“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen. I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of Hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46: 10-11 KJV
This reference is pertinent to today’s message because I understand Martin Luther drew his inspiration from this Psalm when he wrote his magnificent hymn of the Reformation that he initiated when he nailed his 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg Castle Church on All Hallows’ Eve, 500 hundred years ago today.
I am an Evangelical Christian, and this reference is pertinent not only to me as a child of the Reformation, but also to our Israeli allies. To those who may not know or have forgotten: After Jacob wrestled with a messenger from the Lord until morning, he was renamed Israel. See Genesis 32:22-32. Ever after his descendants have been known as the People of Israel, the People that Struggle with God.
So we both worship the God of Jacob. Is it any wonder that we Evangelicals consider Israel to be our closest ally, particularly in the Middle East?
Moreover, all of Western Civilization owe much to the Reformation, and especially to those who pioneered the early translation and distribution of the Bible for the common man to read for himself. Among the earliest translations of the Bible was known as the Geneva Bible, which preceded the King James version by a half century, and was the first to be mechanically printed for mass public consumption.
I relearned these lessons of my youth during my five years as President Ronald Reagan’s Ambassador in the Defense and Space Talks in Geneva — a city of great pertinence to all blessed by the Reformation, whatever their faith.
On the four hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, Reformation Wall was dedicated to him as the father of Calvinism and a significant branch of the Reformation, sometimes at odds with Martin Luther and other key reformers. I attended church in the chapel where John Calvin taught during those early Reformation years. His statue is second from the left below on Reformation Wall where I often visited.
Reformation Wall is 5m high and 100m long, and depicts main individuals, scenes and documents of the Protestant Reformation, in statues and bas-reliefs.
The central four 5m statues are (left to right) of:
- Theodore Beza, the successor to John Calvin (1519-1605)
- John Calvin, the leader of the Reformation movement and spiritual father to Geneva (1509-1564)
- William Farel, the first to preach the Reformation in Geneva (1489-1565)
- John Knox, friend of John Calvin and founder of the Scottish Presbyterians (1513-1572)
To the left of these central statues are three 3m statues of:
- Gaspard de Coligny, leader of the French Huguenots (1519-1572)
- William the Silent, more well known as William I of Orange, father of the Netherlands and saviour of Calvinism in the low countries (1533-1584)
- Frederick William Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia creator of the Brandenburg Tolerance Edict.
The three 3m statues to the right of the center are:
- Roger Williams, English Puritan and Pilgrim Father (1603-1684)
- Oliver Cromwell, English military and political leader favouring religious tolerance to all Protestants and anti-Royalist (1599-1658)
- Stephen Bocskay, Hungarian Calvinist nobleman (1557-1606)
Engraved along the wall is the motto of the Reformation and Geneva, Post Tenebras Lux, or After Darkness Light. Along the wall are also reliefs depicting:
- An inscription commemorating Geneva’s official acceptance of the Reformation, 21 May 1536.
- Frederick William Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia creator of the Brandenburg Tolerance Edict giving equal rights to Lutherans and Calvinists and the Potsdam Edict giving safety of passage to Brandenburg-Prussia to Huguenots after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1620-1688).
- William 1 of Orange, or the silent, who became the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that commenced the Eighty Years War (1568–1648). The formal declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king was signed on 26 July 1581.
- King Henry IV (of Navarre) signing the Edict of Nantes (1598), which ended the Wars of Religion in France.
- Preaching of the Reformation to the people of Geneva in the presence of envoys from Bern. Above is an inscription of the Lord’s Prayer in French.
- John Knox preaching against Queen Mary Stuart from his pulpit in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. Above is an inscription of the Lord’s Prayer in English.
- Roger Williams and the Pilgrim Fathers praying on the Mayflower as it sails to America. Above is an inscription of the Mayflower Compact (1620).
- The British Parliament presenting the Bill of Rights, an act declaring the rights and liberties of the subjects, also the settling the succession of the crown, to William and Mary, Prince and Princess of Orange in 1689.
- Bocskay bringing the signed treaty of Vienna to the Diet of Kassa. Sadly Bocskay died (probably of poisoning) just a few days after this event.
Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli (Swiss reformer who gave rise to the Baptist tradition) have significantly less prominent memorials at the sides of the wall, (Calvin had disagreed with them on some points). But they wrote their Reformation stories as well. And Methodism later grew an independent branch from the Church of England under the early leadership of John and Charles Wesley and it expanded in the eighteenth century, particularly throughout America via circuit riders.
The legacy of the Reformation included many religious wars for liberty and has been a light to enlighten nations and free their citizens.
Americans owe their liberty to these men and our founders who shared their most fundamental views. It is absurd to claim that America was not founded as a Christian nation. And it is a travesty that our children today are no longer taught these truths in our public schools — indeed alien religions are today given preference there, even while the persecution of Christians abroad continues.
So, while the children visit you this evening for a “trick or treat,” pause a minute and consider another reason for remembering “All Hallows’ Eve” of yesteryear. And as we consider our needed defenses today, remember Martin Luther’s magnificent hymn:
A mighty Fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal!
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle!
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever!
Such thoughts are worth recounting as we await the outcome of the Conferees of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 and the fate of the EMP Commission. Not to be forgotten is that we are considering our fate as we continue to fumble our way in dealing with the existential threat to all we hold dear, posed by all too real threats to the electric power grid.
Click here for my Newsmax article of yesterday that urges President Trump to take the initiative to establish by an Executive Order his own EMP Commission within the White House to take a whole of government approach in leading us out of the swamp of disaggregated and dysfunctional agencies of the federal government.
Stay tuned . . .
What can you do?
Join us in praying for our nation, and for a rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.
Help us to spread our message to the grass roots and to encourage all “powers that be” to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.
Begin by passing this message to your friends and suggest they visit our webpage www.highfrontier.org, for more information. Also, please encourage your sphere of influence to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.
Encourage them to review our past email messages, posted on www.highfrontier.org, to learn about many details related to the existential manmade and natural EMP threats and how we can protect America against them. I hope you will help us with our urgently needed efforts, which I will be discussing in future messages.
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