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A Glorious Institution:

The Church in History


Stanford E. Murrell


Parts Three and Four

The Reformation and Its Aftermath
(1517 - 1648)

The Modern Age
(1648 - 1900s)




This book contains parts three and four of the four part A Glorious Institution: The Church in History. Other parts include the
Church’s beginnings and the Church in the Middle Ages, under separate cover.





Table of Contents




Part Three The Reformation and Its Aftermath 1517 - 1648
1. THE REFORMATION BEGINS....................................................................................................................................................3
2. UPHEAVAL!..................................................................................................................................................................................8
3. A NEW WAY OF LIFE FOR LUTHER AND LUTHERANS ....................................................................................................13
4. THE REFORMATION REACHES BEYOND GERMANY........................................................................................................15
5. BLOOD AND VIOLENCE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST ...........................................................................................................21
6. REFORMATION FAITH IS FOUND IN FRANCE ....................................................................................................................24
7. JOHN KNOX AND THE SCOTTISH REFORMATION............................................................................................................27
8. REFORMATION COMES TO ENGLAND.................................................................................................................................30
9. COUNTER REFORMATION AND CONTINUING CONFLICT ..............................................................................................34
10. THE REFORMATION IN ENGLAND CONTINUES ................................................................................................................38
11. THE RISE OF NEW EXPRESSIONS OF RELIGION ................................................................................................................44
12. THE CHANGES IN THE CHURCH CONTINUE ......................................................................................................................47


Part Four The Church in the Modern Age 1648 - 1900s

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13. THE CONTINUED GROWTH OF MYSTICISM .......................................................................................................................50
A CONCISE CATECHISM ON CONVERSION ............................................................................................................................52
14. THE BOUNDARIES OF ACCEPTABLE BELIEFS...................................................................................................................53
The DOCTRINE OF THE IMPECCABILITY OF CHRIST...........................................................................................................57
15. “THIS IS THE GOSPEL”.............................................................................................................................................................58
16. CHRISTIANITY COMES TO THE NEW WORLD....................................................................................................................63
17. RELIGIOUS REVIVALS.............................................................................................................................................................67
18. COUNTERFEIT RELIGIONS TO CHRISTIAN REVIVALS ....................................................................................................71
The Story of Ellen Gould White and Seventh-Day Adventism.....................................................................................................71
The Story of Joseph Smith and Mormonism.................................................................................................................................74
The Story of Charles Taze Russell and Jehovah’s Witnesses .......................................................................................................75
The Story of Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science .................................................................................................................77
19. A RETURN TO NORMALCY.....................................................................................................................................................79
20. CHALLENGES IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY...................................................................................................................83




A Glorious Institution: The Church in History
Parts Three and Four


This is the last of the four part series which encompasses the breadth of Church history from its beginnings up to the present day.
Part Three: The Reformation and Its Aftermath 1517 - 1648 observes this tremendous upheaval in the history of the Church.
Brave men were transforming the spiritual Church into conformity with God’s inerrant Word, in deliberate departure from the
traditions of men.
It is an unfolding drama, not just historical facts. First we live with Luther through his increasing conviction that sparked the
Reformation in Germany. Then we see Zwingli, Calvin, and Farel in Switzerland lay a strong basis for further reform--at great cost.
We are swept along with the spread of the flame to France, The Netherlands, and Scotland under Knox. In England, we are confronted
by the incredible struggle for supremacy between popes, monarchs, and ideas. We see the forces of Counter-Reformation in the
Catholic Church, concluding with the Council of Trent.
In the years following the Reformation, not everyone agreed as to the exact teaching of the Bible on many important issues, and
different Protestant denominations were established. And within Protestantism, Arminianism arose as an alternative to the orthodox
faith of the Reformation, known today as Calvinism.
Part Four: The Church in the Modern Age 1648 - 1900s is the account of the incredible difficulty man has, when given
freedom to study the scriptures, to avoid false doctrines springing out of pride and greed. New religious movements departed from the
historic creeds of Christendom, in favor of personal ‘revelation’ and individual interpretations. Nevertheless, “our God reigns,” and
there were Great Awakenings as the Holy Spirit revived true Christianity repeatedly, and brought evangelical missions movements
worldwide. Though it faces real challenges, the Church Triumphant continues to grow and to be a blessing to the world.



© Copyright 1998 Chapel Library and Stanford E. Murrell. Permission is expressly granted to reproduce this material in any form,
under two conditions:

1. the material is not charged for, and
2. this copyright notice and all the text on this page are included.



Stanford E. Murrell, Th.D., is a pastor and teacher in Apollo, Pennsylvania. He also has authored The New Covenant in Christ: A
Survey of the New Testament, available from Chapel Library. The Story of the Christian Church Seminar is a seminar on Church
History taught by Dr. Murrell in local communities, and is especially appropriate for local church assemblies. For more information,
[email protected]


A Study Guide is also available for this text. For copies or information on other Bible correspondence courses, please contact Mount
Zion Bible Institute at the same address.









Part Three

The Reformation and Its Aftermath

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RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691), was one of England’s most respected and renowned preachers in an era of great
ministers. He was one of the foremost spokesmen of the Puritan party within the Church of England. Baxter is the author
of more than 160 works, including The Saints’ Everlasting Rest (based on Heb. 4:9). Those who would live a “heavenly
life upon earth” are warned not to live in known sin, fellowship with the ungodly, argue over non-essential matters of
Christian doctrine and conduct, or manifest a spirit of pride.
THOMAS GOODWIN (1600-1679). His parents devoted him to the Lord and to the work of the ministry when he was a
child. Their desire to honor the Lord was not in vain. Gifted with intellectual abilities, Goodwin was admitted to Christ’s
College at the age of 13. After his conversion, Goodwin was appointed to the lectureship at Trinity Church, Cambridge,
but resigned in 1634 for non-conformity. After pastoring in Holland, he returned to London. Thomas Goodwin was one of
the divines at the Assembly of Westminster. His works have been reprinted in 12 volumes.
JOHN OWEN (1616-1683). Born at Stadhampton, Oxfordshire, John Owen was educated in the classics and theology
before being ordained a minister in the Anglican Church. Dissatisfied with the changes mandated by Archbishop William
Laud, Owen left that structure to become a leading theologian of the Congregational churches. When civil war broke out
in the nation, Oliver Cromwell made Owen his chaplain during his military campaigns in Ireland and Scotland (1649-
1651). A prolific writer and scholar, some of his greatest works are The Display of Arminianism (1642), Doctrine of
Justification by Faith (1677), and The Death of Deaths in the Death of Christ.
THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677). In 1640 at the age of twenty, Thomas Manton was ordained deacon in the Anglican
Church by the bishop of Exeter, even though the official minimum age was twenty-three. His life would be spent serving
the Lord. Manton knew great success as a public orator as crowds gathered to hear him preach. But he also knew suffering
through imprisonment (six months) after departing from the State Church. With others Manton drew up the Fundamentals
of Religion (1658)--all the while trying to reach an accommodation with the bishops. His many Puritan works include
commentaries on James (1651) and Jude (1658). Thomas Manton was a beloved minister of the Gospel and respected by
conformists and non-conformists alike.
STEVEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680). Charnock was acknowledged during his lifetime to be a Puritan preacher of
sincere convictions, wisdom , and great learning. His fame as a theologian was widely appreciated and manifested in his
various works: A Discourse on Divine Providence; Discourses on Christ Crucified; Discourses on Regeneration, the
Lord’s Supper, and Other Subjects, and Discourses upon the Existence and Attributes of God (1682)--which has become a
classic.




CHAPTER 11

THE RISE OF NEW EXPRESSIONS OF RELIGION


A FIGHT WITHOUT A REASONABLE FINISH
Born in a religious belief that “the just shall live by faith”, the Reformation era ended in a social blood bath that
included political, economic, and social considerations. Once more, the world was changed through three decades of
physical violence (1618-1648). This Thirty Years’ War would eventually involve most of the countries of western Europe,
though it was fought mainly in Germany. At first, the struggle was basically a religious contest between Catholics and
Protestants. In time, other factors changed its character. For example, Sweden and France entered the conflict to control
the growing power of the Holy Roman Empire, and its ruling family.
Armed struggles began in Bohemia, after years of verbal conflict between Catholics and Calvinistic Protestants. In
1618 the Bohemians rejected the rule of the newly elected Catholic Emperor Ferdinand II (1578-1637), and elected the
Protestant Calvinist, Elector Frederick V (1596-1632) of Germany. The predictable result was open civil war.
The Thirty Years’ War can be divided into four distinct parts. In Part I (1618-1623), the Catholic armies were
victorious over the Protestant forces in Bohemia, Moravia, and Austria. Frederick was completely defeated at the Battle of
White Mountain (1620), deprived of his electorate (1623), and sent into exile until his death. His wife Elizabeth, daughter
of James I - king of England, went into exile with him. They had been married in 1613.
In Part II (1623-1629), the battle ground shifted in Europe. Initially led by Christian IV of Denmark, the Catholics
again defeated the Protestant armies. On August 26, 1626, at Lutter am Barenberge, Germany, the main body of the
Protestant army was routed. Towns and villages were pillaged in the aftermath.
In Part III (1630-1632), the various Catholic coalitions disintegrated. This allowed the zealous Lutheran, Gustavus
Adolphus of Sweden, the “Lion of the North” to lead the Protestant forces to victory. He gave his life in the effort.
In Part IV (1632-1648), the war engaged all of Europe, as nation after nation struggled for power and political
advantages.
Finally, the war was brought to an end by the Peace of Westphalia, signed at Munster on October 24, 1648.

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Switzerland and the Dutch Republic (The Netherlands), were established as independent states. The Holy Roman Empire
and the Hapsburgs (Germany) were weakened. France emerged as the chief power on the Continent. Catholicism,
Calvinism, and Lutheranism were all recognized as legitimate religions. Each prince or ruler was allowed to determine
which religion he and his region would embrace. The religion of the prince would be the religion of the people.

A TREE OF LIFE
Despite the political and religious wars, the roots of the Reformation produced a mighty spiritual tree with strong
branches, which received nourishment to produce a variety of spiritual fruits (cp. Rev. 22:2). In England, the common
people and those who served in the House of Commons, could freely eat from the Tree of Life. One member of the House
of Commons, Sir Walter Mildmay, founder of Emmanuel College in the city of Cambridge, had prayed that this would
happen. It is reported that Queen Elizabeth had said to him: “Sir Walter, I hear you have erected a Puritan foundation.”
“No, Madam,” he replied, “far be it from me to countenance anything contrary to your established laws; but I have set an
acorn, which when it becomes an oak, God alone knows what will be the fruit thereof.”
Besides Walter Mildmay, there were other men under the early Stuarts to influence English Puritanism, such as
William Perkins (1558-1602). His conversion to Christ came by a chance remark. One day as he was walking down the
streets of Cambridge, he overheard a woman warn her child to “beware of drunken Perkins.” His heart was smitten with
sin by Almighty God. Shortly thereafter “drunken Perkins” could be found preaching the Gospel of redeeming grace. He
gave up the bottle for the Bible. In the years that followed, multitudes heard him gladly. He has been called “the Calvin of
England.”
Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) was another Cambridge Puritan who was used in a mighty way by God. Crowds gathered
to hear him preach. Someone wrote,
Of this blest man, let this just praise be given,
Heaven was in him, before he was in heaven.

As people gathered to hear the Gospel, none presented it more clearly than Thomas Goodwin (1600-1679). Goodwin
came to faith when he was nineteen years old. One day the Spirit of the Lord moved him to ride on horseback 35 miles,
from Cambridge to Dedham, Essex, to listen to the preaching of the Puritan John Rogers, whereupon he was converted.
Rogers was preaching against the sin of neglecting the Word of God. Suddenly, he began to personify the Lord. Another
Puritan, John Howe (1630-1705) describes the scene and the sermon.
“‘Well, I have trusted you so long with my Bible: [preached Rogers] you have slight it; it lies in such and such

houses all covered with dust and cobwebs. You care not to look into it. Do you use my Bible so? Then you shall have

my Bible no longer.’

“Next he takes up the Bible from its cushion, and seemed as if he were going away with it, and carrying it from

them; but immediately he turns again, and personates the people to God, falls down on his knees, cries and pleads

most earnestly,

“‘Lord, whatsoever Thou doest to us, take not Thy Bible from us; kill our children, burn our houses, destroy our

goods; only spare us Thy Bible, only take not away Thy Bible.’

“And then he personates God again to the people: ‘Say you so? Well, I will try you a little longer; and here is my

Bible for you, I will see how you will use it, whether you will practice it more, and live more according to it.’”


A MAN OF CONSCIENCE WITHOUT CONVICTION
The Congregationalists, or Independents, reflect another sturdy branch of the Reformation tree. In doctrine they
remained Calvinistic. In Church government, there were distinct changes. Radical changes in Church government in
England were advocated vigorously by Robert Browne (c. 1550-1633), who was greatly influenced by Puritan theology.
Graduated in 1572 from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Browne taught school. When he began to preach near
Cambridge, Browne was confronted by Anglican Church officials. Refusing to accept an episcopal license, he and Robert
Harrison established a separatist congregation in Norwich. This bold adventure brought persecution. Browne was put in
prison.
After being released, he and a large portion of his congregation fled to Middleburg in The Netherlands (1582) to avoid
future acts of religious hostility. It was in Middleburg that Browne wrote A Treatise of Reformation without Tarrying for
Any. In this work, Browne argued that the authority of civil magistrates did not extend to doctrine, worship, or discipline
in the Church. Jesus Christ rules over His people; and not the pope, or the bishops, nor the king of England. The
resurrected Christ guides His flock, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of Truth as contained in the
Scriptures.
While many others began to find some of Browne’s arguments persuasive, he personally did not have the courage to
continue to live out the implications of his own initial convictions. He returned to England in 1585 because his

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without conviction of sin. In contrast, previous generations of Christians were convinced that “the Lord added to the
church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

PSYCHOLOGICAL SEDUCTION

One of the most powerful challenges to the Christian community today is that of psychology, which has fit right into
the pragmatism discussed above. When the basic tenets of psychology are assembled, they make a direct assault upon the
fundamental doctrines of the Bible. Psychology teaches, in part, that man is inherently good; society, not self, is ultimately
to blame for the problems of life; sin is simply low self-esteem; self becomes a god; beliefs not behavior should change--
even if the behavior involves casual sex or an aberrant lifestyle; values are relative; and there are no absolutes (note Rom.
1:18-32; 3:10; 6:23; 2 Tim. 3:1-7). We are taught to ‘love ourselves’ before we can love others!
But when Jesus said “love others as you love yourself”, He was simply using the natural care we take for our bodies
and interests, as the measure to love others, not giving a new command to ‘love ourselves’. We are told many times in
scripture instead that “the first will be last” and to “deny yourself.” Self-denial in Christ’s power, not self-love, is the key
to following Christ. The basic problem with psychology is twofold: 1) it identifies a different problem--others, not
personal sin, and 2) it offers a different solution--self-esteem, not Christ. The Church must find a way to disentangle
Christianity from the psychological religion, a religion that has managed to intertwine itself with the true Gospel message
of Christ’s redeeming self-sacrificing love.

THE BATTLE FOR THE BIBLE
In the last 100 years, there has been a relentless attack upon the authority of the Bible itself. If the Bible can be shown
to have errors, or to be less than the authoritative Word of God, then man is justified in conforming his life to the
commands of the scripture only partially! We see that man will do anything to avoid submitting his life 100% to God’s
authority. So today we have those that say the Bible can be interpreted in many ways, so that obedience to biblical
instruction in righteousness becomes just a matter of personal interpretation! However, the Word of God is not to be
handled so carelessly. There are proper Bible study methods to follow. These include: 1) staying in context (historical and
narrative), 2) using the original language word meanings, and 3) following the original language grammar.
We also have those who say the Bible is infallible (incapable of error in the areas in which it claims authority), but not
inerrant (completely without error). By this they mean the Bible is without error in faith and practice, but can have error
in science and history. This allows them to disregard the Genesis account of creation, Noah’s flood, and miracles such as
Jonah and the whale. In fact, it opens the door to re-interpret any aspect of biblical truth. The fact of the matter is, that
whenever the Bible and science have seemed to collide, and further scientific investigation has revealed new facts, the
Bible has been proven to be correct.
To be very clear in this day of abundant distortions, we must say four words: that we hold to the verbal, plenary
inspiration of the inerrant scriptures. ‘Verbal’ means the written words (in the original languages), not the intended or
spiritual meaning (which is a matter of correct interpretation). ‘Plenary’ means every word, not just most. ‘Inspiration’
means God-breathed: the words in the original language were written by men who were guided by the Holy Spirit to write
the very words which God intended (yet reflecting their own personalities!)
In the words of C.H. Spurgeon: “However this sacred Book may be treated nowadays, it was not treated...
questioningly by the Lord... He continually quoted the law and the prophets... with intense reverence... How much more
should we! [Moreover,] the utmost degree of deference and homage is paid to the Old Testament by the writers of the
New. We never find an apostle raising a question about the degree of inspiration in this book or that” (from Metropolitan
Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 34, no. 2013).

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
An emphasis on ‘man’s free will’ has caused many believers today to accept a mistaken view of who God is, even
without realizing it. Historically, Christians have held that God is both omnipotent (no limit to His power) and sovereign
(no limit to His authority), as in Rev. 19:9--”The Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth”. This will be our song in heaven, why
should it not also be now? But all the influences mentioned in this chapter have caused the common Christian culture of
today to become occupied with personal desires, preferences, and plans. We desire to be ‘in control’ (a virtue in the world
system), and we get frustrated with bad circumstances, even angry! Many now see God as desiring good, but constantly
thwarted by sin, to the point that He is only watching, and it is up to us to strive to make things better, using our own
strengths (Deism all over again). People say ‘He helps us to do good as we see it.’ But this view destroys faith, and causes
us to look to ourselves.
The Bible, on the other hand, consistently presents God as ‘in control’, completely and with no exceptions. He
accomplishes His will on earth, not ours. We are called to submit our will to Him in all things, and serve Him as bond-

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slaves (2 Cor. 4:10-12; Rom. 12:11, 14:18). We live for His will, not our own (Matt. 6:10, Heb. 12:1, 1 Pet. 4:2). He uses
everything, even the acts of sinful men, for our good (Rom. 8:28-29). What a blessing this truth is to the saints--it means
we can have peace and joy (John 14:27, Rom. 15:13) as we “trust His heart even when we cannot trace His hand.” Prayer
and peace can replace planning, pressure, and power-plays!

THE NEXT CHAPTER
Despite these very real challenges, the Church will yet march on from victory to victory. The “old old story of Jesus
and His love” shall always be told, because the Holy Spirit moves in men not to let the past be forgotten.
One day multitudes will stand to honor and salute individuals who have worked to preserve the past, while maintaining
the purity of doctrinal truth. One day the King of Glory will return to earth. He will find faith because individuals of
courage and conviction have been busy about their Father’s business.
By remembering the faithfulness of God in the past, the Church can face the future with great confidence--despite the
many challenges to its creeds and conduct. True disciples of Christ must rise up and follow Him afresh. Individuals of
purity and passion are needed just as much as ever, to lead souls out of spiritual darkness into the glorious light of the
kingdom of God.
It has been noted by more than one Bible commentator that the book of Acts ends rather abruptly. It seems as if the
manuscript was left unfinished. Perhaps there is a reason for this; perhaps the last chapter of the ‘book of the Acts of the
Holy Spirit’ has yet to be written. The story of the Church is not yet finished. If the Lord tarries, the Church today will be
the next chapter which future generations will read about. Therefore, let us leave a legacy of lasting glory. Let us with the
first century saints both...


“continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2: 41)
and

“go... into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). Amen!


Soli Deo Gloria
To God Alone Be the Glory



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