God Sets the Stage

Posted at Out of the Ordinary:

My church began a Sunday school series on the history of the Protestant Reformation. In the first class, the teacher gave a 45-minute whirlwind tour of the 1500 years that led up to the Reformation. He covered the eventual decline of the Roman Empire, the threats and attacks from neighboring tribes, and the political instability that ensued. Christianity went from severe persecution to Constantine's blending of church and state, setting the stage for the rise of the papacy. Sadly the church-at-large became a political entity in its own right with all the associated corruption and power grabs.

But amidst the decline, God was setting the stage. The Pax Romana and the system of roads were a means to spread the gospel and expand the early church. Even though Palestine suffered multiple invasions, manuscripts of the New Testament were preserved by the conquerors. These documents became the basis for Erasmus' translation of the New Testament into Latin which in turn was used by Martin Luther and William Tyndale to translate the Bible into the language of the common people.


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