The great controversy: protest of the princes

November 8, 2023

… a 6 minute read

The Great Controversy
Protest of the princes

(internet image)

“One of the noblest testimonies ever uttered for the Reformation
was the Protest offered by the Christian princes of Germany at the Diet of Spires in 1529.
The courage, faith, and firmness of those men of God gained for succeeding ages
liberty of thought and of conscience.
Their Protest gave to the reformed church the name of Protestant;
its principles are “the very essence of Protestantism.””
—D’Aubigne, b. 13, ch. 6

~ a dark and threatening day had come for the Reformation
~ The Edict of Worms declared Luther to be an outlaw and forbade the teaching or belief of his doctrines, religious toleration had thus far prevailed in the empire
~ God’s providence had held in check the forces that opposed the truth
~ Charles V was bent on crushing the Reformation
~ again and again the immediate destruction of all who dared to oppose themselves to Rome appeared inevitable
~ but at the critical moment the armies of the Turk appeared on the eastern frontier, or the king of France, or even the pope himself, jealous of the increasing greatness of the emperor, made war upon him
~ amid the strife and tumult of nations, the Reformation had been left to strengthen and extend
~ at last, however, the papal sovereigns had stifled their feuds, that they might make common cause against the Reformers
~ the Diet of Spires in 1526 had given each state full liberty in matters of religion until the meeting of a general council
~ no sooner had the dangers passed which secured this concession, than the emperor summoned a second Diet to convene at Spires in 1529 for the purpose of crushing heresy
~ the princes were to be induced, by peaceable means if possible, to side against the Reformation, but if these failed, Charles was prepared to resort to the sword
~ the papists were exultant
~ they appeared at Spires in great numbers, and openly manifested their hostility toward the Reformers and all who favored them
~ the evangelical princes in attendance at the Diet were forbidden even to have the gospel preached in their dwellings
~ the people of Spires thirsted for the word of God, and, notwithstanding the prohibition, thousands flocked to the services held in the chapel of the elector of Saxony
~ this hastened the crisis
~ the imperial message announced to the Diet that granted liberty of conscience was to be annulled by the emperor
~ this arbitrary act excited the indignation and alarm of the evangelical Christians
~ the Romanists became more violent

~ religious toleration had been legally established, and the evangelical states were resolved to oppose the infringement of their rights
~ Luther, being still under the ban imposed by the Edict of Worms, was not permitted to be present at Spires, but his place was supplied by his colaborers and the princes whom God had raised up to defend His cause in this emergency
~ the noble Frederick of Saxony, Luther’s former protector, had been removed by death
~ Duke John, his brother and successor, had joyfully welcomed the Reformation and while a friend of peace, he displayed great energy and courage in all matters relating to the interests of the faith
~ the priests demanded that the states which had accepted the Reformation submit implicitly to Romish jurisdiction
~ the Reformers, on the other hand, claimed the liberty which had previously been granted, they would not consent that Rome should again bring under her control those states that had with so great joy received the word of God
~ as a compromise it was finally proposed that where the Reformation had not become established, the Edict of Worms should be rigorously enforced
– and that “in those where the people had deviated from it, and where they could not conform to it without danger of revolt, they should at least effect no new reform, they should touch upon no controverted point, they should not oppose the celebration of the mass, they should permit no Roman Catholic to embrace Lutheranism.”—Ibid., b. 13, ch. 5.
~ this measure passed the Diet, to the great satisfaction of the popish priests and prelates
~ if this edict were enforced, the reformation could not be extended nor could it be established on a solid foundation
~ liberty of speech would be prohibited
~ no conversions would be allowed
~ the friends of the Reformation were required to submit o these restrictions and prohibitions
~ the hopes of the world seemed about to be extinguished
~ the papists were determined to put down what they termed “daring obstinacy.”
~ they began by endeavoring to cause divisions among the supporters of the Reformation and to intimidate all who had not openly declared in its favor

“God’s faithful servants were not toiling alone. While principalities and powers and wicked spirits
in high places were leagued against them, the Lord did not forsake His people.
Could their eyes have been opened, they would have seen as marked evidence
of divine presence and aid as was granted to a prophet of old.”

~ one of the principles most firmly maintained by Luther was that there should be no resort to secular power in support of the Reformation, and no appeal to arms for its defense
~ when powerful foes were uniting to overthrow the reformed faith, and thousands of swords seemed about to be unsheathed against it, Luther wrote:

“Satan is putting forth his fury; ungodly pontiffs are conspiring; and we are threatened with war.
Exhort the people to contend valiantly before the throne of the Lord, by faith and prayer,
so that our enemies, vanquished by the Spirit of God, may be constrained to peace.
Our chief want, our chief labor, is prayer; let the people know that they are now exposed
to the edge of the sword and to the rage of Satan, and let them pray.”
~ D’Aubigne, b. 10, ch. 14

~ at a later date, referring to the league contemplated by the reformed princes, Luther declared that the only weapon employed in this warfare should be “the sword of the Spirit.”
~ from the secret place of prayer came the power that shook the world in the Great Reformation
~ God did listen to the cries of His servants
~ He gave to princes and ministers grace and courage to maintain the truth against the rulers of the darkness of this world.

Saith the Lord: “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone,
elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded.”
1 Peter 2:6.

~ the Protestant Reformers had built on Christ, and the gates of hell could not prevail against them

source: The Great Controversy: Protest of the Princes

Events found on this timeline:

  • The Cross (timeline)
  • The Apostles (timeline)
  • Jerusalem destroyed
  • Persecution (first centuries)
  • An era of spiritual darkness begins
  • Reformation in Europe begins
  • The Mayflower

The Great Controversy timeline:

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thanks for stopping by!!

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