Editorial -- By: Ron J. Bigalke
Martin Luther (and the other Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth century) caused immeasurable transformation to the church by demanding reform. They declared the theology of the church in Western Europe was a deviation of biblical, apostolic teaching. The rallying call of the Reformers was sola Scriptura, which meant the Bible alone was their authority (in contrast to the pope, church councils, or tradition). The systematic teaching of premillennial pretribulationism is a consequence of the Protestant Reformation; however, in calling the church to live with Scripture alone as her authority, the Reformers did not attempt to transform their eschatology. The neglect to apply the principle of sola Scriptura consistently to all 66 books of the Bible continues to result in doctrinal misunderstanding.
The Reformers endured such incredible persecution under the Catholic Church that it was only natural for them to spiritualize Scripture and understand the pope to be the Antichrist. The Reformers abandoned the allegorical method of interpretation (characteristic of Roman Catholicism) in all areas but eschatology. The reason that many of the Reformers retained the amillennialism of Catholicism was due to the times in which they lived. They did embrace a grammatical-historical interpretation of the Scripture in regards to soteriology and ecclesiology. Since eschatology was not a major issue during the Reformation, the Reformers did not have the opportunity to apply their hermeneutic consistently, yet when that did occur, it lead to the revival of premillennialism (which originally was held extensively by the early church). As the church anticipates the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, believers can be thankful for the revival that ensued in reasserting the gospel of grace through faith in Christ alone, and how the interpretative revitalization led to the renewal of ancient premillennialism.
The final article in Bruce Baker’s series addresses socio-political engagement and the law. His explanation of continuity and discontinuity positions considers the perspectives of both Calvin and Luther. Baker explains how the continuinty viewpoint affects undestanding of the Mosaic Law because it is integrated with an understanding of the biblical covenants, and ultimately how these issues influence socio-political action. Don Trest’s final article in his series further clarifies how the Sonship declarations of Jesus are related to his messianic claims, and how this relates to the proclamation of the gospel. Nicholas Claxton’s article is the continuation of his series addressing the timing of the Day of the Lord in 1 Thessalonians. The present article considers the primary exegetical details that are crucial for establishing that timing. David Santos provides readers with an...
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