the great controversy: the French reformation

November 10, 2023

…a 6 minute read

the Great Controversy
The French Reformation

~ reformation begins in Europe ~

(internet image)

“The Protest of Spires and the Confession at Augsburg, which marked the triumph of the Reformation in Germany, were followed by years of conflict and darkness. Weakened by divisions among its supporters, and assailed by powerful foes, Protestantism seemed destined to be utterly destroyed. Thousands sealed their testimony with their blood. Civil war broke out; the Protestant cause was betrayed by one of its leading adherents; the noblest of the reformed princes fell into the hands of the emperor and were dragged as captives from town to town. But in the moment of his apparent triumph, the emperor was smitten with defeat. He saw the prey wrested from his grasp, and he was forced at last to grant toleration to the doctrines which it had been the ambition of his life to destroy. He had staked his kingdom, his treasures, and life itself upon the crushing out of the heresy. Now he saw his armies wasted by battle, his treasuries drained, his many kingdoms threatened by revolt, while everywhere the faith which he had vainly endeavored to suppress, was extending. Charles V had been battling against omnipotent power. God had said, “Let there be light,” but the emperor had sought to keep the darkness unbroken. His purposes had failed; and in premature old age, worn out with the long struggle, he abdicated the throne and buried himself in a cloister.”

~ in Switzerland, as in Germany, there came dark days for the Reformation
~ many cantons accepted the reformed faith, others clung with blind persistence to the creed of Rome
~ persecution of those who desired to receive the truth finally gave rise to civil war
~ Zwingli and many who had united with him in reform fell on the bloody field of Cappe
~ Rome was triumphant, and in many places seemed about to recover all that she had lost
~ He whose counsels are from everlasting had not forsaken His cause or His people
~ His hand would bring deliverance for them. In other lands He had raised up laborers to carry forward the reform
~ in France, before the name of Luther had been heard as a Reformer, the day had already begun to break
~ one of the first to catch the light was the aged Lefevre, a man of extensive learning, a professor in the University of Paris, and a sincere and zealous papist
~ in his research into ancient literature his attention was directed to the Bible
~ he introduced its study among his students
~ Lefevre was an enthusiastic adorer of the saints, he had undertaken to prepare a history of the saints and martyrs as given in the legends of the church – involved great labor, but he had already made considerable progress in it, when, he decided that he might obtain useful assistance from the Bible
~ he began its study with this object
~ Here indeed he found saints brought to view, but not such as figured in the Roman calendar
~ a flood of divine light broke in upon his mind
~ in amazement and disgust he turned away from his self-appointed task and devoted himself to the word of God
~ the precious truths which he discovered he soon began to teach

“It is God who gives us, by faith, that righteousness which by grace alone justifies to eternal life.”
~ Lefevre wrote
(Wylie, b. 13, ch. 1.)

~ while teaching that the glory of salvation belongs solely to God, he also declared that the duty of obedience belongs to man
~ there were some among Lefevre’s students who listened eagerly to his words, and who, long after the teacher’s voice should be silenced, were to continue to declare the truth
~ such was William Farel –  son of pious parents, and educated to accept with implicit faith the teachings of the church, he might, with the apostle Paul, have declared concerning himself: “After the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” Acts 26:5
~ a devoted Romanist, he burned with zeal to destroy all who should dare to oppose the church
~ he had been untiring in his adoration of the saints, in company with Lefevre making the round of the churches of Paris, worshipping at the altars, and adorning with gifts the holy shrines
~ but these observances could not bring peace of soul
~ conviction of sin fastened upon him, which all the acts of penance that he practiced failed to banish
~ as to a voice from heaven he listened to the Reformer’s words:

“Salvation is of grace.”
“The Innocent One is condemned, and the criminal is acquitted.”
“It is the cross of Christ alone that openeth the gates of heaven, and shutteth the gates of hell.”

Ibid., b. 13, ch. 2. 

~ Farel joyfully accepted the truth
~ by a conversion like that of Paul he turned from the bondage of tradition to the liberty of the sons of God
~ while Lefevre continued to spread the light among his students, Farel, as zealous in the cause of Christ as he had been in that of the pope, went forth to declare the truth in public
~ with high hopes the Reformers looked forward to the time when France should be won to the gospel
~ their hopes were not to be realized
~ trial and persecution awaited the disciples of Christ, this, however, was mercifully veiled from their eyes
~ a time of peace intervened, that they might gain strength to meet the tempest; and the Reformation made rapid progress
~ at the very time when Luther’s German Bible was issuing from the press in Wittenberg, the French New Testament was published at Meaux
~ the bishop spared no labor or expense to circulate it in his parishes, and soon the peasants of Meaux were in possession of the Holy Scriptures
~ every day the number of converts was increasing
~ the rage of the hierarchy was for a time held in check by the king, who despised the narrow bigotry of the monks
~ but the papal leaders finally prevailed

source, and to read more: the great controversy: The French Reformation by EG White

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

hope you have a great day!
thanks for stopping by!!

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