Where Was Our Church Before Luther And Zwingli? (4)

VIII. Fifth, the injustice of the demand appears also clearly in this—that they treacherously corrupt the writings of the fathers and endeavor to destroy whatever of candor remains and extinguish all memory of antiquity as far as they are able (most base men). They wish to turn against us the arms of truth which they themselves have tempered with, overlaid and expunged because we cannot bring them forward. They, who persecuted the pious with flames and the sword, now make sport of them, evidently as the Jews who, smiting Christ with rods, said, “prophesy who struck you.” Thus they wish us to prophesy and to give a reason for a previous time.

IX. Sixth, if our opponents wish us to answer the proposed question, they are also bound to answer us—where was their church in the time of Christ and the apostles, in which nothing concerning either transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the Mass, the invocation of saints and the worship of images, purgatory, indulgences, the pope and his authority, and the other errors theoretical and practical prevailed as yet among believers? Let them show us where then was that magnificent apparatus of temples and ceremonies which has corrupted Christianity completely and converted divine worship into a show. Where was the papacy in the first six centuries of purer (or at least of less impure) Christianity? For although various errors began gradually to creep into the church, still it is certain that far more numerous and grievous errors were introduced in the following ages or received strength: The worship of images, transubstantiation, communion under one species, the infallibility and monarchy of the pope, the use of a foreign language in the sacred service, etc. let them show where the church was in the 10th century (which Baronius calls the “iron” age), in which there were more than 50 Popes succeeding each other, not so much apostolical (apostolici), as “apostatical” (apostatici) And “apostactical” (apostactici) (according to Genebrard).

Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 18.10.8–9.


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