A History of the Christian Church
Part Fourteen, by Denis Jenkins
compiled by Denis Jenkins
Title A History of the Christian Church
Theme The Roman Church loses Hold on the reformation.
The Roman Church Leadership was allowing themselves to be led by the forces of evil. Satan was working through this organisation trying to deceive the world and to divert men and women from the real power that can save us from sin. How do we know that this organisation was not of God? The Bible provides us with a clear test. "You will know that you are my disciples if you love one another". Love for sinful men and women is Christ's Character that he plants within the fellowship and church organisation of a church truly following God. The Roman Church during the reformation did not bear this sign or mark of God's leadership. Instead it demonstrated the opposite.
The reformers' success in Geneva made the Roman Church realise that they were losing their hold on people and Governments in Europe. As an answer to this problem, the Jesuit order was formed. This was the most unscrupulous of all papal orders during the reformation. The Jesuit order members were cut off from all human ties and were made dead to normal reason, conscience and affection for humanity. They had no other rule in life but to extend the power of Rome at any cost while they posed as noble and worthy pillars in the community. This order trained the Jesuit adherents to bravely face the same dangers as the reformers but at the same time trained in every criminal act to dismantle and oppose the power of truth. There was no crime that was too great for the Jesuit followers to commit if it meant regaining power for Rome. The Jesuit order was designed and committed to bring the force of Protestantism to its knees.
To achieve their goals, the Jesuits established a benevolent front. They wore simple clothes and in the guise of loving simple people visited prisons, hospitals, ministering to the sick and poor and doing this in the name of Jesus. To gain influence for Rome, the Jesuits worked their way into state or Government affairs, climbing in status to become counsellors to Kings, Prime Ministers or presidents helping to shape the policies of nations. Jesuits made their way into the spy organisations for Governments and was thus able to report back to Rome regarding important decisions made that could affect Rome.
Schools and Colleges were built by the Jesuits to indoctrinate the young. The work of the Jesuits led to sons betraying fathers, the educated and noblemen being slain. Brilliant academics and artists lost their lives at the hands of this unscrupulous order.
Despite this powerful deception of Rome, the reformation empowered by the guidance of the Holy Spirit gained a strong foothold in Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Sweden. Geneva became the centre for Protestant work where teachers were trained and then sent out to the remainder of the world. In Geneva, publications were translated into many languages. This place became the haven for reformers like John Knox, Protestants from Holland and the Huguenots from France. Holland had protested against the excesses of Rome many years before Luther made his stand. From the Waldensian Bible the scriptures were translated into Dutch. The stake and other persecution methods instigated by Rome was the lot of the Dutch but instead of discouraging people from joining the reformation movement, it increased people's awareness for the need of following the truth of God.
The lesson that every church organisation and member must learn is that in the act of defending the church or the Body of Christ, to the world, it can only be achieved under the direct leadership of the Holy Spirit. Mankind in our present situation of being born into sin, has the possibility of being controlled by two spirits; the spirit of God or the spirit of Satan. Mankind is born with the natural tendency to accept the spirit of Satan as the guiding influence in their lives. The Spirit of God only enters the mind of men and women under invitation. If Christ and the Holy Spirit are not at the centre of planning and decision making for any church organisation, that organisation can be doing the work of Satan in the name of God, without knowing it, believing that they are following the will of God. Many involved in the Roman Church believed that they were doing God's will and carried out their opposition to the reform movement with fervour for God not, realising that their fervour was not motivated by the heavenly spirit. We must study God's word inviting the Holy spirit to impress on our minds what the will of God truly is. We must be continually in the attitude of prayer seeking the mind of Christ in all decisions made during our normal working day. This is the only way we can remain safe from the intrusion of ungodly behaviour in our lives. We too could be doing the bidding of Satan as the Roman church did believing we are doing the will of God. Let history be a warning for the future.
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