Silver Trumpets Blog

Those in the Dark Ages? Purgatory? The Bible's books collected? Questions from SOLA SCRIPTURA - Sunday October 10, 2017

Posted by David Staff on

Q - What of all the uneducated illiterate Christians during the dark ages?  Do you think God allowed them grace, even though their knowledge was limited?

Only God knows the heart of each person.  Romans tells us that God is just, no respecter of persons (i.e., he doesn't deal in favoritism), and will treat each person fairly.  Because we don't know what happened in each human heart, we have to trust God with what we don't know.

Q - What are some ways, as the body of Christ, we can ensure we don't find ourselves where another reformation is needed?

The best way is to be in the Scriptures ourselves; to listen to the Holy Spirit and to make sure that Jesus' church is following the Word of God, and not simply defaulting to the traditions -- even the religious traditions -- of men.

Q - What about the souls ruined by the Roman Church and all those lost for 1000 years during the dark ages?  I would think the intervention (i.e., Reformation) would have taken place earlier.

See the answer to the 1st question. As for timing, that must have been up to the Lord himself.  According to Acts 17, he controls the times and movements of peoples, events, etc.

Q -Where are we on the theological course today?

There is still a major "theological" difference between the high, liturgical churches (like Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy) and "Protestant" Church (like Baptisms, Evangelical Free, Reformed Presbyterian) over the matters of the Bible vs. Tradition.  The "sola" issues of the Reformation remain.

Q - When were the 66 books of the Bible assembled as a collection?

Clearly there was a process.  The 39 Old Testament books of Scripture were recognized by godly Jews as early as 400 BC, and were collected (finally) as such around 200 BC.  The Church accepted the Old Testament collection as Scripture.  The NT books were written in the 1st century, and copied/collected by the church over 400 years.  The final 66 book collection was identified and collected in 397 AD, as affirmed by Athanasius.

Q - I evidently missed Church History classes, and so I'm really loving this. Would love to see a Church History class offered sometime!

Perhaps a Tuesday Night Equipping Class on Church History can be offered in 2018.

Q - So the Church's way (pre-Reformation) to get eternal life was corrupt and messed up...so what happens to people who followed the church's misleading orders? They were trying to do their best; did they get a chance to repent and go to heaven?

See the answer to the 1st question

Q - Is there a biblical reference to purgatory or a place like purgatory?

In Roman Catholic theology, Purgatory (Latin: Purgatorium, via Anglo-Norman and Old Frenchis an intermediate state after physical death in which some of those ultimately destined for heaven must first "undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven," holding that "certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come."

Roman Catholics consider the teaching on Purgatory, but not the imaginative accretions, to be part of the faith derived from the revelation of Jesus Christ that was preached by the Apostles. Of the early Church Fathers, Origen says that "He who comes to be saved, comes to be saved through  fire" (1 Corinthians 3:15) that burns away sins and worldliness like lead, leaving behind only pure gold.  St. Ambrose of Milan speaks of a kind of "baptism of fire" which is located at the entrance to Heaven, and through which all must pass, at the end of the world. Pope St. Gregory the Great says that the belief in Purgatory is "established" (constat), and "to be believed" (credendum), insisting however that the Purgatorial fire can only purify away minor transgressions, not "iron, bronze, or lead," or other "hardened" (duriora) sins. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purgatory

PASTOR DAVID - there is very little substantive Scriptural support which the Roman Catholic church can offer for this.  Even the reference from 1 Corinthians 3:15 is a poor interpretation of what Paul is teaching.  Paul does not say that someone spends times in flames, but that his/her work (3:13) may not stand up to God's evaluation because the investment in the work of the Gospel was not sacrificial or done with quality.

Q - How can we lovingly share the gospel of Christ with our friends and family who are a part of "non-reformed" churches?

If possible, perhaps the best way is just to invite them to read Scripture with you.  Perhaps read through together the Gospel of John in a clear English translation.  The power of the simple Word read can be life-changing.

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