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Sunday: God’s Word Alone — 17 Comments

  1. John Wycliffe (1328-1384) was a Catholic priest and Academic at Oxford University (both Oxford and Cambridge were Catholic Universities at that time as evidenced by the names of the Colleges that are still used today) He remained a Catholic for life. We know him today for two reasons:
    • He initiated the translation of the Vulgate Bible from Latin into what is now called Middle English
    • He was an outspoken critic of the excesses of the Papacy.

    He believed that ordinary people should be able to read and hear the scriptures in the language they were most familiar with. When you went to church in those days, the whole liturgy was in ecclesiastical Latin. You went to church because you had to, not because you could understand what was being said.

    At the time academics, who were generally church officers spoke and wrote in Latin. The aristocracy usually spoke French while the common people spoke what we today would consider a primitive form of English. English "as she was spoke" was a mixture of languages and varied considerably from district to district. (Note the dialects that we still have in England today. One set of my grandparents came from Oxford while the others came from Yorkshire so I had an early introduction to the differences.)

    The Bible was translated from the Latin Vulgate Bible (This had been developed around 382 by Jerome under commission from Pope Damasus. And was the official Bible of the Catholic Church.) There are two major variants of the Wycliffe Bible. The early version was a word-for-word translation because they believed that word-order was inspired. The later version was a more idiomatic translation and was more popular because it was easier to understand.

    Modern scholarship believe that Wycliffe had less to do with the actual translation than originally thought and that several translators such as John Purvey and Nicholas of Hereford did much of the work. However, it is still acknowledged that Wycliffe was the inspiration and architect of this translation. His idea was:

    "it helpeth Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue in which they know best Christ's sentence".

    Wycliffe was a whistle-blower on the Papacy. He was highly critical of the veneration of the saints, monasticism, the sacraments, and the role of the Pope in government. He condemned the buying and selling of church offices, (Imagine that you could be a conference president if you paid the church $250,000) indulgences, the accumulation of wealth, and the collusion between the church and state. He promoted the idea of a poverty-based clergy and advocated that the Church should divest itself of its property..

    He wrote and distributed tracts and papers and preached sermons ecpressing these ideas. At a time of rising nationalism his ideas proved popular with the laity and of course the church hierarchy and Parliament opposed them. He distributed his ideas through the academic institutions of Europe and was influential in developing Jan Huss's reformation ideas in what is now the Czech Republic.

    His political activity reached the ears of Pope Gregory XI (not the calendar Pope – he was XIII). I will mention is passing that there was considerable conflict within the Catholic church between the monks and the secular clergy. It would take too long to explain for this discussion but suffice it to say that Wycliffe was somewhat protected by this conflict. Wycliffe was a secular priest. The Pope issued several Papal Bulls (strong condemnations) against Wycliffe and his teachings. In one of the Bulls the followers of Wycliffe were called “Lollards” intended as an insult but they wore it as a badge of honour. During all of this there was an uprising with some bloodshed called the Peasant’s revolt. Wycliffe disapproved of this activity but there is no doubt that Wycliffe’s ideas had had some effect on the peope who perpetrated this activity.

    Importantly, Wycliffe believed in the importance of personal religion based on the grace of God. He believed that liturgy should be in a language that the congregation understood. He maintained the notion that Scripture was the authoritative centre of Christianity and that the Catholic Church’s claim for absolute authority not only had no basis but was corrupt.

    He died a natural death but the Church continued to condemn his ideas and destroy his literary works. His followers were persecuted. In 1415, about 25 years after his death, the church declared him a heretic and his body was exhumed and burned, and his ashes were thrown into the river.

    His life has given the protestant movement a lasting legacy.

  2. “Sanctify the Lord in your hearts, and always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you , with meekness and humility” (1 Peter 3:15).

    Why would anyone ask about the hope in me? It would have to be that I have a more sure calmness about me. The way I handle criticism, the way I handle tedium, the way I handle irritations, the way I handle disrespect, the way I handle being put last, the way I handle being slapped around verbally, the way I handle repeating the same assurance over and over to my anxious mother, the way I handle disappointment and being left out....the list goes on and on.

    I'm praying for help with this. If my hope is even a little bit in the acceptance of others, than my hope is not FULLY on Jesus.

    1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,and being sober-minded, set your hope FULLY on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    People can tell what's under even a calm-ish exterior. I don't think hiding being "ruffled" really works, especially with family and friends and those who spend more time together. People will know if it matters to me to be liked by them. For someone to say to me, "“What do you know that I don’t know? Where do you get your peace and happiness and strength from?” ... I think that takes returning good and kindness for unkindness and evil ..... and here's the challenge to me....it HAS to come from God's Loving Heart, not just a behavior but a relationship. Because the world has "Be Kind" signs everywhere too. I can act kind. But if deep down I want esteem and approval from others, and crave justice and what's fair for myself, then I'll be acting just like the world acts and no one will be impressed to ask about the hope in me.

    So I want to spend some time this week with God communicating about the hope He gives me in His Word, the hope He gives me from the ways He's already revealed Himself to me, and asking Him to change me so that my hope is in Him alone...and so that I can be a light (or a star, as my name means) that reflects Him and points everyone around me to Him.

  3. Hello am out of the topic but please am in need of your help. Help me some thoughts pls members.

    Helo help me this 👇👇👇

    Sorry am a Sabbath school leader in my church. And we have a Sabbath visitors day on may 3 (the coming Sabbath). I want that day to make the visitors happy and be a memorable to them.

    Please help me on things we should do in order to make it wonderful. We are just a small church in Africa. Please help me

    • Hello Lynn.

      When people come to our church, by culture they are not looking for something flashy (which is a good thing) but looking for authenticity.

      I am sure you will make them feel welcomed, so be creative on that. Here are a couple of thoughts:

      > How about organizing a breakfast time that morning: so that they can come for Sabbath School study?

      > If you can, assign each visitor with one member (same sex, to avoid akwardice) and they will be a sort of a tourguide and a friend, sitting next to them, facilitating all.

      > Giving them a small presence to remember that day - smthg small but last, and would reflect positivity...

      > Let the SS super intendant contact them by text or greeting cards after a day or two, just to appreciate them and how they feel... telling them how much you'd love to seem them again next week...

      > During the service, it might be better to avoid using inside terms like "happy Sabbath" (we're so glad you're here instead), and "Spirit Of Prophecy" (mention the title of the EGW book instead), or "conference and union"...

      ...These are just thoughts Lynn to get you started. I'm praying for your church family.

    • Others who are better at the hostessing could help you with the “things” but mainly just love them.
      Be involved with them. Make them feel welcomed and be able to see that yours is a warm and loving church (and I hope that is true).
      They will remember that you took time to talk with them as a guest and made them feel special much more than they will remember the color coordinated decorations or the delicious lunch, which are just things. Have everything ready beforehand so that people are able to visit instead of “fixing” and maybe have people who can go into the sanctuary or classes with them and sit beside them instead of just marching in and sitting in the usual place. If they are greeted and someone goes in with them and sits beside them then they can be guided during the service by words or actions (stand up, kneel, songbook etc).
      I will put you, your church and your visitors on my prayer list.

    • Hello.To make your visitors day memorable, you can have little gifts for each visitor such as steps to Christ, The Great Controversy and to top it off a special pot luck (luncheon) after service. Let each member greet these visitors with Christ love. Make them feel so welcomed that they will want to come back. I will be praying for you. God bless.

  4. The Truth is not relative! Truth is absolute! It stays the same with time, culture, and faith. Truth is Truth! Truth generates facts, immutable facts, regardless of human will. Thus, Truth has to come from above us, from a perfect place, a perfect being. Truth can be a person; God's Word is the Truth because God is Truth.

  5. Lynn: try to get greeters and members to make sure that not one person (visitor or member) comes in and is not prayed with. Have them surround the entrance and select them as they enter, take them off and pray with them

  6. Maurice, thank you for the history lesson. There were parts of it that I didn’t know. I appreciate all that you do each week that gives us a proper perspective.

  7. Lynn, what a wonderful thing for a Sabbath day. Perhaps you can provide a small luncheon for your guests. This could open the door for conversation and getting to know one another.

  8. John 1:1 –
    ”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
    Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.
    In Him was Life, and THAT life was the light of all mankind. The[that] light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

    The Power inherent in God’s Word is immeasurable - heaven's Light which creates and sustains life given to all mankind, and this fallen world’s darkness can not overcome it.

    I was in awe when my heart and mind received the majestic meaning of these most powerful, assuring, faith-producing Words mankind can ever hear and be blessed to understand! It was at a time when I still struggled to find the right place for Jesus Christ - the Word of God - in my life.
    But then I understood that He came to share with us the power of the Spirit contained in God’s Word which when: “Received, assimilated, they are to be the strength of the character, the inspiration and sustenance of the life” – Ellen G. White.

    May I take the liberty to restate one of the lesson writer’s sentences to highlight more of God’s Truth:
    ‘The Reformers saturated their hearts and minds with the Spirit contained in Scripture. They received power unto living by the spirit of the Word, and many of them died because of the spirit of the Word.’

    Indeed, it is the Light, the Light inherent in God’s Spirit and Power, His LIVING Word that helps us overcome this fallen world’s darkness – even giving us strength when facing death.

  9. Hello Lynn,
    My suggestion for a visitor to your church would be to share the love that Jesus Christ shared with His disciples and all the people who came to hear His message. We all learn His truth from scripture as guided by the Holy Spirit. A humble attitude is most important in our witnessing.

  10. To be honest, thank you team for help me on my question on Sabbath visitors day. It is very helpful. Thank you so much, may GOD bless you. I can't mention or reply to all of you but thanks for answering my question. I feel joy and happy to be here.

    May GOD bless you team, love you.


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