is time that the mask should be torn from her face, and that she should be recognised once more as “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the Earth” (Rev. XV11. 5)

Thus, I ask you; why should Christians repent of the divisions made by the Pope’s establishment and the stance the Reformers held that the true character of Rome’s tyrannical apostasy was something that the people of Britain and Europe had been so mercifully rescued from during the Reformation? Is the blood of the martyrs not enough to show that the true face of Pope’s church was shown by her own acts? Is a tree not to be measured according to its fruits?

Sir, I believe you are a true Christian and I hope to warn you that religion is something that rarely changes, and there are good reasons why the Holy Spirit has warned us in the New Testament concerning deception in the church perhaps more than any other topic.

Please think it possible, that while your intentions may well be good, you may also be mistaken.

Simon Peter Sutherland

November 5, 2017

 

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What has the Reformation given us?

Martin Luther © 2017 Simon Peter Sutherland

Martin Luther © 2017 Simon Peter Sutherland

On the evening of the anniversary of the Reformation, I attended an exhibition, debate and discussion at John Rylands Library.

The night began appropriately with the printing of indulgences (on an antique printing press) accompanied with music and an exhibition of artefacts and books from the reformation era. These artefacts included original handwritten and printed indulgences. A Tyndale New Testament and The practice of prelates and Luther on Galatians.

A summery toward the end of the evening focused upon what the reformation has given us today. Where would our world be if not for the Reformation?

This question is a good one and one that could possibly provide a never ending list. However, I have listed a few of the things I think are the direct results the Reformation has given the people of Britain and things inspired by the Reformation and the Theology and principles. These are things that we can be thankful for;

  • The New Testament published in the original Greek
  • The Bible in English
  • The Apocrypha in English
  • Chapters and verses of the New Testament
  • The old and modern English language
  • The Bible in multiple languages
  • The freedom to read the Bible for ourselves
  • The freedom to interpret the Bible
  • The liberty to believe
  • Hymnbooks
  • Music
  • Independent Churches & Congregations
  • Seats in Churches
  • The priesthood of all believers
  • Religious liberty
  • Freedom of speech
  • Puritan history
  • Democracy
  • Free education
  • The bank of England
  • The Wesleyan revivals
  • Novels
  • The abolition of the slave trade
  • Chetham’s Library, Manchester
  • John Rylands Library
  • Ongoing Bible translation

The list could go on…

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