The Reformation Lead to Materialism: Discussion with An EO

Discussion in 'Natural Revelation and God's Creation' started by Timmay, Oct 19, 2016.

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  1. Timmay

    Timmay Puritan Board Freshman

    Was having a discussion with an Eastern Orthodox priest who blames the Reformation for the rise and prevalence of materialism. He says the Reformation "desacralized the material world." He said this is why:

    "By eliminating, or diminishing the tangible relations between the physical and spiritual. In its older context the word "symbol" meant an object that made the representation present. Icons, or statues, were not simply "this" referring to a distant "that." They were the presence of "that" here and now. So iconoclasm removed the tangible sense of the communion of the saints and the unity of the Church militant and the Church triumphant. Prayer for the departed affirmed our ongoing connection to those who have gone before us. Eliminating it, and teaching that it was wrong, removed that lived awareness of the continuity of our existence in God; Eucharist was the means of participating in the Divine Life of God and a foretaste of the Kingdom. By making it merely a representation or eliminating it entirely, and replacing it with a sermon, the lived participation in the eternal Kingdom, while in the mortal body and world, was taken away. All of this leaves a sense of separation between this world and that, and between the body and the spirit. Which makes room for later, more explicit articulations of materialism."

    I answered that Calvin nor Luther never saw the Sacraments as merely memorial or that there was a complete break with the physical and spiritual world. I also tried to show how materialistic thought was present amongst the Greeks and even during the Renaissance. He also seems to fail to understand how the Word of God is also a direct "link" thinking one needs icons to continue to have this link.

    Any thoughts?


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  2. johnny

    johnny Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm taking a stab in the dark here, but I can see some influence of gnostic teaching with his "union with the divine" type mentality. They confuse Sanctification with Oneness and this is a old error.
    When he looks towards the west, he sees the deification of objects because his faulty understanding of God produces that outlook.

    This is what I think, but like I said I'm taking a wild stab here and I'm out of my comfort zone, so please correct me if I am in error myself, or have mixed it up somewhat.
     
  3. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    I would tell him that he was right, the reformation led to the demise of the eastern mysticism that had crept into the church.
     
  4. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I am currently in a class on Calvin here at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, taught by Dr. Scott Manetsch. This sentiment has been drawn almost word-for-word from Carlos Eire's War Against the Idols. He levies the same accusation against Calvin and the Reformers, claiming that they are the reason for the "disenchantment of the West" and ultimately for the rise of atheism.

    Dr. Manetsch, no mean Calvin scholar himself, obviously thinks it nonsense.
     
  5. Timmay

    Timmay Puritan Board Freshman

    Taylor it's interesting that you bring that up, because an article about a book by Eire is what began the discussion.


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  6. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    We agree that the reformation freed present human life from religious superstitions connected with the doctrines and commandments of men. If some took that too far and denied the connection of this life with the life to come it is not the responsibility of the reformers. It is clear that the reformers taught the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit, the exercise of personal faith in the Saviour, and the diligent use of the means of grace, as a foretaste of glory to come, which is simply a recovery of the apostolic teaching. The apostles taught that the life of sinful men is alienated from the life of God and is only reconciled by Christ being made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

    It is the same with rationalism. The reformers aren't to be blamed for the type of free thinking which emerged with the enlightenment. They sought to free human thought from the shackles of human authority so that the conscience might be captive to the word of God. If others sought freedom from the Word to be entrapped in other forms of human authority it can only be attributed to their failure to understand and apply the teaching of the reformers.

    "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

    "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
     
  7. Ryan J. Ross

    Ryan J. Ross Puritan Board Freshman

    I think there's a tendency to believe reformers were not products of their time, informed and impacted by humanism, neo-Platonism, and Rhineland mysticism.
     
  8. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Saying the Reformation led to materialism is not the same thing as saying the Reformers were materialists. Satan abuses, perverts, and counterfeits everything God does, to the limit of his ability. In the same way, the conversion of Constantine 'led' to a good deal of nomimalism within the Christian church. It would be absurd to argue on that score that Constantine should not have converted!
     
  9. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

    Can you elaborate? I think we are all "informed and impacted" by the time or era we live. I don't think it would follow that we are "influenced" (I don't think you're saying this... that's why I asked for elaboration).
     
  10. Warren

    Warren Puritan Board Freshman

    He's ridiculous to believe b follows a, therefore a must have caused b. Humans will corrupt a message until the message is completely lost. I would have stopped there with this so-called priest. Its a shame their priest isn't more interested in learning.
     
  11. Timmay

    Timmay Puritan Board Freshman

    He wasn't. Later on he quoted Calvin out of context in regards to the Sacraments. He said Calvin believed the Sacraments were merely psychological and had nothing to do with grace. I quoted the very next sentence from Calvin which completely refuted this priest's argument. I ended the discussion after that.


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  12. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    The Evil One had to come up with something "new" after the Reformation to prevent his kingdom from being plundered by the Gospel, hence secular humanism and the Enlightenment project which has run and run for c.300 - 350 years. It won't run forever, though, and when it breaks down the Gospel will make further advances, and the Evil One will be hard-pressed to come up with something better.

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  13. convicted1

    convicted1 Puritan Board Freshman

    The Reformation freed the oppressed from the tyranny of the RCC. They didn't want their followers to have bibles, just take their word for the truth. Guys like Tyndale, Calvin, and Luther were wise enough(via God's grace) to see through the garbage the RCC taught and freed many from that demon-led cult.
     
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