2011 -1 UNDERSTANDING OF church’s history |
Influence of Theologies in the Reformation to Laity’s Mission Today |
Focused on Martin Luther and John Calvin’s Theology |
Soobin Courtney CHUNG |
Handong Global University, School of LAW |
Influence of Theologies in the Reformation to Laity’s Mission Today
* Focused on Martin Luther and John Calvin’s Theology
The Reformation brought a substantial change to missionary in the church history. So I believe it is imperatively necessary to examine today’s world missionary through the reformers theology for the effective performance of world missionary. According to K. S. Latourette, a historian of Christianity, in the time of the Reformation, biblical missionary grew back under a slogan “Back to the Early Christianity!” whereas the Middle Ages distorted the missionary-one of the best of these distorting is, crusade- and was against the real meaning of missionary of the Early Christianity.
Latourett called the Middle Ages ‘The Thousand Years of Uncertainty’ because of it’s regression of missionary of the Early Christianity and called the time of Reformation ‘Three Century of Advance’. Also Stephen Neill, the historian of Christian Mission, called the Middle Ages ‘The Dark Age’.
... in life after death that characterized the Middle Ages. Although Christianity was not abandoned, the otherworldliness and monastic ideology ... political relationship was between landowners and their tenants. Reformation The reformation was a great 16 th-century religious revolution ... ancient Greece and Rome were advanced and civilized. They called the period between themselves and the ancient world " ...
So I research the development of concept ‘laity mission’ in the time of Reformation and theologies of the Reformers. It will help to understand rightly what laity mission is and where today’s laity mission to go.
Ⅱ. Previous studies
Martin Luther the Reformer argued “There is no true, basis difference between laymen and priest, between princes and bishops, between religious and secular” Luther’s conception of the Church, especially in his career, militant writings, was a frontal attack on the hierarchical conception of the Church. The idea of the clergy as such was rejected. In principle the distinction of Clergy and laity fell away. He continually fought for the biblical relationship between priest and laity against hierarchical concept of the Middle Ages.
Hendrick Kraemer who advocated theology of laity first as Protestant theologian said that the fundamental idea of the Reformation promised to inaugurate a radical change in the whole conception and place of the laity. According to him, the Reformation, like the endeavors towards it in the preceding Conciliar Movements, when Martin Luther had tolled the bell that called forth new religious awakenings, was mainly a movement of the laity; simple men and women and also men of high standing in secular life.
Harvie M. Conn insisted that the Reformers had emphasized laity’s movement of the Early Christianity rediscovering ‘Priesthood of All Believers’ and this principle appeared as one of the core truth of the Reformation. The Reformers taught and nurtured laity only using the Bible and gave the devotional lesson to be a light and salt in the society.
To sum up the previous studies, the Reformers educated the laity and let them perform their mission. And they helped laity’s spiritual awakening especially by making a catechism. Calvin considered a job as a vocation, calling form the God so he preached many laity has to show God’s sovereignty by practicing own calling in their vocation.
Ⅲ. ‘The Priesthood of All Believers’ by the Reformer and laity’s mission work
The Priesthood of All Believers, which is representative theological inheritance of the Reformation is theological foundation for laity’s mission work. John Scott say that if we teach and adjust ‘The Priesthood of All believers’ rightly, today’s church will experience again the second Reformation. Greg Ogden argued that we line in the generation when the unfinished business of the Reformation may at least be completed. Nearly five hundred years ago, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others unleased a revolution that promised to liberate the church from hierarchical priesthood by rediscovering ‘the priesthood of all believers.’ But the Reformation never fully delivered on its promise.
... country. Gods were asked for their opinions, and their ... counsels.” According to historian K. M. Jonsson the priesthood received large donations in gratitude for their assistance. In the ... of the mighty god Re. Through divinely approving or disapproving the heir to the throne, the Amun priesthood soon controlled the ...
To invigorate today’s laity’s mission work, authoritarian concept for clergy-the settling of the Dark Ages- must be resisted. According to ‘the priesthood of all believers’, a religious hierarchy for mission work is not on. All believers can have the priesthood. The mission work is no longer the exclusive property of the priests like the Catholic Church in Middle Ages, all people who are called by God have that privileges.
‘The priesthood of all believers’ is one of the lessons from the Reformation and is the term emphasizes the fact that all believers can be the priesthood’. The real meaning of it is, first, direct communication between God and man. Man can face God through the Jesus Christ. It produced result that open the way to possibility of various mission works both in public and personally. At the same time, it signified a right let laity pray to God without arbitration of someone else for example the priest of Catholic Church. It meant a new sense of Christian liberty for the ordinary Christian, who felt no longer bound by authority of extrabiblical traditions or by ecclesiastical hierarchies.
The biblical basis of the ‘Priesthood of all believers’ is as in the following. Peter the apostle called believers in the New Testament ‘royal priesthood’ (1 Peter 2:9) and Paul the apostle described all believers as priesthood who worship God through their whole life (Romans 12:1-2).
One of the major roles of priesthood is to teach and declare the praises of God (1 Peter 2:9, Exodus 19:6).
In other words, not only traditional priest but also all believers can teach, declare the bible and perform all of missions for church heavenly kingdom.
Ⅳ. Understanding of time period of the Reformation – the corruption of Catholic Church.
Unrest due to the Great Schism of Western Christianity excited wars between princes, uprisings among the peasants, and widespread concern over corruption in the church. The first of a series of disruptive and new perspectives came from John Wycliffe at Oxford University, then from Jan Hus at the University of Prague. The Catholic Church officially concluded this debate at the Council of Constance. The conclave condemned Jan Hus, who was executed by burning in spite of a promise of safe-conduct. Wycliffe was posthumously burned as a heretic.
... inspire religious diversity and other reforms within the church. No longer would the believer be held to the sacrilegious traditions that had ... the all knowing nature of God. Luther though content to determine that salvation was the work of God, could not completely agree ...
The Council of Constance confirmed and strengthened the traditional medieval conception of church and empire. It did not address the national tensions, or the theological tensions which had been stirred up during the previous century. The council could not prevent schism and the Hussite Wars in Bohemia.
There were some early calls for church reform in that last part of the fifteenth century. Jan Hus a Bohemian scholar was burned at the stake for his criticisms of The Church. Englishman John Wycliffe, a professor at Oxford, attacked the Eucharist, the Christian ceremony of taking bread and wine, calling it a source of superstition. Wycliffe claimed the bible to be final authority, superseding even that of the Pope. Both Hus and Wycliffe attracted a small following, but any major opposition to the Christian Church was still a century away.
Ⅴ. Martin Luther and laity’s mission work
1. The Reformation of Martin Luther.
Martin Luther was shocked by the corruption of the clergy on a trip to Rome in 1510. Sixtus IV was the first Pope to impose a license on brothels and a special tax on priests who kept a mistress. He also established the practice of selling indulgences to be applied to the dead, thereby establishing a virtually infinite source of revenue. Pope Alexander VI was one of the most controversial of the Renaissance Popes. He fathered seven children, including Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia, by at least two mistresses. Fourteen years after his death, the corruption of the papacy that Pope Alexander VI exemplified – particularly the sale of indulgences – prompted Luther to write the The Ninety-Five Theses which, as legend has it, he nailed to the door of a church at Wittenberg in Germany. In it, he stressed the following points:
– People could only win salvation by faith in God’s forgiveness. The Church taught that faith, along with good works was needed for salvation.
... so nobly attempts to make an unchristian world more Christian. Nietzsche quotes Luther's "If we could conceive by reason that God ... people whom his work had driven to rebel." Let us listen to the Reformer, the so-called champion of Christian freedom. To ... and unbiased picture, I would wholeheartedly recommend Funck-Brentano's work, "Martin Luther", from which incidentally I shall quote quite often.The ...
– The Pope is a false authority. The bible was the one true authority.
– All people with faith in Christ were equal. People did not need priest and bishops to interpret the bible for them. They could read it themselves and make up their own minds.
2. Luther’s doctrine of ‘The priesthood of all believers’
Martin Luther emphasized ‘The priesthood of all believers’ throughout all his writings. It became one of the slogans of the Reformation with ‘Only Bible’, ‘Only Grace’ and ‘Only Faith’. Luther compared it with the ‘Sacerdotalism’ theory and explained why the priesthood should possessed by all believers. Actually, the ‘Sacerdotalism’ theory had been established in Council of Nicaea by Constantine the first. It had ensured that only priest can perform a ministry and any other laity should be segregated from the mission.
Luther refuted it based on the Pualinism(1 Corinthians 9:19, Romans 13:8 Galatians 4:4).
He insisted it is against the Bible that spiritual leader reign over the secular leader. And the distinction of the clergy and laity means just difference of duty, not a class. He wrote “It is completely fabricated to call popes, bishops, priests ‘spiritual class’ and kings, lords, workers, farmers ‘secular class’. This is utterly untruth and hypocrisy. No one should be fooled by it. So to speak about it, all Christians are in the spiritual class and there is no discrimination apart from difference of the duties.”
And he explained the relationship between the clergy and laity in the church like this: “Let everyone who knows himself to be a Christian, be assured of this, that we are all equally priests, that is to say we have the same power in respect to the World and the sacraments.”
About Luther’s theory of ‘The priesthood of all believers’, Charles Eastwood explained emphasizing three things. First, all believers share this high dignity whatever their daily calling might be: a shoemaker, a smith, a farmer, each has his manual occupation and work; and yet, at the same time, all are eligible to act as priests and bishops. Second, the Christianity’s dignity is a dignity of service, for all Christians are called to serve as servants. Third, all Christians have a common privilege as the priests.
... his prospective writings about the issue of secular authority, Luther claimed all Christians are truly of the spiritual estate, and there is ... , which meant the rule of Gods Word over the believer. The true believer actually does not need a coercive form of governance ... not different in principle from relying on ones self for works (P59). Luther was ordered to discharge his teachings upon the threat ...
Luther’s theological thought let the laity who was enclosed by the Dark Age’s old fashioned customs work on positive lines of various mission works. It meant revival of the laity’s mission of the Early Christianity.
Ⅵ. Calvin’s studies of laity’s mission work
Following the excommunication of Luther and condemnation of the Reformation by the Pope, the work and writings of John Calvin were influential in establishing a loose consensus among various groups in Switzerland, Scotland, Hungary, Germany and elsewhere. Geneva became the unofficial capital of the Protestant movement, led by the Frenchman Calvin, until his death (when Calvin’s ally, William Farel, assumed the spiritual leadership of the group).
Geneva also was the center of Calvinist rule of Switzerland for a while.
1. Calvin’s thoughts about laity’s mission
Hendrick Kraemer emphasized continually that Calvin himself was a layman. So according to Kraemer, the great reformer John Calvin has to be mentioned as one of the most conspicuous examples in Christian history of a layman who was a self-made theologian. His famous Christian religious Institution is-it should not be forgotten-the work of a layman, and not of a theological schoolman or member of the clergy.
It’s quite true that since the days of Chrysostom no one has spoken out more clearly than John Calvin on the whole matter of lay communication of the Christian faith. Calvin repeatedly calls on believers to show concern for their unbelieving neighbors.
Calvin was also very conscious of need for the witness of the Church to be born not only by ministers of the World but also by the laymen under every kind of circumstances and in a multitude of varied ways. He preached our calling from God strongly and demonstrated “Our Lord Jesus was made like unto us, and suffered death, that He might become and advocate and mediator between God and us, and open a way we may come to God. Those who do not endeavor to bring their neighbor unbelievers to the way of salvation plainly show that they make no account of God’s honor, and that they try to diminish the mighty power of His empire, and set Him bounds that He may not rule and govern all the world; they likewise darken the virtue and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, and lessen the dignity given Him by Father.”
... prostitute, and the rebellious son is the same God Christians serve today. Many Christians think that if they sin without asking forgiveness they ... 't really belong in His family." The fact that God does chastise Christians is proof that the yare His children; He is ... looking past her sins and forgiving the prostitute. Finally, God's grace worked through a father who allowed his son to return ...
Calvin’s doctrine of Predestination has been misunderstood that it is vulnerable to doctrine of mission. Rather, Calvin uncompromisingly taught that salvation is God’s gift only to His elect, yet this does not keep him from insisting that the members of the church should try to bring great numbers to Christ.
Samuel Zwemer argued that Calvin’s theology is very root of missiology and explained that John Calvin lived in the sixteenth century not in the nineteenth century so we cannot expect of him a world view and world vision like that of William Carry, but he was not blind or deaf to the heathen world and its needs. It is abundantly clear that John Calvin had a heart for missions – for the extension of the Kingdome of our Jesus Christ to the ends of earth.
2. Calvin’s doctrine of ‘The priesthood of all believers’
Luther and Calvin gave clear testimony to the obligation which all believers have to communication the gospel to their neighbors. Luther anchors this obligation in the priesthood of believers and Calvin connects it with the prophetic office which all believers share.
Calvin accepts the priesthood of believers but without falling into the error of Lutheranism, which was the failure to relate this doctrine to the other tenets of the faith and as it needs must, to disorder and abuses.
1. Andreas, Willi, Deutschland von der Reformation: eine Zeitenwende, 5th ed. Stuttgart 1948.
2. Atkinson, James, ed., Luther’s Works, Vol. 44, Philadelphia
Dedicated to my mom,
who are most passionate laywoman,
slooking forward to the kingdom coming.
[ 2 ]. Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of the Expansion of Christianity, Vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978)
[ 3 ]. Stephen Neill, A History of Christian Missions (London: Penguin Books, 1984), 53.
[ 4 ]. Martin Luther, The Works of Martin Luther (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg, 1955), Vol. 44, 129.
[ 5 ]. Hendrick Kraemer, A theology of the Laity (London: Lutterworth Press, 1958), 61.
[ 6 ]. Hendrick Kraemer, A theology of the Laity, 61.
[ 7 ]. K. S. Latourette, 1939
[ 8 ]. John R. W. Scott, The Message of Ephesians (Downers Grove: IVP, 1979), 168.
[ 9 ]. Greg Ogden, The New Reformation: Returning the Ministry to the people of God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), 11.
[ 10 ]. William S. Barker, “Priesthood of All Believers” Dictionary of Christianity in America, eds. Daniel G. Reid, Robert D. Linder, Bruce L. Shelley, and Harry S. Stout, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 939.
[ 11 ]. William S. Barker “Priesthood of All Believers”, 939
[ 12 ]. Lewis W. Spitz, The Reformation, 68.
[ 13 ]. Wikipedia, The Reformation
[ 14 ]. James Atkinson, ed., Luther’s Works, Vol 44, (Philadelphia, 1966), 142-143
[ 15 ]. Martin Luther, Tree Treatises Paper(“To the Christian Nobility” 1520, “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church” 1520, “Freedom of Christian” 1520)
[ 16 ]. Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 36, 116
[ 17 ]. Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 36, 112-113
[ 18 ]. Charles Cycil Eastwood, The Priesthood of All Believers, 15
[ 19 ]. Hendrick Kraemer, A Theology of the Laity, 24
[ 20 ]. Carl G. Kromminga, Bringing God’s News to Neighbors (New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. 1977), 65.
[ 21 ]. Ronald S. Wallace, Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life (Geneva: Geneva Divinity School Press, 1982), 240.
[ 22 ]. John Calvin, The Mystery of Godliness and Other Selected Sermons, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1950), 199
[ 23 ]. Kromminga, Bringing God’s News to Neighbors, 66
[ 24 ]. Samuel Zwemer, “Calvinism and the Missionary Enterprise” Theology Today 8, 1950, 205