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Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 18 - August/September 2007 > A History of the Christian Church - Part Twelve

A History of the Christian Church

Part Twelve, by Denis Jenkins

compiled by Denis Jenkins

Title      A History of the Christian Church
Part       Twelve
Theme   When Christians Used Worldly Strategies for A Godly Cause.

This is Part 12 in the series. Parts 1 to 11 can be found at the following links -->  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10 & Part 11

Christ demonstrated how we are to meet the forces of evil when he was on this earth.  It was with meekness and love that Christ met the authorities who were driven by the power of Satan. The scripture shows that Christ modelled the upholding of law and order.  When the disciple Peter tried to protect Christ from being arrested before his crucifixion by cutting off a soldier's ear with a sword, Christ rebuked Peter and immediately demonstrated creative power by healing the soldier's wound.  Christ demonstrated that we must not meet the forces of evil with sinfully inspired solutions.  God is a God of order not chaos.  This is a lesson that the newly converted Christians in France were to learn.  The scripture tells us that we cannot afford to even have the appearance of evil. The French Christians paid a high price for using Satan's inspired tactics for a Godly cause.

No sooner had Calvin left, than the Protestants of France sought to advance the cause of God through protest.  Overnight, placards attacking the mass and other Roman practices appeared all over France. 

Instead of advancing the cause of God, this ill-judged plan brought ruin upon all the followers in France.  The authorities then felt justified to take action against the reformers as they demonstrated the appearance of wrong doing through their attack on the authoritative Roman Church.  This gave the Roman Church what it needed to pronounce the complete destruction of the reformers on the pretext that they were a public danger.

Some indiscreet person placed a placard on the King's door.  When the authorities faced the king with this fact, the king in anger decreed that all followers of Luther be exterminated. In this way the King of France directly threw himself on the side of the Roman Church.

All Lutherans were arrested without respect to their social rank or position.  The victims were put to death through cruel torture.  The protestants were accused of plotting to put the Catholics to death. 

Even though Francis the First had inspired learning which marked the opening of the sixteenth century,  he now ordered that printing be abolished all over France. The King saw printing as a threat to national security.

Persecution that had never been witnessed before decimated the reformers in France.  This was later to set a precedent in France that led to the execution of France's King Luis XVI.  Unfortunately, the seeds of anarchy sown by the Lutherans in the first place, escalated into other movements in France that were not religious by nature.  The seeds of anarchy set in motion by the reformers provided permission for the Roman Church with the King to use unrelenting force of oppression and anarchy that was then modelled to the people of France as a model for effecting change.

The lesson that can be learnt from history is that we must be aware that Satan very often tempts us as human beings to use his strategy of force and disorder for the cause of God. God does not want us to work that way as it is not in God's character to force anyone.  God persuades, patiently waits for our response.  We are to make change through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It is not our role to fight God's battles and to vindicate his power through force.  God's spirit goes before us convicting the minds of those who must hear the gospel.  It is our role as Christians to show that through the influence of the Holy Spirit, mankind can be changed into the loving likeness of Jesus Christ.  The power of change in one human life can influence hundreds of those looking on to be saved.  This is what changed Calvin in the first place, it was the calm quiet witness of those dying for their faith.  It was not the influence of protesting placard waving individuals who convinced Calvin to come to Christ.

The problem is when we use strategies of the devil to advance God's cause, it attracts the emotions and imagination of the unconverted who join the cause as it resonates with the rebellion of their unconverted minds thus giving them a chance to join in on the protests often disgracing the cause of God through extreme action.  The character of God and the character of Satan can not coexist, therefore, as Christians bow to unconsecrated means of furthering God's cause, God cannot be there leading them when they have turned their back on His leadership.  In this way, we often turn ourselves over to the leadership of the enemy to right-doing and thus undermine the cause of God.

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