FROM YOUR PASTOR’S DESK:
CHRIST’S LIGHTS SHINES IN AND THROUGH THE DARKEST PART OF THE NIGHT
Jesus, Himself the LIGHT OF LIFE OF THE WORLD, in His Sermon in the mount, told the multitudes and His first disciples as He defined and described the nature of the kingdom He had incarnated into in order to establish on earth:
“Ye are [going to be] the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. A CITY set on a hill cannot be hid…..Let YOUR LIGHT so shine before men, that they may see YOUR GOOD WORKS and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5: 14,16, K.J.V.
The multitudes and first disciples did not yet fully comprehend what being “light of the world” and what it’s “good works” meant. The “eye” of their minds (just like Paul before his conversion) were still enveloped with the thick “scales” of tradition, doctrinal misinterpretations of the Messiah and His kingdom, and personal temporal ambitions. But they were attracted to this simple Man from Galilee.
After Christ left for heaven, and the first disciples conducted their gospel commission within the first century of the newborn Christian church clothed in its original apostolic purity, the period soon began when and where their special calling and roles, following and patterned after that of Christ’s, as His “lights of the world” with their “good works,” would be understood by fiery experience, learning in “terrible lessons in righteousness.” This is what we are covering in the life and times of the Waldenses, etc., and onward. Thus we continue:
“Ignorance and superstition generated VICE of the basest sort, and brought the Christian world into the DARKNESS OF THE DARK AGES, which made the Reformation of the sixteenth century absolutely necessary. [We will cover this subject as opportunity presents itself].”
“And as ‘the darkest of the night is just before dawn,’ so the TWELFTH TO THE SIXTEENTH CENTURIES where the darkest in the Christian Era [CE]. For a time, however, there were still a FEW LIGHTS SHINING in the religious horizon, shedding their MILD GOSPEL LIGHT INTO THE DENSE DARKNESS. But when these were extinguished, the darkness became well nigh complete!
“The Celtic Church of Scotland and Ireland had sent their missionaries with and open Bible into almost every country in EUROPE. The gospel lamp in Scotland was EXTINGUISHED in 1069; that of Ireland in 1172; that of the ancient Albigenses in 1229; the Assyrian lamp of the East was extinguished at Malabar, India, by the INQUISITION in 1560; and the Waldensian lamp, that had been SHINING THE LONGEST, and had sent its MILD RAYS over EUROPE for centuries, was extinguished in 1686.
“The history of these [original, genuinely apostolical] evangelical churches during this dark period is very interesting and has MANY VALUABLE LESSONS for our day.
“The Waldenses and Albigenses were QUIET AND INDUSTRIOUS people, and followed the BIBLE STANDARD OF MORALITY, which actually CAUSED THEIR PERSECUTION! [Note]:
“But their crowning offense was their love and reverence for the Scripture, and their burning zeal in making converts. The INQUISITOR of Passau informs us that they had translations of whole Bible in the vulgar [common] tongue [language; dialect], which the [Romish] Church vainly sought to suppress, and which they studied with INCREDIBLE ASSIDUITY……
Many of them had THE WHOLE NEW TESTAMENT BY HEART…..
Surely if there ever was a GOD-FEARING PEOPLE it was these UNFORTUNATES [the typical scorn and hatred of the unrighteous towards the righteous, beginning with Cain towards his brother Abel] under the BAN OF THE CHURCH AND STATE [Precisely what the First Amendment stipulates]…..
The Inquisitors [not the messengers and prophets of God] declared that the SIGN of a Vaudois [Waldenses], DEEMED WORTHY OF DEATH, was that he FOLLOWED CHRIST AND SOUGHT TO OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD.’ – ‘History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages,’ H. C. Lea, Vol. I, pp. 86, 87. NY: Harper Bros., 188&.” – Facts of Faith, Christian Edwardson, pp. 127, 128. Southern Publishing Asso., (Rev.) 1842.
Of such mold in the furnace of affliction and tribulation will be the genuine Christians of these last days till earth’s probation closes. These precious souls provide me hope, courage, and determination to keep my conscience free of offense towards God and to carry on, all by His empowering grace, until He shutters the windows and closes the curtains for the long night. Bless all, NMF