Monday, February 20, 2017

Leo, Luther, and the Paradigm of Delusion

NOTE:  2017 is the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.  This venue will explore a number of posts relating to this historical year during 2017.

The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central event in all human history.  As such being the case, baptism into that event is the central doctrine of the New Testament.  Satan does not really care if people believe in the historical resurrection.  His purpose is to dissuade people from being biblically baptized into the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.  If he can instill a "paradigm of delusion" in the minds of people where they will reject baptism, he will relish in collecting souls for hell fire.  Satan has craftily used a long ago fight between two men who fought over baptism.  Satan has lifted a passage out of context in Ephesians 2 in order to create a mantra that continues to delude nearly every man, woman and child in America today.   That mantra?  "We are saved by grace and not by works lest anyone boast."  Satan loves Scripture...Scripture out of context that is!

Five hundred years ago this year, Martin Luther took issue with Pope Leo X.  They fought over  many issues.  The main issue, however, was over salvation.  Was salvation by works or was it by grace?  Leo took the side of the Roman Catholic Church, baptism saves a person because it is a sacrament.  Even though such a thing as a "sacrament" is never mentioned in the New Testament, Leo asserted that one is saved by obedience to the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church and as such, is a "work"  Luther took the opposite approach.  Salvation is totally by grace and not connected with baptism as it is a "work."  Hence, Leo and Luther took positions 180 degrees apart.  There was no compromise, no turning back.  Luther was excommunicated by a papal bull in 1521.  War broke out between the Catholics and Protestants.  A series of religious wars between these two parties lasted nearly 300 years and did not end until Catholic France was defeated at Waterloo in 1815 by Protestant allies England and Prussia.  Now 200 years removed from the last of the Leo - Luther wars, who actually was right?  Was it Leo?  Was it Luther?  Was it salvation by works?  Was it salvation by grace?  Sadly, both Leo and Luther were wrong, both choosing the Paradigm of Delusion.

Luther's 180 degree insistence on "faith only"  was based on being as far away from Leo as possible.   They both had sort of a "Hatfield's and McCoy's" outlook; "If he's for it, I'm agin it!" There is a chilling difference between seeking the Truth and embracing a paradigm.  A paradigm is a narrative, a manta, a preconceived notion.  It is moving full ahead with blinders on. It is simply a goal driven by emotion and feelings being totally subjective.  Leo's paradigm was that salvation was by sacrament within Roman Catholicism.  Luther's was grace alone without baptism outside of Roman Catholicism.  They both were wrong.  They both were deluded.  They both embraced the Paradigm of Delusion.

Truth is by definition rational and reasonable for that is what God is.  Not only that, it is by REASON that God makes His appeal to us.  He says in Isaiah 1.18; "Come now let us REASON together..."  Both Leo and Luther rejected two things; reason and Scripture.  By holding onto their paradigms they both were "partially" right but both were altogether wrong. The truth was found where neither looked, in Scripture.  

Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Knox, et al, embraced Ephesians 2.8 -9 as a narrative, a mantra, the drumbeat of the Reformation and later American Evangelicalism.  In this form it is out of context and is used to twist the passage from "in context" to "out of context.".  The entire context is Ephesians 2.1 - 10.  The truth contained in the found in vs. 10 which concludes that salvation by grace is made possible by something else.  That something else? It's "Workmanship."  Whose workmanship?  Not human!  It's DIVINE workmanship.  Salvation by grace not by human works is achieved by Divine workmanship.  When and where, then, is this Divine workmanship applied?  The biblical interpretive model of "here a little, there a little, precept upon precept" takes us to another Pauline passage, Colossians 2.11 - 12.  There we discover that the "powerful WORKING of God" is applied in and during...BAPTISM.  No where else is "salvation by grace not of works lest any man should boast" applied.  Not in a so-called "sinners prayer," not in an "experience," not by "praying through," and not by any so-called "holy spirit baptism."  ONLY in the watery grave is the WORKMANSHIP of God applied!

Are we saved by grace as Luther asserted?  YES.  Are we saved by works as Leo asserted? YES.  Are these operational separately as both Luther and Leo asserted?  Absolutely not!  To separate these two is to form a Paradigm of Delusion.  It is delusional to reject the Scripture and form a narrative of sacrament(s) alone as did Leo.  It is delusional to reject the Scripture and form a narrative of grace alone as did Luther. What is of reason, that which is rational, and this which is biblical, is to embrace the entire Scripture as a whole to answer correctly any spiritual question, especially the question; "What must I do to be saved?"

Delusion is deadly.  Leo and Luther's delusion caused the death of millions over 3 centuries. Even more tragic is the loss of even one soul to the Devil's Hell.  Are you delusional?  May God bless you with reason.  May you embrace the Truth of the Gospel.  "Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"  And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." - Acts 2.37 - 38 (ESV)

Both images courtesy of: Wikipedia Commons to which I am grateful

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