Failure to Advance
THE Reformation did not, as many suppose,
end with Luther. It is to be continued to the close of this world's history. Luther had a
great work to do in reflecting to others the light which God had permitted to shine upon
him; yet he did not receive all the light which was to be given to the world. From that
time to this, new light has been continually shining upon the Scriptures, and new truths
have been constantly unfolding.
Luther and his co-laborers
accomplished a noble work for God; but, coming as they did from the Roman Church, having
themselves believed and advocated her doctrines, it was not to be expected that they would
discern all these errors. It was their work to break the fetters of Rome and to give the
Bible to the world; yet there were important truths which they failed to discover, and
grave errors which they did not renounce. Most of them continued to observe the Sunday
with other papal festivals. They did not, indeed, regard it as possessing divine
authority, but believed that it should be observed as a generally accepted day of worship.
There were some among them, however, who honored the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.
Among the reformers of the church an honorable place should be given to those who stood in
vindication of a truth generally ignored,
even by Protestants--those who maintained the
validity of the fourth commandment and the obligation of the Bible Sabbath. When the
Reformation swept back the darkness that had rested down on all Christendom, Sabbathkeepers were brought to light in many lands.
Those who received the great
blessings of the Reformation did not go forward in the path so nobly entered upon by
Luther. A few faithful men arose from time to time to proclaim new truth and expose
long-cherished error, but the majority, like the Jews in Christ's day, or the papists in
the time of Luther, were content to believe as their fathers believed, and to live as they
lived. Therefore religion again degenerated into formalism; and errors and superstitions
which would have been cast aside had the church continued to walk in the light of God's
Word, were retained and cherished. Thus the spirit inspired by the Reformation gradually
died out, until there was almost as great need of reform in the Protestant churches as in
the Roman Church in the time of Luther. There was the same spiritual stupor, the same
respect for the opinions of men, the same spirit of worldliness, the same substitution of
human theories for the teachings of God's Word. Pride and extravagance were fostered under
the guise of religion. The churches became corrupted by allying themselves with the world.
Thus were degraded the great principles for which Luther and his fellow laborers had done
and suffered so much.
As Satan saw that he had
failed to crush out the truth by persecution, he again resorted to the same plan of
compromise which had led to the great apostasy and the formation of the church of Rome. He
induced Christians to ally themselves, not now with pagans,
but with those who, by their
worship of the god of this world, as truly proved themselves idolaters.
Satan could no longer keep
the Bible from the people; it had been placed within the reach of all. But he led
thousands to accept false interpretations and unsound theories, without searching the
Scriptures to learn the truth for themselves. He had corrupted the doctrines of the Bible,
and traditions which were to ruin millions were taking deep root. The church was upholding
and defending these traditions, instead of contending for the faith once delivered to the
saints. And while wholly unconscious of their condition and their peril, the church and
the world were rapidly approaching the most solemn and momentous period of earth's
history--the period of the revelation of the Son of man.
Copyright © 1974
The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.
All Rights Reserved