A Study in Deformation: Or, How Luther’s Reformation was a High-Water Mark in Church History

October 10, in the year of our Lord . . .
1560 – Birth of Jacob Arminius, the Dutch theologian from whose writings and doctrines Protestants opposed to Calvinism have since been called “Arminians.”
1821Charles Finney, 29, claimed to have received “a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost,” and was converted to a Christian faith. Finney soon abandoned his pursuit of law and embarked on a 50-year career in evangelism and higher education. Wanna read something really scary???
I read that Luther once remarked, “We’re all natural born Pelagians.” Errors such as those taught by the figures above, for whom today is an anniversary of one sort or other, tend to move toward the kinds of thinking which Pelagius pioneered in the fourth century. The following list of eras in church history (the years are my estimates) is offered to demonstrate how Luther’s Reformation was a high-water mark in Church history.

AD30-500 The Age of Formation (Apostolic/Post-Apostolic Period)
AD501-1517 The Age of Deformation (Dark Ages/Medieval Period)
AD 1517-1700? The Age of Reformation (Renaissance/Reformation)
AD 1701-1900 Return to Deformation (Enlightenment/Rationalism/Revivalism)
AD 1901-1950? More Deformation (Modernism/Rise of Extremist Fundamentalism)
AD 1951-Present Still More Deformation (Decline of Extremist Fundamentalism, Post-Modernism/New Age/Inter-Faith Ecumenism)
Notwithstanding all of the above, in keeping with the ways of God, a remnant of Reformed truth is found in each era; pray that Reformation and God-sent (not man-generated) Revival will ascend again to more widespread influence for the glory of God and the good of his people!

3 responses

  1. 1 Kings 19-

    14 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 15 And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

    There has not only been a remnant, but there has always been Reformation. Even if it was a Reformation of one (athanasius) or 8 with Noah- but there has always been a Remnant and a REFORMATION!

  2. Your point well taken, Gage. But of course, you realize that these are not hard and fast categories, just some Reformed guy’s homiletics to make the Reformation the overall gold standard of sound theology, which it is!

  3. I think what you find is not only do individuals grow in sancitfication, God is sanctifying the Church as a whole as well. We ebb and flow moving in and out better times, yet we’re ever being moved towards the unblemished Bride.

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