Resources for Reformed Christians

I was hoping we could have a thread to post useful websites, writings, videos, etc. to build one another up as Reformed Christians of all denominations. (I was briefly looking into Orthodoxy but suffice it to say, it is not for me).

In my effort to understand the core teachings of the Bible better, I am reading the original Reformers, starting mainly with Martin Luther. Luther came before Calvin and was a contemporary of Zwingli, although those two disagreed about specific points. As the Protestants among us believe, the overall point of the Reformation was to recover the original meaning of Scripture which had been lost under the traditions of man, hypocrisy, and self-serving deception of the Pope and most of the priest/monastic class, which came to a head because of the sale of indulgences ("As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, the soul from Purgatory springs" was a favorite priestly slogan). I believe the way the Reformers risked their reputation, comfort, and lives to stand up boldly to the evil that had obscured God's word, shows the Reformers were praiseworthy and brave men. I believe they had God and His truth on their side, even though as men they were fallible and didn't agree about everything.

Below is something that I found useful -- Luther's "Little Instruction Book" which gives a simple Christian way a father should present basic Bible teachings to his household. This kind of simple, useful teaching is what I need as a relatively new Christian, and probably even many years from now to review the basics. It is immediately clear on reading it why Luther became such a huge influence in the Holy Roman Empire and gained such great authority as a spiritual leader, even in spite of his official Catholic status as an excommunicated heretic, and an outlaw in some regions.


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The overall website contains many of Martin Luther's works including a Large Catechism which expands on the Little Instruction Book, a great introduction to the Book of Romans, which Luther regarded as the key to the whole Bible, and many other good resources I've found useful in the last few weeks.

 

Godward

Robin
("As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, the soul from Purgatory springs" was a favorite priestly slogan)
No, it wasn’t “a favorite priestly slogan”, and not even Luther put it that sharply (as he assigned the slogan to Tetzel specifically), but okay.
 
Here one can find the entire Book of Concord and other writings by Luther.


The Smalcald Articles and the Formula of Concord are my personal favourite documents in it.

A devotional book, useful for all Christians in my opinion, is Johann Gerhard's Meditationes Sacrae, of which I at the moment cannot find an english translation to read online.
 
You were thinking of becoming Orthodox and joining a monastery. What happened?

Feel free to message me about your experience with Orthodoxy and perhaps I can help clarify things or answer questions you might have.

Thanks both of you for your willingness to help explain Orthodoxy. My hope in this thread is to collect Protestant resources for myself, and hopefully others, to grow and build one another up. I don't want to stir up strife among fellow Christians because, despite our differences, I believe we all (Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox) think along roughly similar lines, compared to the rest of the world.

Also, from my few times attending Orthodox services, it was beautiful to see the faithful worshippers, especially the devout and modestly dressed women, revering and praising God according to their tradition. When I thought about bringing up specific reasons why Orthodoxy is not for me, the following verse came to mind:

"It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin." Luke 17:2

The last thing I want is for anything I say to cause a faithful and devout Orthodox Christian to start questioning his or her faith and end up in doubt and struggling to believe. All I can say at this point is, it's not for me. Michael, thanks for being willing to discuss privately, but even there I don't want to get into strife. I don't think we will be edified, I think we will just end up frustrated, because my concerns are simple and basic and I've already heard the Orthodox answers to them.

These verses from Romans 14 help explain why I don't want to criticize Orthodoxy:
"Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand."
"The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God."
"Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind."
"So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding."

I realize I criticized Roman Catholics quite harshly in my original post. I guess I was trying to show the distinction between the corruption of medieval Rome, and the integrity of the Reformers the way I see it. As for modern Catholics, I don't know enough, and I certainly don't know each individual person's relationship with God, and that is none of my business.
 
I suggest you read “Rock and Sand” by Father Josiah Trenham, and watch the excellent two-part interview on YouTube (same title).

Thanks for the suggestion. I actually have read most of Rock and Sand, and contrary to its intent, the book actually led me to respect the Reformers more, and become more interested in learning their ideas.
 
No, it wasn’t “a favorite priestly slogan”, and not even Luther put it that sharply (as he assigned the slogan to Tetzel specifically), but okay.

Good to know... I do regret speaking so harshly against Catholics in my original post. Looking into it more, it seems like this was a popular slogan among the Dominican order. My point was, the idea that one could buy salvation with money seems like the culmination of falsehood that caused the dam to finally burst.
 

NickK

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Literally 10 days ago you said this:

If or when my current worldly responsibilities come to an honorable end, my plan is to join this monastery. In the meantime I am looking forward to getting more involved.

Thank you Roosh and other Orthodox brothers on this forum, for answering many of my questions and opening my eyes to the reality of the Orthodox Church.
Which makes me think that it's not our faith that will be endangered by discussion but yours.
 
Thanks both of you for your willingness to help explain Orthodoxy. My hope in this thread is to collect Protestant resources for myself, and hopefully others, to grow and build one another up. I don't want to stir up strife among fellow Christians because, despite our differences, I believe we all (Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox) think along roughly similar lines, compared to the rest of the world.

Also, from my few times attending Orthodox services, it was beautiful to see the faithful worshippers, especially the devout and modestly dressed women, revering and praising God according to their tradition. When I thought about bringing up specific reasons why Orthodoxy is not for me, the following verse came to mind:

"It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin." Luke 17:2

The last thing I want is for anything I say to cause a faithful and devout Orthodox Christian to start questioning his or her faith and end up in doubt and struggling to believe. All I can say at this point is, it's not for me. Michael, thanks for being willing to discuss privately, but even there I don't want to get into strife. I don't think we will be edified, I think we will just end up frustrated, because my concerns are simple and basic and I've already heard the Orthodox answers to them.

These verses from Romans 14 help explain why I don't want to criticize Orthodoxy:
"Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand."
"The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God."
"Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind."
"So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding."

I realize I criticized Roman Catholics quite harshly in my original post. I guess I was trying to show the distinction between the corruption of medieval Rome, and the integrity of the Reformers the way I see it. As for modern Catholics, I don't know enough, and I certainly don't know each individual person's relationship with God, and that is none of my business.
For me, the main point is election/predestination. What is your Church?
 
You have the Book of Concord online and you also find the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity online. At first, I would read the Belgic Confession. Even as a Lutheran, I like it, because it is wonderfully written, and then the Smalcald Articles, the Canons of Dordt and the Formula of Concord. But maybe you already know these documents.

Here are four books, that give you a deeper teaching of Lutheranism and Calvinism:
- Christian Dogmatics by John Theodore Mueller (Lutheran)
- Truths We Confess: A Systematic Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith by
R.C. Sproul (Calvinist)
- The Wonderful Works of God by Herman Bavinck (Calvinist)
- Conversion and Election: A Plea for a United Lutheranism in America by Franz Pieper (Lutheran)

You find a lot of articles by Sproul online and also a lot by Bavinck. A good apologist on Youtube, who is Calvinist, but with better manners than James White, is Anthony Rogers, but he deals mainly with the Trinity and Christology and apologetics against non-christian cults.
 
Literally 10 days ago you said this:

Which makes me think that it's not our faith that will be endangered by discussion but yours.

"If or when my current worldly responsibilities come to an honorable end, my plan is to join this monastery. In the meantime I am looking forward to getting more involved.

Thank you Roosh and other Orthodox brothers on this forum, for answering many of my questions and opening my eyes to the reality of the Orthodox Church."

Yes, that's correct. I guess I am going through a period of questioning where I fit in Christianity. After I started believing in God and reading the Bible, the church I started going to was great for about 1.5 years. Then I started thinking it was too focused on earthly prosperity, which did not seem honest in light of how the Bible talks about how we need to undergo suffering constantly, as part of our lives on Earth following Christ's example. So, I stopped going. I tried a few other churches but in the end didn't feel honest worshipping their way. I started reading the Bible out loud daily alone, at first outdoors and now in a room in my house. I listen to sermons from preachers that are Biblical and seem honest, and learn as much as possible on my own. It's not as fun as going to basically a rock concert for 30 min twice a week, then hearing an inspiring sermon, but I feel like I understand my faith better and I am able to grow more this way. Also, it feels more honest.

The reason I was looking into the Orthodox monastery was 1) it is the closest place to my house to go to Liturgy and Vespers, and 2) when I visited the first time it seemed like a good possible next step as a "safe haven" from the world, if for example I was forced to lose my job, not be able to use a credit card, not be able to enter any public place, etc. because of refusing to inject certain substances ordered by the government. However, I would only join a monastery if I fully believed what was taught there. After suddenly waking up to a few things, I realized I needed to stop looking into Orthodoxy. I realize it's sudden and probably makes me look like a troll or non-credible person, but this is just the way my brain and decision-making process worked. I'm thankful I realized it in time. For me it's a personal decision, and I don't want to bring up any specifics because I don't want to focus on divisions between people who worship Christ.

Not sure if any of that clarifies anything for you, but I guess maybe you are concerned I represent some kind of "Protestant Subversion" as I've heard the term used here. Otherwise why would you think of either one of our faiths being endangered? I am not here to endanger anyone's faith, at least not on purpose.

I know there must be a lot of people who look at this forum who identify most strongly with the Reformed tradition, so it seems like a good idea to share articles, books, sermons, etc. that build us up.
 

NickK

Woodpecker
Orthodox
After suddenly waking up to a few things, I realized I needed to stop looking into Orthodoxy.
Thanks for your reply. Could you expand on this if you want? Was it an intellectual realization or was it accompanied by spiritual feelings of some kind?
I know there must be a lot of people who look at this forum who identify most strongly with the Reformed tradition, so it seems like a good idea to share articles, books, sermons, etc. that build us up.
Please take a look at this post.
Maybe you should pm @Roosh to ask if what you want to do with this thread is permitted.
 
For me, the main point is election/predestination. What is your Church?

Right now my church is wherever I am. I stopped going to Church even though I know the Bible says I am supposed to. It seems to me like Amos 8:11 came true:

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD,
“That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the LORD.
Amos 8:11 NKJV

I can't find a church where the Word is preached honestly, except preachers from at least 150 years ago on the Internet. So I do my best to be a Christian by myself in my day-to-day life without going to Church.

About election and predestination, I know that was a big issue among the Reformers. I know major leaders were divided, and churches split because of it.

I decided to follow Charles Spurgeon's advice and believe everything in the Bible is 100% true, even if it seems contradictory. Using that as a starting point, over time, things like election and predestination seem to make more sense to me. I know God knew everything beforehand because He knows everything, and has total control over everything in His creation. Of course I also have a free choice to move toward or away from Him, because that's my obvious moment-to-moment experience. Also, that is the only way true love and goodness can work, they have to be done by choice. I know I am not good by myself, also from personal experience, I know it's impossible for me to do the right thing by my own power. So I attribute anything good I think, say, or do to the power of Christ, God's promised Redeemer, working in me. I believe His suffering on the cross is how God gave me a new nature that wants to do good things. Still, much of the time I can't help thinking, saying and doing wrong because I only have the final victory over sin at the point of death when my mortal body which is full of sin finally dies. When my sin is very strong in life I follow Martin Luther's advice and "let my sin my strong, but my faith in Christ greater." Those times are when the atonement becomes very important, to keep away despair and keep my faith strong. Of course every time, things turn around and get better, and it is all due to God.

Thankfully none of us need to understand or agree on these things, because the Gospel is simple enough that even a simple, uneducated person can understand it and benefit from it. I think we have extremely limited knowledge while we're on Earth, and have forgotten many important, simple things that will make a lot more sense one day. I remember feeling a much stronger knowledge of who I was, where I came from and was going, and my relationship to God as a small child than I do today. I think more time on Earth just makes us forget more, but knowing Christ teaches us and fixes all those problems.
 
Thanks for your reply. Could you expand on this if you want? Was it an intellectual realization or was it accompanied by spiritual feelings of some kind?

Please take a look at this post.
Maybe you should pm Roosh to ask if what you want to do with this thread is permitted.

It was both, but it's not really my intent to expand on that.

Thanks, it looks like this is the post you are referring to:
This is not a sola scriptura forum. This is not a place where you can teach your own private interpretation of the Bible, or the interpretation of a modern teacher. Protestants are more than welcome here, but they will not be allowed to teach heresies that were addressed centuries ago.

That makes sense. Just because I posted Martin Luther doesn't mean I think he is right about everything. Do I believe we are saved "according to scripture alone," as opposed to scripture plus tradition? I mean the Bible was clearly inspired by God, in my opinion that is self-evident. That is the starting point of my faith. If I need to come up with 100% concrete answers for everything, I probably can't really do that. I believe the Holy Spirit works through who He wills to speak His truth on Earth. So I definitely believe in the community of saints and certain enlightened people with special powers given by God. I also realize the Bible talks about tradition all the time, even saying in the Prophets at one point that the Levitical priesthood would never end:

Jeremiah 33:17-18 For thus says the LORD: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.

Roosh already dinged me for a black-pilled post I made a week or so ago, so I assume Roosh will contact me directly or simply ban me if he has a problem with anything I post here. I don't really want to bother Roosh with messages for no reason.
 
I would suggest that you read the ancient Fathers & Doctors of the Church. You will find that they were not Protestants in any way shape or form. Take for example S. Ignatius of Antioch who knew S. Polycarp the Martyr, who himself was taught by S. John the Evangelist; consider what he wrote concerning the Real Presence of Christ in The Most Holy Sacrament, which doctrine Protestantism denies.
"St. Ignatius became the third bishop of Antioch, succeeding St. Evodius, who was the immediate successor of St. Peter. He heard St. John preach when he was a boy and knew St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. Seven of his letters written to various Christian communities have been preserved. Eventually, he received the martyr's crown as he was thrown to wild beasts in the arena."

"Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us. They have no regard for charity, none for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, none for the man in prison, the hungry or the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead."
"Letter to the Smyrnaeans", paragraph 6. circa 80-110 A.D.​
"Come together in common, one and all without exception in charity, in one faith and in one Jesus Christ, who is of the race of David according to the flesh, the son of man, and the Son of God, so that with undivided mind you may obey the bishop and the priests, and break one Bread which is the medicine of immortality and the antidote against death, enabling us to live forever in Jesus Christ."
-"Letter to the Ephesians", paragraph 20, c. 80-110 A.D.​
"I have no taste for the food that perishes nor for the pleasures of this life. I want the Bread of God which is the Flesh of Christ, who was the seed of David; and for drink I desire His Blood which is love that cannot be destroyed."
-"Letter to the Romans", paragraph 7, circa 80-110 A.D.​
"Take care, then who belong to God and to Jesus Christ - they are with the bishop. And those who repent and come to the unity of the Church - they too shall be of God, and will be living according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If any man walk about with strange doctrine, he cannot lie down with the passion. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons."
 
I would suggest that you read the ancient Fathers & Doctors of the Church. You will find that they were not Protestants in any way shape or form. Take for example S. Ignatius of Antioch who knew S. Polycarp the Martyr, who himself was taught by S. John the Evangelist; consider what he wrote concerning the Real Presence of Christ in The Most Holy Sacrament, which doctrine Protestantism denies.
"St. Ignatius became the third bishop of Antioch, succeeding St. Evodius, who was the immediate successor of St. Peter. He heard St. John preach when he was a boy and knew St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. Seven of his letters written to various Christian communities have been preserved. Eventually, he received the martyr's crown as he was thrown to wild beasts in the arena."
Lutherans do not deny the real presence. They believe in the bodily presence as Catholics and Orthodox do. Calvinists believe in a spiritual real presence, because they say, that the human nature is not omnipresent. Andrae and Beza discussed this, if you are interested in Lutheranism vs Calvinism. It is a Christological matter. Baptists hold to the Zwinglian view, which is symbolic.
 
I ought to have specified Transubstantiation, the Lutheran Consubstantiation differs from this, though I suppose they do believe in the presence of Christ. I was being lazy, didn't want to go into all the fine details right now. I would like to suggest two books: The History of Heresies & Their Refutation by S. Alphonsus Liguori & The History of The Variations of The Protestant Churches by Jacques Bossuet. They can both of them be found on Archive.org for free. I have several Protestants in my own family, thankfully they aren't the rabid type that virulently hates the Church. I pray for their conversion.
 
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