Oecolampadius -“The Light of The House”

This morning I read my devotion from The One Year Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten. The devotion spoke about how being “second fiddle” is a time-honored profession in God’s work.

Johann Hausschein was Ulrich Zwingli’s “wing man” or “second fiddle” during the Reformation in German-speaking Switzerland in the 1500s. He was very intelligent and Erasmus considered him the “foremost intellect of his day”. Johann was a theologian, preacher, a reformer of church practices and a defender of biblical truths.

Johann’s surname in German means “the light of the house”. At some point in his life he changed his surname to the Greek equivalent, “Oecolampadius”.

“Light of the house”. What a beautiful word-picture of what the biblical believer in Jesus Christ is to be. He is to be like a light shining in a home, repelling the darkness so that those living there can see their way. A light removing the mystery of what is around us, in the darkness.

If you have ever been through a hurricane, ice storm or tornado and lost your electric power, you were thankful for any source of light you had as the darkness enveloped your home. There was great rejoicing when the lights came back on.

I spent a considerable amount of my life working at a wood preserving manufacturing plant where we made wooden utility poles like you see along the highway. After an ice storm or hurricane destroyed the utility grid in an area, we would send hundreds or thousands of wooden utility poles, so the local utility could restore power. Our truck drivers said people would line the streets and applaud when they rolled into town with the utility poles.

Humans were not made to dwell in darkness.

Sadly, far too many today do dwell in spiritual “darkness”, a state of ignorance. Ignorant of the life changing love of God which He manifested by sending His Son Jesus to die for our sins. Ignorant of the resurrection of Christ, the born again experience, and the many other biblical truths that deliver man from evil and the evil one.  As we will see later, we, as lost people separated from God by our sins, are described as being “darkness”.

The prophet Isaiah (9:2-4) prophesied by the Holy Spirit and said, concerning  Jesus’ birth:

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.

Jesus is the Light. What a beautiful metaphor and truth.  Isaiah goes on to say there will be great joy and rejoicing because of this Light:

“… You shall increase their  gladness; They will be glad in Your presence As with the gladness of  harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” 

Why this rejoicing and gladness?

“For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, The rod of their oppressor…”

Because Jesus  will set people free from the oppressor of mankind, the evil one, satan.

We recently learned of the death of a young missionary who was trying to reach a government protected, unreached island tribe off the coast of India.  The tribe killed him when he reached the shore.  The world says “leave these people alone and let them live as they have for thousands of years.” But the reality is that the darkness they live in is full of fear and terror created by evil spirits that control and torment them. They are one of the “oppressors” that Jesus, The Light, came to expose and defeat in peoples lives.  On my desk I have a DVD entitled “I Will Never Go Back! The Testimony of Chief Shoefoot, A Former Shaman.”  This Amazon witchdoctor tells how he was possessed and controlled by demons and how Jesus Christ set him free from these evil spirits.  He said he would never go back to living like his people had lived for thousands of years. Why? Through someone sharing Jesus Christ with him, he now knows the truth about God, man, sin, satan and freedom in Christ. He is walking in the Light.

May we be “the light of the house” wherever God puts us.  May we reflect the light or knowledge of Jesus, in humility and wisdom, onto the people and circumstances around us.

People don’t like darkness and some people are just like outdoor moths. They will come to the Light!

Father God, Giver of all wisdom, thank you for sending the Light into the darkness and rescuing us when we were helpless.  Help us to reflect  Jesus, the true Light, into the darkness around us.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

“For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth)…”  Ephesians 5:8-9

Carl

Our Priceless Treasure

“The Bible is the most priceless possession of the human race.”

Halley’s Bible Handbook (1965)

For the most part, prior to the time of the Reformation, lay people were not allowed to read the Bible and, in most cases, were not even allowed to have a Bible. The Popes of the Roman Catholic Church of that day decided who could read and have the Bible.

For example:

Pope “Hildebrand ordered Bohemians not to read the Bible. Innocent III forbade the people reading the Bible in their own language. Gregory IX forbade laymen possessing the Bible and suppressed translations. Paul IV prohibited the possession of translations without permission of the Inquisition. The Jesuits induced Clement XI to condemn the reading of the Bible by the laity. Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, and Pius IX all condemned Bible Societies.” Halley’s Bible Handbook

Some groups, such as the Albigenses (1208 AD) and Waldenses, who were fortunate enough to have the Bible, believed it, lived it, and preached it. For this, the Albigenses people group was murdered by the order of Pope Innocent III and the Waldenses were murdered and severely persecuted by the Catholic Inquisition, surviving only in the alpine valleys southwest of Turin, Italy. The authorities burned their Bibles and the people who had them.

With the advent of the printing press, it was impossible for the Popes and civil authorities to suppress the Bible. Men read it and their eyes were opened.

“There was study of the Scriptures in their original languages. Renewed knowledge of the sources of Christian doctrine revealed the vast difference between the native simplicity of the Gospel and the ecclesiastical fabric that professed to be founded on it. The Reformation owed its being to the direct contact of the mind with the Scriptures, and it resulted in the emancipation of the human mind from priestly and Papal authority. ” (Halley’s Bible Handbook)

Out of this revelation of Biblical Truth, men like Luther, a Catholic priest, and millions more threw off the traditions and commandments of men that had kept them enslaved and, for the first time in probably 1100 years, a multitude of people begin to walk in biblical truth as the Savior intended. As a result, the Western nations were changed forever.

Some may say “Why are you writing about something that happened 500 years ago?” It is because I find among the Protestant Church today, especially among the young, an almost total ignorance about the Reformation. If the Protestant Church is to remain free, it must understand the issues that brought about the Reformation. Issues that made millions of people endure being tortured and burned at the stake or drowned instead of expressing loyalty to the Pope and his church.

May you find your Priceless Possession today and begin to let its Light overcome any darkness in your life. May its Truth set you free from the enslaving teachings and commandments of men.

May God richly bless you,

Carl

In Honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

It has been 500 years since the German priest Luther nailed his 95 theses or propositions on the Castle Church door (above) at Wittenberg, Germany. Little did he realize then the far reaching impact of what he had done. The Reformation was born and Christianity and all of Western civilization was changed. The other night we watched online as one of our daughters participated in a very large Reformation anniversary celebration in one of the European capital cities. It was a glorious event. They even sang my grandmothers favorite hymn in their mother tongue. It was quite moving.

To celebrate this august occasion, I offer this quote from Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley:

“Luther’s greatest contribution to history, however, was not political. It was religious. He took four basic Catholic concerns and offered invigorating new answers. To the question how is a person saved, Luther replied: not by works but by faith alone. To the question where does religious authority lie, he answered: not in the visible institution called the Roman church but in the Word of God found in the Bible. To the question – what is the church? —- he responded: the whole community of Christian believers, since all are priest before God. To the question — what is the essence of Christian living? —- he replied: serving God in any useful calling, whether ordained or lay. To this day any classical description of Protestantism must echo those central truths.”

And you know what? The Bible today still says the same things. Thank you Lord Jesus for the Bibles we have. It is really a miracle. Let us remember the men, such as John Wyclif and William Tyndall, who translated the Greek NT manuscripts into our mother tongue, so we, the common man, could understand what God had said.

Thank you for your time. God Bless you.

Carl