Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tyranny of human tradition

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 10 - Power of making laws: Pope's tool of tyranny
9-18 - Frivolous tyranny of Roman laws
9. Therefore the Roman laws on worship and discipline today should be rejected.
10. They nullify God's commands to keep their traditions, breaking Matt 15:3. They forbid priests to marry while winking at their fornication; they forbid work on saints' days while allowing much evil work other days; they command long, foreign prayers at set times, while leaving off rightful prayer; they forbid tasting meat on Friday but wink at gluttony otherwise. See Gal 4:9; Col 2:20.
11. These rules are so many and unhelpful, they make one so "cling to shadows that they cannot reach Christ." They appear wise, because they are man made, press abstinence upon us, and appear humble. See Col 2:23.
12. They are impressed by ceremonial pomp, but they are empty mockeries with "no other use than to benumb the people rather than to teach them."
13. The result is "cruel torment upon pious minds." Col 2:20-21.
14. The many rules and traditions also puts layers on worship that cover up Christ, when we were given few sacraments "easy to observe" (Augustine). They say this is to help the simple understand. But "raising up a Judaism that has been abrogated by Christ is a stupid way to do it." See John 4:23. Jews needd more images and rites since they hadn't seen Christ yet. We want to teach the simple, using the simple means (Word/Sacrament) God has given.
15. They teach these ceremonies are "meritorious for eternal life." "They let the poor folk seek in those outward trifles a righteousness which they may offer to God." Ceremonies in foreign languages are useless. Some ceremonies appear designed "to catch money."
16. This applies to any age where men seek to worship God in their own fictions. Isa 29:13-14.
17. They say the Spirit is leading them to make these rules. But they are not the church if they are disobeying Deut 12:32 so flagrantly. See 1 Sam 15:22-23.
18. Their claim that their ceremonies trace back to the apostles is baseless.

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