King's Business - 1967-03

In 1539, Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuit Society. Loyola had to abandon his career as a professional soldier because of a serious injury suffered in combat. Still desirous of being a soldier, he conceived the idea of becoming a spiritual soldier. The objectives of his society were to support the church anywhere at any time, to protect the church, to offset Protestantism through missions, and to attack heresy through education. History testi­ fies to the effectiveness of the Jesuit program which has continued to the present. Its work has been made more effective through several peculiar doctrines, two of which are expediency and mental reservation. The first is simply the concept that the end justifies the means, while the latter means that one may withhold personal opinions or convictions if it seems advan­ tageous. Three years after the founding of the Jesuit So­ ciety, Pope Paul III revived the Inquisition. Its meth­ ods of operation were terrifying not only to Protestants but also to Roman Catholics, numbers of whom were killed. Persons who were not heretical were punished in order to incite fear in others. The wealthy were not protected by their riches. Those who were sheltered and protected received the severest treatment as a warning to the rest. While the Inquisition began mildly enough, it gradually increased in severity until its tortures be­ came too brutal to mention. A milder and more peculiar form of suppression used by the Inquisition was the Index of Prohibited Books. This publication listed those books unfit for good Catholics to read. In addition to the publications of the reformers were those of scien­ tists and men of letters whose writings were considered dangerous to the doctrines of the church. Six years after the founding of the Jesuit Society, the Roman Church convened the Council of Trent under pressure from the emperor. When the pope finally agreed to such a meeting, it was with the desire that the council would reaffirm Catholic doctrine so as to undermine Protestant theology while the emperor hoped that Catholic policy would be reformed. At the very outset, the pope maneuvered the council so that the bal­ ance of power lay in the hands of the Italian bishops who were strongly behind the papacy. The result was that the council failed to reform the church as the emperor had hoped. It simply reiterated the theological position which it had maintained for centuries. It seems fair to assert that the counter reformation did not accomplish the objectives which the church hoped it would. It did not result in a reform, but rather a maintenance of the status quo. Negatively, however, it accomplished two important results: it rendered re­ conciliation with the Protestants impossible, and it aroused a fervor on both sides which resulted in a cen­ tury of religious wars. At the same time it revealed the adaptability and resiliency of the Roman Church which enabled it to withstand such a major onslaught upon its position and territory as that posed by the Protestant reformation. Looking at the Protestant reformation as a whole, one notes many important results, a few of which will be mentioned here. The most important was a return to the doctrine of justification by faith alone. It repre­ sented, also, a return to the doctrine, worship, and simplicity of the early church. It resulted in the loss of large geographical areas to the Roman Church. It gave to laymen a more important place in the worship and service of the church. Finally, it aroused a new interest in religion on the part of both laity and clergy­ men, resulting in an increased activity in missions, edu­ cation, and evangelism.

THE PURITANS To most readers of this series the most interesting group to arise in England during the reign of Eliza­ beth was the Puritans. They were serious, very moral, deeply religious, strongly anti-Catholic, and decidedly Calvinistic. They required holy living as an evidence of election and encouraged prosperity in business. During the reign of Elizabeth, they sought to work within the framework of Anglicanism. However, they advocated certain changes. They desired a presbyterial church government. They were opposed to the use of clerical vestments, though some used them in order that they might continue to preach. They opposed much of the church ritual as being Catholic. In order to propagate their movement and disseminate their teachings, the Puritans held meetings called “ prophesyings” which were in addition to the Anglican services. During the latter part of Elizabeth’s reign, the prophesyings were declared illegal, and many restrictions were placed upon the Puritans, by virtue of which many were driven out of the church. One of the greatest contributions to the Christian world coming out of the Puritan movement was the King James Version of the Bible. At the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, the Puritans presented to King James I the Millenary Petition, so called because it was supposed to have been signed by one thousand Puritans. One of the measures advocated in this Petition was a new translation of the Scriptures. Because previous translations were out of date, offensive, or inferior, and perhaps because he thought a new translation would displace the former ones and unite the people, James authorized a new Bible. Fifty-four scholars of proven ability were appointed to the task by the king. They included Anglican and Puritan ministers, linguists, theologians, and laymen, all sound in doctrine. They were divided into six companies, each of which was given a portion of the Bible to translate. The finished product was a Bible better than any of its predecessors in scholarship, literary quality, and representativeness of all English Protestantism. The reformation period found Scotland ripe for a religious revolution. Many of the clergy were illiterate or immoral. The church owned much of Scotland. The monarch was unable to control the nobility. To add fuel to the fire, the New Testament of Tyndale was secretly circulated throughout Scotland. In 1560, a Calvinistic confession of faith was ap­ proved, and the ties with Rome were severed. The guid­ ing hand in much of the Scotch reformation was that of John Knox who through his preaching and writing molded public opinion. Knox was a formidable opponent of Rome, characterized by fearlessness and unselfish­ ness. He could be amiable in private but was unsparing of his opponents in public. He was incapable of com­ promise or toleration, because he was interested only in God and Scotland. "THE COUNTER REFORMATION" While the Protestant reformation was making tre­ mendous gains, the Roman church was not idle and was seeking to recoup its losses in a movement known as “ the counter reformation.” In this it had four primary objectives: the reformation of morals, the stopping of Protestant growth, the regaining of lost territory, and the evangelizing of the heathen. To accomplish these, the church used various means.

MARCH, 1967


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