Prolegomena: Once Upon A Time… There Was A Reformation!

What is pro·le·gom·e·na? To put it simply, and in the general sense, the Greek word “prolegomena” points to first words (Pro “before” + legein “to speak”). Words of introduction, words before a lecture, words before a story, words before a legend, these are all examples of prolegomena. Quite frankly, what you are reading right now is an example of prolegomena. These are the first words of the first “Wings And Revelations” blog post.

Admittedly, this is intentional… because of course, I am typing these words on purpose.

Enters the word pro·tol·o·gy. Hey, if one Greek word is good, then how about another? Protology is the study of origins, or first things. I have a passion for this one myself. Anything interesting, primarily in a successful way, is worthy of this type of study. Some of my favorite protology discovery questions are: Who started it? How did it start? Who said what? Then what happened? Of course, the more questions you ask, the more likely you are to progress from the study of first things, right on into the study of the thing itself. That’s okay too, because some things are more worthy of a second look, once you have more understanding of the facts surrounding their origins.

When it comes to “first words” some are just epically marvelous! Take for instance the words Once upon a time… These words are charged! These words lend themselves to the hearers imagination, perhaps even causing an ‘I’m on the edge of my seat’ anticipation. Any words that might follow these few and simple words, are charged with the potential of a burst of creativity. That being the case, most every culture or language has a similar version of “Once upon a time…” for the telling or retelling of a story.

Enters my Facebook post of October 31st 2014.

In memory of what is generally seen as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, I posted a fenceless image of the church doors at Wittenberg. Thanks in part to my image editing software, I was able to overcome a fence and attach to it a representation of the words that changed history.

All Saints’ Church, Wittenberg is where Martin Luther nailed the words to the door that brought light to a generation that was operating in a spiritual darkness.

Once upon a time…
there was a man named Martin Luther. This man, who started out as a Roman Catholic monk, was a theological professor, a Bible scholar and a linguist. He began to recognize abuses within the practices of the leadership of the Roman Catholic church. Practices that held the Catholic people in bondage, people that he so dearly loved. The more that Martin pressed toward God with his heart, and the more that he learned as he read the Bible, the more convinced he became that it was faith in Christ and obedience to God’s ways that brought the lifestyle changes that God expects us to walk in as followers of Jesus. This was in sharp contrast to the established ways of the papacy that included the selling of sin indulgences; a practice that by it’s very nature, actually derails any potential lifestyle changes.

As Martin gained knowledge of the word of God, and came into harmony with the Spirit of God, he realized that the very church he was a part of had made the word of God of none effect, by the traditions of men that had been established to fleece the sheep (Mark 7:13). This being the case, on October 31st of the year 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on “…the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Saxony. This was the catalyst that started the Protestant Reformation.  This act of placing the right words, in the right place, at the right time is where the Protestant Reformation begins.

The above subject matter is not solely about Martin Luther, but rather about the first things pertaining to the reformation; however, I would be negligent to not mention the flip side of the coin that bears Luther’s image. On the won side, by his words, the right words, in the right place, at the right time, he is credited with being the catalyst of the Reformation. On the other side of the coin, some of his latter writings were very wrong and were used to activate destructive forces. It was as a proverbial pendulum, as great and as far in the one direction that his former words helped to push a great weight towards liberating so many, his latter words brought a massive weight swinging back through Germany in the direction of bondage and destruction of multitudes of people. That is another topic for another time. This post is about first things regarding reformation, where humanity was then and where we are now.

We are Ripe for a  New Reformation!

The modern day equivalent of the selling of indulgences, are the hyper-grace doctrines that have slowly crept in unawares. Those teachings have the same negative effect as the sin indulgences being sold in the days of Johann Tetzel. He was the Pope’s chief indulgence salesman, just prior to the Reformation. The more insidious side of the modern day equivalent is the missing price tag. Instead of being sold with a price tag, the permissions that the hyper-grace preacher  grant in error to the indulges to sin, is seemingly granted with no price tag. However, truth reveals that the people who willingly buy into false doctrines do so at a great cost, even to the subverting of their own souls. The cost of buying into the wrong teachings is always way too costly! Paul, the man whose writings contributed to the New Testament more than any other author, gave us this following warning:

“For the time is coming when men will not tolerate wholesome teaching. They will want something to tickle their own fancies, and they will collect teachers who will pander to their own desires. They will no longer listen to the truth, but will wander off after man-made fictions.”  (2 Timothy 4:3,4 J.B. Phillips translation)

Those who buy into the greasy grace teachings, are being led astray. They are usually left with little evidence, if any, of the lifestyle change that comes from being in communion with God. The longer they persist in the ways of error, the more danger they are in that they could be cut off from God. That is of course, if they were ever reconciled to God in the first place. This then begs the question: Wouldn’t they want to be delivered from deception, especially if they belong to God? Whether they ever truly belonged to Christ, or not, those ensnared by a deception (a deceptive mindset) do not  know it, or else it would not be a deception. For there to be a deception, a falsehood is perceived to be a truth, i.e. a lie is believed. In that case the person ensnared by deception is living in bondage, all the while believing they are free. That is a type of wickedness (twistedness) that causes men to call evil good, and good evil. So to answer the begged question; no, they would not desire to be delivered from a lie that they believe to be true, not until they have realized that they believed a lie.

Those deceived must be reached with the truth. God’s word of truth, as found in the Holy Bible, can remove the blindness from their minds. This is what helps bring the motivation to desire deliverance to a living soul. Until their eyes are opened, those who are operating in a deception, believing that it is truth, may even fight to keep their deception… in the name of defending truth. It is up to us, the true followers of Christ, as truth bearers, to place the right words, in the right place, at the right time.

We are at a fullness of time moment in history. The atmosphere  is already charged for a new reformation. Here are some basic parallels between the 16th Century Reformation and where we are today.
1. There is an abundance of false doctrine, the same as there was at that time.
2. There are many people claiming leadership who are leading people astray by propagating the false doctrine of hyper-grace. That is the indulgence deception repackaged.
3. God desires to uphold the integrity of His word in His people. He will not tolerate the twisting of what He said or intended in His whole counsel,  forever. Just as in the days of Martin Luther GOD is looking for those of us who are willing to take a stand and speak the truth.
4. There are many true believers who are already breaking away from the herd mentality, and in spite of the undo criticism of others, we are speaking up.  God’s words must be clearly posted, and we must be ready to debate the issues pertaining to the souls of men and reason with them to the saving of their souls. Luther was not alone in that day, and neither are we in ours.

When the eyes of the captives are opened by truth, our numbers as true believers will grow exponentially. That is what happened during the Great Reformation and that is what is primed to happen again. Truly, “We are Ripe for a  New Reformation!”

The good news is that Jesus came to set the captives free, and we, His followers, have been commissioned to do the same. Let’s get strong together!

Thanks for reading my blog. There is more wisdom for me to share with you! Please consider subscribing to benefit your spiritual growth.

Brother James <><

James Dilley

 

One thought on “Prolegomena: Once Upon A Time… There Was A Reformation!

  1. Hi, I launched this ‘WordPress’ Blog on November 1st because I think it a significant act in relation to the content of this first post. For it was in the days that followed Martin Luther’s act of posting the “Ninety-Five Thesis,” that the Gutenberg Printing Press was used to disseminate the power of his words. “Printing Press”?… “WordPress”? … I’m sure you can see how this is a modern form of releasing information into the culture. As history has shown, and continues to show, media is a very useful tool; and in the right hands, it can be used to fan the flames of revival. Please feel free to share on your social networks. Thank you! Bless! Bless!

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