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Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 12 - August/September 2006 > A History of the Christian Church - Part Nine

A History of the Christian Church

Part Nine, by Denis Jenkins

compiled by Denis Jenkins

Title      A History of the Christian Church
Part       Nine
Theme   The Reformation Moves from Germany.

This is Part 9 in the series. Parts 1 to 8 can be found at the following links -->  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 and Part 8.

Luther's translation of the New Testament into German meant that the Gospel was available for every German who could read.  Priests were afraid that with the new scriptures their ignorance of the scriptures would be exposed.  The movement became so strong and captivating in Germany, that it grabbed the attention of many people in other countries.  France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Britain followed Germany's lead in standing for the revelation of God through the scripture.

Zwingli in Switzerland and many who joined him were defeated by Rome - a great number being put to death for their faith.

France also joined the battle for Truth of God's word but were not only influenced by Luther but by a Paris Professor by the name of Lefevre.   Origionally Lefevre was not intentionally a part of the reformation movement as Lefevre's discovery of Bible truth was well before Luther and Zwingli, and previous to his discoveries, he was a great supporter of the Roman church. 

One day Lefevre in compiling a list of Roman Catholic saints believed the Bible might give him research assistance.  While the Bible did not help him with researching more on the papal saints, the study of the Bible led him to write in 1512," It is God who gives us, by faith, that righteousness, which by Grace alone justifies us for eternal life" (Wylie Book 13, Chapter 1).  Leferve taught that while salvation was the gift of God obedience was the response and responsibility of mankind.  Lefevre taught these wonderful new found truths to his students, well before Luther made a stand for the clear word of Biblical truth.  Among those students was William Farrell who was also a zealous papist.  Like the apostle Paul of the scriptures, who put to death anyone who claimed the name of Christ and spoke against the excesses of the Pharisees, Farrell put to death any Christian reformer who defamed the name of the Pope.  Farrell became convicted of the Truth of the Word of God and began to teach and preach his new found understanding in public.  Soon he had support of influential professors, churchmen and members of the Royal family.  It seemed to the reformers that France had been won to the Scriptural Gospel.

But Satan, the adversary of Christ, was not going to let that happen without resistance.  What the French were experiencing was the calm before the storm and in this time the reformation made rapid progress.

In France, the Bishop of Meaux was a notable supporter of the reformation who instructed both clergy and people in the scriptures.  He dismissed immoral priests and replaced them with pious and learned men in the scriptures.

Bishop of Meaux believed that all people should have access to the scriptures and was a great influence in publishing the scriptures that had been translated into French by Lefevre.  The Bishop helped in distributing the scriptures and as a result the word of God quickly spread throughout France.

Soon Rome prevailed.  The stake was set up in France.  The Bishop of Meaux, who had been such a strong and enthusiastic supporter of God's word, when given the chance to recant or be martyred chose the easier path - recanted.  Although their leader fell in the battle between Christ and Satan, his followers remained true and steadfast to the Bible Truths that Bishop of Meaux had led them to.  Many witnessed for the Truth of God as they burned at the stake in the flames of martyrdom.  By their courage, these faithful followers of Christ, reached more hearts and minds than all the sermons preached from a pulpit.  Those drawn to the stake for their faith included wealthy and kingly families who placed the value of God's Truth in the scriptures way above their position and wealth.  This level of commitment by powerful and wealthy people was such a powerful influence that the seeds of God's Truth scattered all over and beyond Europe to promote a more vigorous support of God's word.

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