Relics Anyone?

When Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire recently, it was reported that early in the fire they were able to move religious relics to safety. You may be asking “What are religious relics?” The following from Martin Luther (1897) by Miss Whately throws light on this unbiblical practice in the 1500s (AD):

In those days of superstition and ignorance people were taught that holy men could perform miracles, cure the sick and even raise the dead. Therefore, they often gave large sums of money for part of the leg or arm, even the tooth of a saint. These relics sold for very high prices, and, indeed, a great part of the wealth of the church [Roman Catholic Church] came from selling of relics. Some of the most precious relics were said to be a part of the cross upon which our blessed Lord was crucified, and the crown of thorns which he wore when the people mocked him…. They also pretended to show some of the hay in which Christ lay in the manager in Bethlehem, and the head of John The Baptist, though it is well known, from history, that the Saracens [Arabs and Muslims] opened his tomb and burned his remains to ashes. (Page 49-50)

We see that a religious relic was, and still is, body parts of the people the church considered holy and items supposedly associated with the Lord’s life on Earth. In the Middle Ages, whichever church had the most religious relics was considered to be the holiest. Martin Luther, being a Catholic Doctor of Theology who started reading and preaching the Bible, knew that relic veneration was not of God and was not based on biblical truth. Like indulgences, he knew it was a money making racket. He tells the following curious story about a relic:

A German, making his confession to a priest in Rome, promised to keep secret whatsoever the priest should impart to him, until he reached home. Whereupon the priest gave him a leg of the donkey on which Christ rode in Jerusalem very neatly bound up in silk, and said, ‘This holy relic on which the Lord Christ did sit, with his sacred legs touching this donkey’s legs.’

Then was the German wondrous glad, and carried the said holy relic with him into Germany. When he got to the borders, he boasted of his holy relic in the presence of four others, his comrades, when, lo! It turned out that each of them had likewise received from the same priest a leg, promising the same secrecy. Thereupon all exclaimed, with great wonder, ‘Oh, had that donkey five legs?

Page 50: The Story of Martin Luther edited by Miss Wheatley (1897)

The spiritual gloom created by the teaching and commandments of men produced this erroneous practice of relic veneration ….and they both are going on today.

Jesus Christ said,

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

May His word set you free from the religious teachings and commandments of men.

Carl

Making Life Meaningful

A good friend recently sent me a copy of To End All Wars by Ernest Gordon. It is Gordon’s account of the true story behind the Academy Award-winning film The Bridge on the River Kwai. During World War II he was a member of the Scottish 93rd Highlanders captured by the Japanese and put in a POW camp in Thailand. They, along with other allied troops and indigenous people, were used as slave labor to build the infamous bridge and railroad for a future Japanese invasion of India.

He describes the horrible living and work conditions and hopelessness that they had to endure daily. Death was everywhere, with many good men dying. Interpersonal relationships were almost non-existent; it was basically every man for himself.

After almost dying of multiple diseases brought on by the non-stop hard work, poor diet and extreme climate, Gordon and some of the other men, at the bottom of the abyss of human existence, stripped of all human comforts and status, began to experience revival. A turning from despair, selfishness, greed and loneliness to serving their fellow prisoners with the love that only God could put into a human heart yielded to Jesus Christ.

Following is a quote from the book that sums up his experience. I strongly recommend this book. Courage to you. Carl

“We had two alternatives: we could choose the way of men, based on the sovereignty of the natural order, closed, sealed and impersonal; or we could choose the way of Jesus Christ, free and personal, based on the sovereignty of God the Father.

The wind of the spirit had blown upon us; we could not prove how or whence it had come. But our experience pointed to a source beyond ourselves. We knew personal fulfillment, love, joy, peace, wholeness, as we committed ourselves to the One who had called us. Only as we responded to this Word did we receive the power to progress towards true humanity. Our life on the horizontal plane was made meaningful at the point where it was met by the vertical. At the point marked by the Cross we found ourselves. “

Ernest Gordon – To End All Wars (emphasis added)