Early Leaders of the Reformation and their Desire for the Fullness of the Gospel

Said Henry Shaefer, "...Martin Luther, like many other men of the Reformation Period, did their part in preparing the way for the great restoration of all things, spoken of by all the prophets, (Acts 3:21).

All these men were honest.None of them ever claimed to have restored, but had just reformed, just patched it up to the degree of light they had " 1

  What did the reformers have to say?

 

"If the primitive gospel would come again God would have to speak from heaven."

-Martin Luther, (History of the Reformation, Vol. 2, P. 111). 2

 

"The times which we have reason to believe are at hand, (if they are not already begun) are what pious men have termed "the latter day glory;" meaning the time wherein God would gloriously display his power and love."

-John Wesley, founder of Methodistism (Sermon 71). 3

 

"..Please send forth new apostles, let the last prophet come..."

-Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley, in a hymn of prayer. 4

 

"We want the old gospel back that is sustained by the ancient order of things."

-John Campbell of the Christian Church, (Campbell, Christian System, p. 250). 5

 

"He denied that any ministry existed in his time which is truly authorized to act in the name of Christ.For he continues that the apostasy of antichrist had so far corrupted all, so that there can be no recovery out of that apostasy until Christ shall send forth new Apostles to plant the Church anew."

-Roger Williams of the Baptist movement, (Struggles and Triumph of Religious Liberty, pp. 238, 239). 6

 

In summary, the spirit of God worked in the lives of our nations mighty leaders also, to prepare the way for the restoration. This statement from our nations third President:

 

"...The genuine and simple religion of Jesus will one day be restored; such as it was preached and practiced by Himself.Very soon after His death it became muffled up in mysteries, and has been ever since kept in concealment from the vulgar eye..."

 

-Thomas Jefferson, in 1820 (the year of Joseph Smith's first vision) 7

1,2,3,4,5,6 Schaefer, Henry, I will always be with you, 1978, pp. 11-12.

7 Stewart, John, Thomas Jefferson Forerunner to the Restoration, 1997, p. 85.

 

The Reformers Foretold The Restoration

 

In addition to the many Bible references that prophesy that God would return the New Testament church to the earth in the last days, the great men of the Reformation testified of such a need for the restoration - for each one of them came to sense that his reforms, important as they were, could not "bring the old gospel back," but that God would do so. Here are some of the important statements made by the great reformers, that:

 

1. THERE WAS AN APOSTASY (a FALLING AWAY or DARK AGES)

BAPTIST:

 

Roger Williams declared: "...the apostasy of Antichrist hath so far corrupted all that there can be no recovery out of that apostasy till Christ shall send forth new apostles to plant churches anew." Struggles and Triumphs of Religious Liberty, - pg. 238-239

 

Roger Williams "denied any ministry now exists which is authorized to preach the gospel to the impenitents or to administer the ordinances." Cramp's Baptist History - pg. 238-239

 

METHODIST:

 

"We seldom hear of the manifestations of the gifts after the third century. From this time they almost entirely ceased. The cause of this was not... 'because there was no more occasion for them,' ...The real cause was, 'the love of many, almost all Christians, so-called, was waxed-cold.' The Christians had no more of the Spirit of Christ [during the dark ages] than other heathens... The Christians were turned heathens again, and only a dead form left." - John Wesley, Sermon 89

 

CHRISTIAN (Disciples of Christ) and Church of Christ:

 

Alexander Campbell - "We argue that all Christian sects are more or less apostatized from the institutions of the Savior; that by all the obligations of the Christian religion, they that fear and love the Lord are bound to return to the ancient order of things in the spirit and truth." - Christian Baptist, vol. 5, pg 402

 

Campbell continues: "The worshipping establishments now in operation... are not the Churches of Jesus Christ, but the legitimate daughters of that mother of harlots, the Church of Rome." (see Rev. 17:5) - Uriah Smith, Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, pg 796.

 

Campbell insisted "some new revelation or some new development of the revelation of God must be made, before the hopes and expectations of all true Christians can be realized, or Christianity save and reform the nations of the world. We want the old gospel back, and sustained by the ancient order of things." - The Christian System, pg 250.

 

CATHOLIC: (They here admit that the Pope and the Roman Church are not equal to the New Testament church and its apostles.)

 

"Infallibility does not mean that the Pope is inspired. The Apostles and Evangelists received this gift, and their writings are accepted as the revealed Word of God, but the [Catholic] church does not teach that the Pope is inspired, or that he receives a divine revelation so-called."

 

"For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successor of Peter in order that they might spread abroad new doctrine which He reveals, but that... they might... explain the deposit of faith handed down by the Apostles." - Rev. John A. O'Brien, Ph.D., LL.D., approved by Cardinal O'Connell, Faith of Millions, Credentials of the Catholic Religion, 1938, pg 123.

 

OTHERS:

 

"The old time Gospel and the gifts are therefore are lost. False doctrines prevail in all churches on the face of the earth. All we can do is exhort the people to be just, fear God and shun evil, and pray." - Christophilus Gratianus, (leader of Swiss Pietism), Die Hoffnung Zions, (Zion's Hope), 1732, 1756, University Library of Bazel, Switzerland.

 

 

 

2. THAT THERE WOULD BE A RESTORATION, and that God would RESTORE His Church Himself:

 

METHODIST:

 

"The times which we have reason to believe are at hand, (if they have not already begun,) are what many pious men have termed 'the latter day glory'; meaning the time wherein God would gloriously display his power and love... yet the wise men... can see no signs at all of God's arising to maintain his own cause, and set up his kingdom over the earth!" - John Wesley, Sermon 71

 

LUTHERAN:

 

"Luther perceived that the ancient and primitive church must, on the one hand, be restored in opposition to the papacy by which it has been so long oppressed." - D, Aubigno's History of the Reformation,Vol. 2, pg 111.

 

CHRISTIAN CHURCH and CHURCH OF CHRIST:

 

Alexander Campbell says: "The primitive gospel in its effulgence and power is yet to shine out in its original splendor to regenerate the world." - Hayden's History of the Disciples, pg 36.

 

CONGREGATIONAL:

 

John Bunyan: "...I read, that before the bridegroom came, there was a cry made, 'Behold the bridegroom cometh,' which cry doth not seem to me to be the ordinary cry of the ministers of the gospel, but a cry that was effected by some sudden and marvelous awakening, the product of some new and extraordinary revelation." - Tomlin's Interpretation,pg 516.

 

OTHERS:

 

Sir Isaac Newton, English scientist and theologian, "About the time of the end, in all probability, a body of men will rise up, who will turn their attention tot he prophecies, and insist upon literal interpretation in the midst of much clamor and opposition." - Isaac Newton, Observations on the Prophecies, pg 250-251.

 

"I will tell you, God will have spoken within one hundred years. He will restore the old church again. I see a little band of people led by a Prophet and faithful leader. They are persecuted and burned out and murdered. From every nation shall true believers be gathered by speedy messengers and then shall the Almighty God speak to the disobedient nations under thunder, lightning and destruction, such as men have never known before." - Christophilus Gratianus 1732

 

EPISCOPALIAN:

 

The reverend William Ward taught that the end of the 1260 days (years) as mentioned in Revelation 12:16, would bring us to 1830, and that this year would be "a year of spiritual revival and triumph, the greatest year in the calender of the world." - Rev. William Ward, between 1810 and 1820. Prophetic History, Vol 5, pg 18,32,68,74; Vol 5, pg 266-267.

 

Yes, the reformers failed to bring back the New Testament church and the Kingdom, so God performed a "marvelous work and a wonder" by restoring them himself in 1830. (The exact year that the scriptures promised.) Today, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, stands alone as the fulfillment of all these tremendous prophecies. It is the only church which is identical to the New Testament church.

 

In addition to all these scholastic proofs, you can really know the truth of these things by asking God in prayer, for "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally..." - James 1:5. God wants you to be a part of this great cause, for now "the kingdom of God is preached, and every man who seeketh truth, presseth into it." - Luke 16:16.

 

 

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