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The Mindset of the People around the Time of the Reformation (Part 1)

Written By Wade Mobley on 01/27/2014 | Posted in Christian History

This winter/spring I am teaching a class at the Association Free Lutheran Theological Seminary entitled "Doctrine of the Word." If the term "doctrine" derails you, please know that all it means is "teaching." We will be considering the teaching of God concerning His word, and doing so in a manner that is historical, philosophical and, above all, Scriptural.

Slow, Steady and Now Accelerating Rejection of God

As part of my preparation I am exploring an area of longtime interest to me: the WHY behind the world's slow, steady and now accelerating rejection of God. There was a time when God's existence, willingness and ability to speak to us, and the truth of that speaking were generally accepted. That day being past, "why" seems to be a reasonable question to answer while preparing future pastors for a life of service in declaring, explaining and applying God's Word.

I'll give you an example of why this is important for our current consideration.

Germany Made Hitler

Most people think Hitler made the Germany that carried out the Holocaust. Really, it's the other way around. Germany made Hitler, whose consistent application of faulty popular philosophy/theology gave rise to the Holocaust. Most think that Christians stood by idly while Hitler did his work, but they don't realize that there was very little true Christianity left in Germany by that time, and many of those that remained resisted Hitler at the cost of their lives.

The ideas that made Hitler and Germany didn't die in the bunker, rather, they thrive today:

  • Georg Hegel's existentialism was the basis for Karl Marx' communism, and is the basis for how postmodernists claim to know things.
  • Schleiermacher's methodology of reconciling Enlightenment naturalism with Biblical theology is standard operating procedure for many Christians.
  • The social gospel of Walter Rauschenbusch has replaced the substitutionary atonement of Christ in many ciricles.
  • Albert Schweitzer's (yes, THAT Albert Schweitzer) conclusion that "The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah.... never existed" is alive and well.
  • The "God is dead" nihilism of Friedrich Nietzsche encouraged Hitler's "Will to Power" and lives on today: "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger" is a paraphrase of his "what does not kill me makes me stronger" (Twilight of the Idols, 1888).
  • The soul-denying psychology of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are still foundational to soul-care today, and their contributions, taken with Nietzsche, form the self-refuting philosophical foundation for homosexuality.

Pastor John Eidsmoe

All of this prompted an email visit with a friend of mine - and fellow AFLC pastor - John Eidsmoe. Pastor Eidsmoe is also an attorney, blackbelt and retired Air Force Colonel. His work appears frequently in academic conversation, and-what is a sure sign that you have "made it" in the 21st century- has a Wikipedia page about himself that he didn't create. For the record, this is the page he DID create himself.

Last year Colonel Eidsmoe stopped by Living Word and taught a fabulous session for our adults-
The Mindset of People Around the Time of the Reformation. Why? In order to understand accurately what people taught, you have to understand the way that they thought. Tomorrow I'll give you a reproduction of my notes from that morning.

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Thankful to the Living God for life, redemption and His many blessings. Doing my best to reflect His character in all I do.

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