Back from Ireland with fresh purpose and energy……  The Church is alive and well in Derry, Northern Ireland UK.  God has big plans and a big future for the people of Derry.

Today’s one year Bible reading made me think of the Nicene Creed (325 a. d.) of all things…..  Romans 1:20;

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse!”

 

Believe it or not (no this is not Ripley’s) the Church has defined and refined its theology because of divisions.  Those people who have tried to introduce false teachings as in Galatia, actually have caused the body of Christ to grow closer in the truth of God’s word.  People hungered to know what we believed. Like the Philippian jailer’s question, “what must I do to be saved.”  They asked “what must I know to remain true to Christ’s body; the Church.  Creeds came from councils, simplifying Christian beliefs in a few lines.  These were learned and recited in services, so questions about who created everything, or is Jesus really God were spelled out and agreed upon.

Different or new ideas were not a matter of opinion.  These were foundational, Like Luther would say 1200 years later; “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”

And so, after much consideration, in the 4th century, the following was established to summarize the Christian faith and beliefs.  Years can be devoted to its detailed study and intricacies.  See How much of the Bible you see in it’s reading…

 

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven:

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen

 

Life without rules; by J Vernon Mcgee

Life Without Rules1220453459g8jBxn

Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1)

Timothy was not the son of Paul in a physical way. He was his spiritual son in the sense that it was under Paul’s ministry that this young man had turned to Christ. A child of God is born into God’s family by means of his faith in Christ. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23). Timothy is in the family of God, and he is a child of God.

I love this – “be strong in grace.” My friend, if you think that you can grit your teeth and go out and live the Christian life on your own, you’re in for a great disappointment. If you feel that you can follow a few little rules or some clever gimmicks to make you a mature Christian, then you have fallen into a subtle trap of legalism. Paul gives no rules, and the Word of God has no rules to tell the child of God how to live the Christian life. We are saved by grace, and now we are to live by the grace of God and be strong in that grace.

Let me give you an example from my boyhood. My dad traveled a great deal in his work, and he always put down a few rules for me to follow while he was away. Some of them I obeyed. I had to cut the wood, and I didn’t mind that. But my father had some other rules that I frankly didn’t go for. I hate to admit this, but one of those rules was that I should attend Sunday school. The interesting thing is that he never went himself, but he always made me go. Anyway, when he was away from home, I didn’t go. One time I was fishing, and he came home suddenly and found me. I had just pulled out a fish, turned around, and there stood my dad. He said, “Son, are you having any luck?” Well, my luck ran out right at that moment! I appealed to him and admitted that I had done wrong, and by grace he was good to me. I really took advantage of his good nature and the fact that I was his son.

My father died when I was fourteen, but now I have a heavenly Father, and I sure do appeal to His grace. When things go wrong down here, I go to Him and appeal to Him. When I fail, I don’t run from Him like I used to. I have found that when I am away from Him, the whipping He gives me hurts lots worse. I don’t want to get out at the end of that switch where it really stings. I come in close to Him, and the closer I am the less it hurts. I am a son of my heavenly Father. What a marvelous figure of speech!

When I hear Christians say, “I don’t do this, and I don’t do that, and I am following a set of rules,” I immediately recognize that they know very little about the grace of God. They are trying to live the Christian life in their own strength. But Paul says, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

–From Edited Messages on 2 Timothy by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Treasures in Heaven

There are some parts of the Bible preachers often avoid because people just don’t take to them to kindly. Besides there is so much to preach about anyway so why bring the tough things up, right? Right; and one such subject is family. Blood is thicker than water, family first. These are things that the world speaks of family and they are true and right and good! Who on earth would ever go against that idea of family first. That would be crazy.

Luke reports in chapter 14 (26-27) of Jesus addressing a large crowd following Him “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” He says a few more things to the crowd and moves on. These Jews lived on family relationships. Without them they would die. Take a look at Ruth. Go into the temple and read the lineage of anyone back to anyone. Family was The most important thing they had. You were WHO you were! Just ask a Jew about a Samaritan a gentile, a roman. It was easy to hate them, they weren’t family! But hate family, no, never, nohow, not in a million years!

We are so fond of sayings so I’ll use one here: “when one door shuts one door opens”. When you leave those attachments to this world and choose the better in Christ (the other door) he does indeed give you more, overflowing more. In love, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and yes treasures. Maybe not tangible treasures in this life, but treasures for eternity in Heaven. Those clothed in white who depart ahead of you who as David said of his dead son “ I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” That is what the body of Christ , the Church family, is; love. The love of Christ acted out every day in every situation in our lives, our actions, yes even our thoughts. By this shall all men know you are Mine, by your love of the Saints.

We celebrated the life of my mother Monday who passed away last Thursday. She was my first Christ in this world. She was my first gospel of grace. She was my first glimpse of love for others  (except the good chocolates, those were hers). I will miss her terribly for a short time and celebrate for eternity with her the salvation she made sure we were led to. And know that I will be celebrating with all those other saints that have placed their faith in Christ, and by grace have sought the true treasure in Heaven. 

Mom and meMom and me

A true Valentine

Before being hung for his faith, de Bres wrote his wife a still stirring letter that showed his resolve.  It goes as follows:

My dear and well-beloved wife in our Lord Jesus.valentines-day-1539Your grief and anguish are the cause of my writing you this letter. I most earnestly pray you not to be grieved beyond measure . . . . We knew when we married that we might not have many years together, and the Lord has graciously given us seven. If the Lord had wished us to live together longer, he could easily have caused it to be so. But such was not his pleasure. Let his good will be done . . . . Moreover, consider that I have not fallen into the hands of my enemies by chance, but by the providence of God . . . . All these considerations have made my heart glad and peaceful, and I pray you, my dear and faithful companion, to be glad with me, and to thank the good God for what he is doing, for he does nothing but what is altogether good and right . . . . I pray you then to be comforted in the Lord, to commit yourself and your affairs to him, he is the husband of the widow and the father of the fatherless, and he will never leave nor forsake you . . . .

Good-bye, Catherine, my well-beloved! I pray my God to comfort you, and give you resignation to his holy will. Your faithful husband, Guido de Brès.

The secret of his heroism. This is the deep spirituality of the Reformed Christians of the sixteenth century, which radiated the secret of his extraordinary courage and disregard of death. God said through faith. A faith that was based not on external evidence of miracles or historical evidence. These, according to the mood of the era, were rather on the side of their enemies. His faith lies only and solely on the value and inerrancy of Scripture, read, accepted and performed in a natural way. They argued, moreover, his great trust, submissive and patient, in the sovereignty of God, they had security for all events, good and bad, are permitted or ordained by God, and towards the good of those who love Him, in this life or the next, and to accept God’s plan and promote his glory is the ideal of all true Christians at all costs.

Who is Guido de Bres?

Who is Guido de Bres?

The flame of Truth

The flame of Truth

It is hard for us to imagine putting our lives on the line just to proclaim the gospel of salvation by grace alone.  Today we can easily confess, proclaim, preach, and pundittate almost any gospel you want without consequence.  But in the day you were NOT allowed to have any other beliefs than those of Rome.  In fact  there was something of an inquisition going on to try  and purge the world of this strange NEW doctrine of God’s grace.  One such saint that offered himself to the hangman was Guido de Bres.

How did he get there you ask?  In trying to show Philip King of Spain that this new (not really new) faith was not  against the crown, de Bres brought a copy of the  Belgic Confession of faith (which he authored), to him for approval.  And for standing on grace plus nothing for salvation, he was sentenced to death.  Below is an eye witness acount of the Martyrdom which occured on May 31, 1567. De Bres was hung for his faith after spending several weeks in the lowest part of a prison called Brunain in Valenciennes, which today is part of France. De Bres’ cell was the place where the prison sewage ended up.

Dear brothers,
We wish to inform you of the happy end of our two brothers and ministers, namely, Guy de Bres, and Peregrin De la Grange, who after having been held prisoners since the eleventh of April, 1567, until the last of May of the same year, were finally condemned to death, to be hung in the market place in front of the city hall.
During the time of their imprisonment they were happy in their bonds, not changing even at the end. For, when on the last Saturday of May, the provost came to tell them that at about three o’clock, so that they might prepare themselves for death at about six o’clock or there about, these servants of the Gospel began to praise God. They thanked the provost for the good news which he had brought to them.
Soon after this, they rose, and M. Guy went into the front court to say good day to the other prisoners. He testified to them of his joy when he spoke to them in this way: “My brothers, I am condemned to death today for the doctrine of the Son of God, praise be to Him. I would never have thought that God would have given me such an honour. I feel the grace of God flowing in me more and more. It strengthens me from moment to moment, and my heart leaps within me for joy.” Then exhorting the prisoners to be of good courage, he declared that death was nothing. He quoted a passage of Revelation, the exclamation, “Oh, happy are the dead who die in the Lord! They now rest from their labours.” He prayed the prisoners to remain firm and constant in the doctrine of the Son of God which he had preached to them, saying that it was the pure truth of God. “As also,” he said, “I have maintained before the bishop of Arras, and many others. I shall answer for it before the face of my God. Take care that you do nothing against what your conscience dictates, for the enemies of the Gospel will try to make you go against your conscience. Watch out for this, for you will then have a tormentor who will feed on your consciences, which will be a continual hell. Oh, my brothers, how good it is to keep a good conscience.”
Then the prisoners asked him if he had finished a certain writing that he had begun. He said that he had not, and that he was not going to work any more, because he was soon to be at rest in heaven. He said, “The

de Bres and friend in prison

de Bres and friend in prison

time of my departure has come. I am going to reap in heaven that which I have sown on earth. I have fought a good fight. I have run my course, keeping the faith of my captain. The crown of glory, which the Lord and Just Judge will give me, is waiting for me. It seems [this he said with a joyous and smiling face] that my soul will have wings to soar to heaven where it is going today to the marriage feast of my Lord, the Son of my God.”
And as he spoke, the provost came into the court. And putting his hand to his cap, he saluted him. And again, Guy thanked him for the good news which he brought. The provost answered, “It grieves me that such a thing is to happen.” At which Guy joyously said to him, “You are my friend, I love you with all my heart.” Then taking leave of the prisoners, he was brought back to the cell…
….Shortly afterward, these two servants of God were led to the city hall, to receive the sentence of death, namely, to be hung and strangled for having acted contrary to the command of the Regent. They did so in having celebrated the Lord’s Supper against his order, not mentioning the doctrine which they preached. For not having upheld this doctrine were they condemned. Both were victorious over their enemies even unto death. As M. De la Grange was led to the execution, he announced in a loud voice from the step that he was dying for no other cause than for having upheld the truth of God before the people. Thus passed this faithful servant from this life to eternal life.
A little while later they led M. Guy, who prostrated himself, wishing to pray at the bottom of the step. This they would not allow him to do, and lifting him up, they made him mount the steps quickly. Reaching the top, he exhorted them to have respect for the magistrate, who was doing that which was required of him. He begged of them to persevere in the doctrine which he had proclaimed to them, protesting that he had never preached anything but the truth of God. He had not finished his words when the commissioner made a sign to the officer to hurry. This he did. But as soon as the ladder was taken way, there began such a disturbance among the armed soldiers that they began to run about, discharging their guns at those whom they encountered, Papists as well as others, even killing those of their own number.
All this happened without any apparent reason. The Captains could not recall their own men, so that they had difficulty in preventing those who started to pillage the shops. We can think only that God had sent this terror as a sign of His just judgment. The men were so seized with fright that they were overwhelmed.”
The letter goes on to relate that the bodies were left hanging on the gallows for some time, but were later taken down and placed in shallow graves. However, “the beasts of the field” managed to mutilate them – not a new thing, says the author of the letter, if we pay attention to Psalm 74.

from where to here…………..

From where to here……….?

martinluther2-fullMartin Luther (1483-1546)

How did we get here one SHOULD ask? What force brought the body of believers back into the light after suffering so long in the darkness. It is so easy to take for granted one’s RIGHT to go to whatever church they feel led to. That RIGHT came about by the sacrifices of those long since departed. True “Defenders of the faith”, if you will. Martin Luther was not alone in his quest for a more pure worship and a TRUE understanding of salvation. The rally cry of this reformaton was as follows:

Sola scriptura (”by Scripture alone”)
Sola fide (”by faith alone”)
Sola gratia (”by grace alone”)
Solus Christus (”Christ alone”)
Soli Deo gloria (”glory to God alone”)

What sparked this reform movement were 95 simple complaints Martin Luther posted on his Church door. “Pope Leo X identified forty heretical statements in the writings of Luther. In the bull Exsurge Domine, Leo X gave Luther sixty days to recant of these heretical statements.

On the sixtieth and last day of the probationary period, Luther publicly burned a copy of the bull. Technically, Luther excommunicated himself by not complying.

In response, Leo X issued Decet Romanum Pontificem on January 3, 1521, making the excommunication of Luther official.

These are the issues Luther cared to debate Rome about;

Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther
on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences
by Dr. Martin Luther (1517)

Published in:

Works of Martin Luther:
Adolph Spaeth, L.D. Reed, Henry Eyster Jacobs, et Al., Trans. & Eds.
(Philadelphia: A. J. Holman Company, 1915), Vol.1, pp. 29-38
_______________

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.

In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite (”Repent Ye” and “Do Penance”), willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.

4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.

Martin Luther debates at Worms

6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God’s remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.

7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest.

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory.

11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that wereluther-at-worms sown while the bishops slept.

12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them.

14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear.

15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety.

17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase.

18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love.

19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it.

20. Therefore by “full remission of all penalties” the pope means not actually “of all,” but only of those imposed by himself.

21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope’s indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved;

22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life.

23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest.

24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty.

25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.

26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession.

27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].

28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.

29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.

30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission.

31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare.

32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.

33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;

34. For these “graces of pardon” concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man.

35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.

36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.

37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.

38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission.

39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition.

40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them].

41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.

42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy.

43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;

44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty.

45. 45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.

46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.

47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment.

48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring.

49. Christians are to be taught that the pope’s pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God.

50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter’s church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.

51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope’s wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.

52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.

Dante’s Purgatory

53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others.Dante’s Purgatory…

54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than onlutherpapalbull1 this Word.

55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

56. The “treasures of the Church,” out of which the pope. grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ.

57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them.

58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man.

59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church’s poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ’s merit, are that treasure;

61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.

62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.

64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.

65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches.

66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.

67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the “greatest graces” are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain.

68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross.

69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence.

70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope.

71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed!

72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed!

73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.

Luther receives his excommunication

74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.

75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God — this is madness.

76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned.

77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope.

78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii.

79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy.

80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.

81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.

82. To wit: — “Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial.”

83. Again: — “Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?”

84. Again: — “What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul’s own need, free it for pure love’s sake?”

85. Again: — “Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?”

86. Again: — “Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?”

87. Again: — “What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?”

88. Again: — “What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?”

89. “Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?”

90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.

91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.

92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Peace, peace,” and there is no peace!

93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Cross, cross,” and there is no cross!

94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;

95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.

And so we began a reform……………………

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With ALL your Mind…….

With ALL your Mind……

“Love the Lord your God with ALL your mind”Saint Anselm of CanterburySaint Anselm of Canterbury

This command, some people throughout history have taken to heart and have devoted their lives to as full an understanding of the Lord their God as they can. Like John Calvin said, “if to see God is to die, then surely I sacrifice my life to do so”. And so many have done to see God as revealed in scripture…………..this is but one of those saints.

Anselm, Saint Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033 – 1109)

a learned monk from the 11th century battled with Kings, Popes, and Councils throughout his life in the 1100s. In the end he was championed as one of the most farsighted thinkers of his day. His writings on God, Christ, the trinity, and Man are foundational to theological thinking today. He brought the light of Christ to a dark period in England, stood firm in his convictions against King William and continued his fight with king Henry I. Eventually settling disputes with Henry, the remaining two years of Anselm’s life were spent in the duties of his archbishopric. He died on 21 April 1109.

Anselm’s motto: “faith seeking understanding”(fides quaerens intellectum)

If anyone does not know, either because he has not heard or because he does not believe, that there is one nature, supreme among all existing things, who alone is self-sufficient in his eternal happiness, who through his omnipotent goodness grants and brings it about that all other things exist or have any sort of well-being, and a great many other things that we must believe about God or his creation, I think he could at least convince himself of most of these things by reason alone, if he is even moderately intelligent. (M 1)

And in the Proslogion (Discourse on the Existence of God) Anselm sets out to convince “the fool,” that is, the person who “has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’ ” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1).

Anselm describes the sort of faith that “merely believes what it ought to believe” as “dead” Correctly understood, Anselm says, the argument of the Proslogion can be summarized as follows:anselm-with-pope

That than which nothing greater can be thought can be thought.

If that than which nothing greater can be thought can be thought, it exists in reality.

Therefore,

That than which nothing greater can be thought exists in reality.

And the mind blower of all time:

Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this too I believe, that unless I first believe, I shall not understand.

A Prayer of Anselm

My God, I pray that I may so know you and love you that I may rejoice in you. And if I may not do so fully in this life let me go steadily on to the day when I come to that fullness . . . Let me receive That which you promised through your truth, that my joy may be full. and again: I have written the little work that follows . . . in the role of one who strives to raise his mind to the contemplation of God and one who seeks to understand what he believes. I acknowledge, Lord, and I give thanks that you have created your image in me, so that I may remember you, think of you, love you. But this image is so obliterated and worn away by wickedness, it is so obscured by the smoke of sins, that it cannot do what it was created to do, unless you renew and reform it. I am not attempting, O Lord, to penetrate your loftiness, for I cannot begin to match my understanding with it, but I desire in some measure to understand your truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this too I believe, that “unless I believe, I shall not understand.” (Isaiah 7:9) Source: Preface to the Proslogion (Discourse on the Existence of God)

A Song of Anselm:

Jesus, as a mother you gather your people to you: you are gentle with us as a mother with her children; Often you weep over our sins and our pride: tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement. You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds: in sickness you nurse us, and with pure milk you feed us. Jesus, by your dying we are born to new life: by your anguish and labour we come forth in joy. Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness: through your gentleness we find comfort in fear. Your warmth gives life to the dead: your touch makes sinners righteous. Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us: in your love and tenderness remake us. In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness: for the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.canterbury-bellharrybig