Unless otherwise stated the articles are by David W. Norris
> True history records the unfolding eternal purposes of God with respect to the world He created
> True history records the outworking of the battle of Christ against antichrist
> True history reveals the power and the triumph of Christ
> True history records the calling, the work and witness of the people of God
Christian believers have a sense of destiny denied to others. This is because God’s created time is a realm of action moving towards the certain victory and triumph of our Saviour. By contrast the godless man and the humanist have no such certainty giving meaning to past or present deeds, or to future events. It is an article of faith for the humanist, agnostic, and atheist that God has no more to do with the unfolding of history than He does with science. The man without God is of no certain origin and has no certain hope to give any sense to the present. Generally they seek at every turn to destroy history or escape it and they show nothing but contempt for the future. The only thing that is sure is that nothing is sure?
Life and history without God lack the triumph that gives meaning to what we do and how we live. Refusing the providential working of God, men substitute their own version of predestination in its place. Modern social scientists and politicians strive to escape the dismal predictions of the poets and popular songwriters in their own way: a victory for the human race is to be gained only by total control and prediction, by tyranny. Today, humanistic science, godless economic theories, politics of every colour and creed, are charged with the task of bringing order where there is chaos, meaning where absurdity rules, by force if necessary. Social order must be created; there must be total planning through education, economic intervention, and environmental controls. There must be total control with nothing left to playful fortune. The irresistible will of nature must be tamed and harnessed. Central to this project are the functions of the State, but also science, the media, schools, universities and whatever other tools lie to hand. Everything is to be planned by an élite and nothing left to itself. History is not determined by fortune or fate, chaos or chance, nor is it in the incapable hands of social scientists or politicians, but in those of our sovereign God. History has meaning only because of God’s eternal decree and the act of creation. “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).
The godless oppressive hand of human tyranny, the brutal, impersonal irresistible force of cold fate and the grinding of nature’s self-determining laws can be no real substitute for divine providence and meaningful living determined by a loving heavenly Father who knows and can be known, who cares and watches over everything in the universe He created, nor indeed are they. The human race is in full rebellion against God. Alluding to the Psalms, the apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Romans (3:10-12):
“There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
In studying the life and work of Martin Luther much consideration is generally given to the superstitious beliefs and practices of the Roman Church and rightly so. Less attention is devoted to what are in fact the sources of the theology that spawned them. Roman Catholic theology to this day attributes to fallen human reason and to the human will autonomy they do not possess. This teaching was strongly opposed by Luther using the Scriptures but also the teaching of the early Church Fathers. The ground of this rationalism can be found in Scholasticism. As it formed the foundation of the Church’s theology at the time of the Reformation, without looking at this system we will acquire only a partial picture of what the Reformation was about and how the errors of the Church of Rome are to be answered. ... Many evangelicals seek to join forces with Roman Catholics in their defence of Christian belief. ... The truth is that they also share many of Rome’s errors, Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism have often carried over into their theology much that is derived from Rome and thereby much that is pagan because of its origins in Greek philosophy.
(Mow Cop, Staffordshire)
What Luther achieved can only be understood in terms of his desperation to be free of his own personal sin and guilt before a holy God and how through a careful reading and study of the sacred Scriptures he saw his sin borne away by Christ alone and that he could be made right with God solely in Christ and in what He accomplished on behalf of sinners. Central to Luther’s whole experience and teaching is the conviction that justification is by faith without works or human merit. Luther’s Gospel was a personal and individual one before it was anything else. Any widespread change must be worked inside out and cannot be achieved the other way round. In our own day and age would we see change, then it remains for men and women to be gripped by that same Gospel message. His struggle began with spiritual agony living in his monk’s cell in Erfurt rising to stand for the truth of God’s Word before the mightiest men of his day. Many aspire also to achieve such heights but are unprepared to follow him in the preparatory agony of soul the Gospel is likely to bring with it.
When we speak of ‛Christian’ Britain, what must not be forgotten is that we are talking about Britain as a protestant country. The struggle with the Roman Catholic Pontiff began not with Henry VIII as is widely supposed, but was dragged out throughout many previous centuries. Even the term Anglican Church preceded Henry by several centuries. The eventual break with Rome, when it came, had really been inevitable almost from the moment Christianity itself first reached these shores. England’s relationship with the Papacy was always awkward and conflict frequent. Two things we need to note. First, the independent spirit of the English Church sat uneasily alongside the absolute authority of the Pope. From the New Testament we know that missionaries had already reached Spain. Similarly, missionaries at the time of the Roman occupation of Britain first brought the Gospel to our people. The later missionary expedition sent by Gregory, with its dependence on Rome, did not fit well with what remained of indigenous Christian testimony. Second, genuine Christian testimony did not exist only outside the institutional Church after the Christianisation of the Empire by Constantine. There is much historical evidence of Gospel testimony within the Roman Church right up until the Reformation. After the Council of Trent (1545 to 1563) teachings such as that of justification by faith were anathematised. The Church of Rome set its face irrevocably against the biblical Gospel, against the absolute authority of Holy Scripture replacing it with its own. It was, in fact, taking formally into Church law what had been the ruling for many centuries. Nevertheless, those wishing to maintain biblical truth and apostolic testimony to the Gospel had always found themselves in difficulties to the point of laying down their lives. Today the Roman Catholic Church has no place at all for such people within its fold. Only by serious compromise of the teaching of Scripture is association with Rome possible and it will always be on its terms.