PROTESTANTISM; AUTHORITY, THE WORD OF GOD OR TRADITION
MR. D. OLDHAM, Pastor, North Street Chapel, Stamford.
To introduce this lecture I wish to take you, in imagination, to Sodbury Hall in Gloucestershire. The time is during the life of William Tyndale, and many persons are dining in the hall with Sir John and Lady Walsh who then resided there. Quite a number of priests are present and at the bottom of the table is William Tyndale. Not far away is a copy of the Word of God in Latin. After the dinner has been served a discussion takes place upon many matters of religious importance and questions are being asked of such a nature as had never before been a subject of controversy in English history. As the priests get heated in their discussion with Tyndale they say to him, “Your Scriptures only make heretics”. “On the contrary”, Tyndale replies, “The source of heresy, of all heresies, is pride. Now the Word of God strips a man of everything and leaves him as bare as Job”, and goes on to give a homely illustration. He says, “If you get twenty lengths of cloth all different lengths and breadths and colours, and tried from these varied lengths to decide the length of a yard, you would arrive at all sorts of answers. The only way to arrive at the length of a yard is to go back to the yard stick by which the lengths were first measured”. Truly an apt illustration; and he added, “Christ’s elect spy out their Lord and trace out the paths of His feet and follow Him”. There, in a few words, you have the subject which is before us this evening.
The rule of faith
What is the true standard of belief? Where are we to go for a standard? Either it is the written Word of God, or it is, according to the Roman Catholic Church and many Ritualists of today, the written Word PLUS TRADITION. Let us be careful, when we speak of the Papacy holding tradition as their rule, to remember that they, nominally, do not deny the truth of the Scriptures. They do not deny the existence and verity of the Word of God. On careful reflection we may well realise that tradition is not something that started in direct opposition to the Word of God, but it has grown from small additions to the Word of God. I believe this is an important fact to remember, as we go on to see how tradition has grown to such a degree that the Scriptures have been subordinated to the traditions. Tradition is no longer a small blemish, some small comment or explanation, but it has become a mighty adversary of the Word of God.
Tradition, its meaning
First a reference to the Scriptures. Tradition is mentioned in the Scriptures and if we fail to understand the meaning of the word, we shall be at a loss when the Scriptural reference to tradition is quoted by an adversary of Protestantism.
In 2 Thessalonians 2, 15 we read, “Therefore brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle”. Here appears to be support for the Roman Catholics and their advocacy of tradition. Here we are taught to hold to traditions which have been taught, including those by Word. In this Scripture, where this word “Tradition” is used, it does not include that part of the Word of God which was then written. But what of this mention of traditions which have been taught by word. Consider the times when this was written. It was written by Paul and at that time the New Testament was not completed; much that was yet to be written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost was the subject of conversation and teaching in the Church of God, “Traditions by word”. Some of the Gospels, it is quite evident, had not then been written; but accounts of events, and teaching which later would be given and authorised by the Holy Spirit to the Church in written form, were even then being taught by word. So I believe, when Paul speaks of “Traditions”, things handed on, “Which ye have been taught by word or our epistle”, he is referring to what we now possess, by the mercy of the Lord, in the Scriptures, to that, and to that exclusively, which is now the written Word of God. The same word is used with exactly the same meaning in 2 Thessalonians 3,6, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition” either by word (of the apostles), or by epistle (that which was written by the apostles), and which is now embodied in the Word of God.
In the 1 Corinthians 11, 2 we read, “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you”. Now the Greek word here translated “Ordinances” is exactly the same word as that translated “Traditions” which we have been considering. This throws additional light on what is meant by “Tradition”. The word “Tradition” in the epistles includes the Ordinances which Christ had given to the Church. So, I trust, the meaning of the Scriptural word “Tradition”, which we are bidden to hold in these epistles, has been made clear.
False and Evil Tradition
However the “Tradition” of our subject, “The Word of God or Tradition”, is of a very different nature; and to examine this I refer you to the seventh chapter of Mark’s gospel. In this chapter there is an exact example of the very thing which the Reformers opposed and sought to overthrow. This is the “Tradition of the Pharisees”.
“The Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft (or Theophylact says, “Up to the elbow”, there was a certain ritual about it!), eat not holding the tradition of the elders . . . and many other things . . . they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” Jesus was asked, “Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?” The Lord, in His reply (verses 7-13), says, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do”. And He said unto them, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honour thy Father and Mother’; and, ‘Whoso curseth Father or Mother, let him die the death’: but ye say, ‘If a man shall say to his Father or Mother, it is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his Father or his Mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye”. Let me explain what is meant by that word “Corban” in verse 11. There was an almost identical development in the Middle Ages under Roman Catholicism. Here was a way in which the church benefitted by neglecting the plain command of the Lord. They added this tradition to the Scriptures. There was no desire that a man should truly honour his father or mother. They said, “If you promise to give to the Church that which would have supported your father or mother in their old age, you are free from the commandment of the Lord”. Thus a person would be free from a true and simple obedience to the Word of God. This, we recognise, as nothing more nor less than plain evasion of the commandment of the Lord, yet that is what happened. “Ye suffer him no more to do ought for his Father or his Mother, making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition”. Now here, in the Scripture, is the very thing which the Reformers had to fight during the Reformation, and the fight is still with us today. It is clear that this type of tradition, the “tradition” which is our subject, commences by adding something to the word of God. It does not start by openly opposing the Word of God but by adding to it, and the addition is, of necessity, of man. The effect is to put man at the head of authority; the real source of tradition is fallen human nature, and its nurse is ignorance of God.
The growth of tradition
Now to trace the growth of tradition. Traditions appeared first to be useful, then they were taught as necessary, and finally they became idols. Every age has its traditions which spring from a sinful human heart and mind. We, possessing such hearts and minds, should always watch against this very thing in ourselves. Think not only that our enemy is outside of ourselves and professed evangelical
churches. There was in the Shulamite (Song 6, 13), “As it were the company of two armies”, and in every age of the Church’s history there are examples of tradition which are really opposed to the teaching of Holy Scripture, though they may have begun as an explanation or an aid to the understanding of the Word of God. The Gnostics, which appeared very early after Apostolic times, were some of the earliest heretics to appeal to unwritten tradition. The history of the centuries shows this sad truth, of the ease with which unwritten or written traditions are believed and taught to the ultimate disregard of the Scriptures of Truth.
The invocation of Saints
Consider one tradition of Rome which the Reformers were obliged to oppose, viz. “The invocation of Saints”, calling on and praying to the saints, believing them to be able to credit some of their great merit (?) to the account of those who appealed to them. This tradition started at the time of the early martyrs. Many persons began to think of the martyrs in a way that was not justified by the word of God. Forgetting the command of the Lord which bids us, when persecuted in one city, to flee to another, there were many persons who coveted the honour and glory of being a martyr. We cannot but admire their courage but, alas, in many cases it was a zeal not according to knowledge. They thrust themselves into places and conditions where they would become martyrs. After the death of such persons they were revered, and as time passed, anniversary of such death was commemorated by annual pilgrimages to the grave, which became the shrine of the martyr. By degrees, as well as remembering them by name, there began this praying to them. Surely, it was argued, their merit was great, why not pray to them and ask them to credit some of this great merit (?) to the account of their penitents. Thus, by degrees, this tradition grew, and that is the tendency of all tradition.
The Supremacy of the Pope
Rome is today, and at the time of the Reformation was, determined to maintain the supremacy of the Pope. This was another tradition which grew by degrees. Rome declares that this supremacy has always existed. It certainly has not, and a statement to that effect completely ignores the facts of revelation and history. It was a gradual growth. The Bishops of the various Christian Churches of Europe, Asia and North Africa were, for many centuries, accounted as equals in authority and responsibility before the Lord. After the passage of many, many years the Bishop of Rome began to be appealed to as a sort of final court of appeal in all difficult questions. Rome saw the advantage in this, and so, by successive Popes this doctrine of the supremacy of Rome was developed. The tradition was accepted without thought by many, and also because
the local churches and bishops did not want to be troubled with difficult questions which could be decided for them. To trace many of the traditions of Roman Catholicism would shew that they developed from small germs of error. What need we have today to look well to our position lest we entertain small beginnings of departure from, or addition to, the Word of God. So when we reach the time of the Reformation a multitude of traditions were accepted in the Roman Catholic Church and many of them were totally absurd. For instance, Justin Martyr taught that Jordan was on fire when Jesus was baptised, another taught that the Lord’s Supper was given to infants.
The appeal to sight
The great appeal of tradition is to things that can be seen. Human nature hankers after the visible; sight not faith. It is rather like a boy who will have a multitude of badges on his coat, and it would appear that so many religious, especially ritualistic, people never come to the place of grace and faith where they put away childish things. (1 Corinthians 13, 11).
Tradition thrives on the visible, and a religion of external observances satisfies the mind of unregenerated men. That is the appeal of tradition, something can be seen. Here is the reason why the Vestments measure, in connection with the worship of the Church of England, has assumed such great importance in the estimation of so many persons today; something must be seen by the worshippers.
Steadily Tradition developed the external ceremony and pomp of Roman Catholic worship before the Reformation. For example, the Archbishop of York, in 1250 A.D., paid Â£10,000 for his consecrated Pall. Without the reception of this from the Pope he could not ordain priests, he could not carry out confirmations, he could do nothing in his office! Everything depended on the possession of this consecrated pall. What revenue this provided for the Pope! For what would Â£10,000 in values of 1250 A.D. be worth today? And where in Holy Scripture is there a command for such a garment, or the vesting of it with such sacerdotal powers to be conferred upon its wearers?
Gradually such traditions were developed by the Popes for their own great self-aggrandizement and the increase of Papal revenue. It has been computed that before the Reformation in England, some five times as much of the national income went out of the country to Rome, to the Pope, as was gathered in taxes by the King himself.
Let us not lightly entertain the thought that we cannot be Nameworthy in the matter of “tradition”, for we have seen how easily and subtly these things commence, perhaps with seemingly good purpose, and grow to a complete stranglehold of the Church.
The Scriptures and Tradition in conflict
A commentator on Mark 7 writes:
“The Scriptures teach that there is no difference to be put between meats in regard to holiness and that every creature of God is good; this the Papists make void by teaching that it is a matter of religion and conscience to abstain from flesh meats at certain seasons. The Scriptures teach that we should pray to God alone; this they make void by their manifold prayers to saints departed. The Scripture teaches Christ alone to be our mediator both of redemption and intercession; this they make void by making saints intercessors. The Scripture teaches Christ to be the only head of the Church; this they abrogate by the doctrine of the Pope’s supremacy. The Scriptures teach that every soul should be subject to the higher powers; this they abrogate by exempting the Pope and Popish clergy from subjection to the civil power of Princes and Magistrates”.
Is it not so today? The Word of God commands children to honour their parents, but the Papists teach that if a child be vowed to monastic life he is exempted from duty to parents. Think not that we are immune from possibility of forming our own traditions. In John 21 we read that the disciples did this very thing; and are we better or stronger than they? The disciples began a tradition, for in John 21, 23, “Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him. He shall not die; but, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” There a little is added to the word of God, and we are not superior to these gracious and godly men.
The axe laid to the root
At the time of the glorious Reformation the Lord gave sight to the blind, and the means was God’s Word. It convulsed the whole of Europe. The Papacy was a well organised, powerful, wealthy and clever system, but in many countries it was defeated through weak individuals, and the witness of weak and seemingly insignificant men, by the Holy Spirit’s power attending the pure word of God. The Reformers saw the need of a Divine and infallible authority in the Church upon which every issue should be decided. That authority could not be the Church itself, for the Guide and those to be guided could not be the same. The only Divine authority is God speaking in His Word.
There are two great necessities for the Church, Authority and liberty; an infallible guide and freedom to follow Him. At that time and by the great grace of God, many men were taught that they were sinners by the direct reading or hearing of the word of God. Men such as Bilney and Coverdale, possibly Wycliffe and Calvin. They were taught by the Lord, taught the TRUTH, the truth
convicted them of their sin, they saw God and their evil, loathsome selves. It is important to remember that the Scriptures, in the early days of the reformation, had not been translated into the native tongues. The Lord sometimes convinced sinners of His holy Being and the solemnity of having to stand before Him, by some solemn visitation upon the nations and this was used to bring them, sometimes after long searching, to the Word of God. The TRUTH took hold of their hearts but not necessarily, in every case, by a text of Scripture. Wycliffe was probably thus affected. We know very little of his private experience of the Lord’s dealing with him, but he was probably most solemnly affected by the coming of the “Black Death”, which swept away about one third of the population of Britain; many persons thought that they were living in the last days of the world’s history. Thus many had their eyes opened by the power of the Holy Spirit to know their need as sinners and were “Set on Christ”. Here they saw a Blessed One who referred to Scripture alone and referred to it as infallible.
Denial of inspiration and infallibility of Scripture
Modernists, that is those who are obsessed with the academic theology of the day, do not believe that the Word of God is inspired or infallible. They criticise it by their “Higher Criticism”, they assert that the authors of the Word were not as expressed in the Scriptures, that the Scriptures were written at a much later date than was once believed upon ground of revelation, that there are parts of Holy Scripture which are unworthy of inclusion in the Canon of Holy Scripture. So acts Professor Dodd in the record of the woman taken in adultery. He puts it at the end of the New Testament as if doubtful as to whether it should be included or not. It is impossible that Modernists, these destructive critics of the Scripture, should belong to the true Church of Christ. Such persons are in open quarrel with the Master, and this is fatal to all hope in Christ.
Foundations of Protestantism
In the true and active spirit of Protestantism there are always three vital points to be remembered: The sufficiency of Holy Scripture in all Matters of Faith and Practice, the necessity of the preservation and exercise of private judgment, and Justification by grace through faith alone.
We all here, I believe, hold the Scriptures to be the sufficient and sole rule of faith and practice. May I add a few words concerning the right and necessity of private judgment. That is what is
referred to in the text which was read this evening, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8, 20). If there is not full agreement with the Word of God then there is not truth in them. Now in 1 Thess. 5, 21 we are bidden to prove all things and hold fast that which is good. Now, that is exactly what we mean when we speak of the right of private judgment. The Reformers held to that with gracious determination. They believed it was vital that the reader of the Word of God must judge all things he heard by the word of God, and weigh all things thereby in solemn accountability before the Lord. They did not, and could not, take the teaching of the Church simply because the Church said what it did. A clear example of this action is given in Acts 17, 11/12, where the Bereans are commendedÂ—”These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed”. There is the right of private judgment described, to go to the Scriptures and try everything we hear thereby. That includes also what we SAY. I feel most solemnly the grave danger of uttering what is a popular thought, one maybe of general acceptance, but one which upon waiting upon the Lord and searching His Word is seen to be but a half-truth, maybe one which needed serious qualification. The solemnity of this matter is lest others should be misled by what is spoken. Those that hear need to go to the Scriptures constantly to test the validity of all that they hear.
Weakness of Protestants
PROTESTANTISM signifies a testifying of Scriptural Truth, and how great is our present-day poverty in this respect. Though we may declare our belief in the all-sufficiency of Holy Scripture, do we know the Scriptures of Truth? Beza, who was Calvin’s honoured assistant, when he was over eighty years of age, could recite all the Psalms and the Epistles in the original languages. Do we console ourselves that if we agree that the Scriptures are truth, we need nothing else? I am thankful for these lectures for we are in grave danger of ignoring the history of the Church of God. If we ignore history we cannot know the enemy which will have to be fought. The Reformers knew the history of the Church but in our own case defence of truth goes by default, by reason of ignorance, possibly indolence. We may meet Roman Catholics, but what have we say to them? They may criticise the Protestant position, but can we answer them? DO WE KNOW THE WORD OF GOD? It is vital, not merely to hear a lecture on the Sufficiency of Holy Scripture and the history of Protestantsm, but more important to really know the Holy Scriptures and be well versed in the history of the Church of Christ.
The Men of the World
Let us consider some of the men who were in this great battle, these who were enabled to break the back of tradition, who used the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, and who speak with such a united voice upon this matter.
One gracious teacher said, “It is to me and of me that this Book speaks. It is I whom all these promises and teachings concern, this call and this restoration, they are mine. That old death and this new life I have passed through. That flesh and that spirit, I know them. This law and this grace, these works, this slavery, this glory, this Christ, this Belial, all are familiar to me. It is my history that I find in this BOOK”.
Wycliffe was by far the earliest, and one of the soundest Protestants, although the term, Protestantism, was not in use at that time. It was when he was twenty-five years of age that the Black Death visited England and caused such widespread mortality. This visitation was used to send Wycliffe to the Word of God. He had only a Latin Bible but as the Lord opened his eyes he began to teach the truth at Oxford. He was able to translate the Bible into English from the Latin Vulgate at Lutterworth. He denied the tradition of transubstantiation, when very few persons could receive what he said in opposition to this stronghold of Papal teaching. Transubstantiation is the false doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that when the words of the Lord, “This is my body”, are used in the Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, which the Papist calls the Mass, there is an actual change of the bread or wafer to the real body of the Lord Jesus Christ. This Wycliffe openly and consistently denied although there were very few persons who agreed with him. Many received his teaching concerning the gross corruption of the Church and the avarice of the priesthood, but they could not receive him in his denial of transubstantiation. Wycliffe was holding to the Scriptures, that was his rule. He also saw that the traditional tithe could not be claimed for the New Testament Church, which tithe had become universally demanded by the Roman Catholic Church prior to the Reformation. Even today there are well-meaning folk who teach that it is a Christian obligation to tithe incomes. That was the teachng of the law, not the gospel. Christ teaches that if the law compels us to go a mile, we should go twain. Will love take us no further than the law’s demands? That is the way in which it is taught in the New Testament. Going to the Scriptures Wycliffe held views on the use of singing in the worship of God which were very similar to those of the Free Presbyterians of today. He roundly condemned much of the singing of His day, and, going by the Scriptures, he insisted that it was a great evil if the thoughts of worshippers were more on the notes and harmony of that which was being sung than on the words of praise. How very close to us today was his teaching; is there not need that we should hear what the Scriptures say on these and many other matters which are merely customary? As Wycliffe was thus taught and brought to look into the Scriptures
of Truth the Gospel streams began to flow. Printing having not been introduced at that time, Wycliffe gathered men to copy out his translations of the Scripture, and his poor preachers, called Lollards, carried the Word throughout the land, reading and preaching as they went. Even an unfriendly Roman Catholic historian, Doctor Lingarde, makes this comment about Wycliffe’s translation of the Scriptures; “There was another weapon which the Rector of Lutterworth wielded with equal address and still greater efficacy. In proof of his doctrines he appealed to the Scriptures and thus made his disciples judges between him and the Bishops. Several versions of the sacred writings were even then extant.” The latter sentence is an exaggeration, for such versions as were then known were confined to libraries and were only in the hands of persons who aspired to superior sanctity. Wycliffe translated the Scriptures into English because he believed they were the simple and single standard to which all matters should be subject. This NEW translation was multiplied and commended to the hearing of the people of England. In their hands, and under the great favour of God, it became a great power for good. “Men”, says the Roman Catholic historian, “were flattered with the appeal to their private judgment, the new doctrines insensibly acquired partisans and protectors in the higher classes who alone were acquainted with the use of letters. A spirit of enquiry was generated and the seeds were sown of that religious revolution which in little more than a century astonished and convulsed the nations of Europe.”
A Bohemian Protestant
John Huss of Bohemia, as he began to teach the Word of God to his countrymen, began to found all his teaching, as far as he was taught of God, on the revelation of Holy Scripture. Notice my wording there. He would not have been a Strict and Particular Baptist by any means, but I believe the work of God’s grace was in his heart. Upon these early Reformers light dawned by degrees, it was “First the blade and then the ear.” Luther was not completely free from the doctrine of transubstantiation. He held a variant of it, but really still held to the dregs of that erroneous doctrine. He was an amazing, active, most energetic, and in many other ways, a well-taught reformer. Consider these men. Their desire was to found their teaching on the Bible, and they did so, as far as their eyes of understanding were opened of God.
A Swiss Witness
Zwingle of Switzerland, is one, who in his teaching, is very near to our heart. He wrote, “When I began to give myself wholly to the Holy Scriptures, Philosophy and Scholastic Theology would always keep suggesting quarrels to me. At last I came to this, that I thought,
thou must let all that lie, and learn the meaning of God purely out of His own simple Word. Then I began to ask God for His light and the scripture began to be much easier to me although I am but lazy.” I can go along with Zwingle there.
Though Luther, the great Reformer, was not so completely Protestant as Wycliffe, yet he was brought to the Scriptures alone for the hope of His soul. You will recall the passage of the Word of God blessed to his soul,” The just shall live by faith. ” Later, when Tetzel came into Germany proclaiming indulgence from the Pope, Luther was again driven to the Scriptures. Here was another tradition. The Pope claimed that he was able to draw on the vast store of merit (?) laid up by the saints and was able to make it over to poor penitents, providing, of course, that they assisted in filling his treasuries at the Vatican. It is a revealing thought that the Pope today has direct control of Â£2,000,000,000 of ready monetary assets! Men, such as Tetzel, were sent to many countries to preach these indulgences, the payment for which was to be used to build the amazing Cathedral of St. Peter’s, in Rome. Tetzel and many others of the same character, taught that as soon as money clinked into the boxes, used to receive the payment for the indulgences, the souls of relatives would fly out of purgatory and they could have the same assurance for their own souls also. This was the tradition of the day, and no one had thought of questioning or denying it until Luther was again brought to the Scriptures. In consequences of his prayerful study of the Scriptures and the Lord’s blessing attending him, he boldly asserted that forgiveness of sins was not by merit of any creature, nor by payment of any kind, but entirely of God’s grace and by faith in Christ alone. As a result of the power of the Word of God in his own soul, he translated the Bible into German, and gave this invaluable gift of God to the German people. He it was who said that he would not take all the world for one page of the Bible.
Reference must be made to Tyndale for it was he who was the means of giving us our present Bible. About 80% of our priceless Authorised Version is in exact correspondence with Tyndale’s translation. He it was who vowed to a priest, “I will take care that a ploughboy shall know more of the Scriptures than you do.” What had happened to Wycliffe’s Bibles of a century before? These had been handwritten, many had been destroyed by the enemies of the Lord and His Word. Considering the hard usage that they had received, we can well assume that very few copies remained. The version of Wycliffe, translated from the Latin Vulgate, was no longer readily available. Tyndale had it laid upon his heart to translate the Scriptures into English directly from the original languages, from the Greek of the New Testament, and the Hebrew of the Old. Writing to a friend he said, “I perceived by experience that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue that they may see the process, order and meaning of the text.” Coverdale agreed that, “The later translators, (after Tyndale), were to some extent
revisers rather than translators.” He further wrote, “I began to taste the Holy Scriptures. Now honour be to God, I am set to the most sweet smell of Holy letters.”
Detection and Disproof of Tradition Continuous
Thus, one by one the old traditions were exposed for what they had become, “Blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.” Among other Papal traditions which were exposed in their complete falsity by appeal to Holy Scriptures there was the tradition of purgatory which has already been mentioned. In this tradition is a teaching that after death there is an intermediate state between Heaven and Hell where there is to be purgation of sin and guilt by fire in order to prepare for heaven. The Scripture teaches nothing of this, in fact it is a complete perversion of the teaching of the Word of God.
Quite often the advancement of the Protestant Cause was the outcome of challenge to public debate and for the sake of their reputation Papists were obliged to accept the challenge of Protestants to a discussion of controverted points of doctrine. The proof of Scripture was not forthcoming for the doctrines and traditions of the Papacy, and the eyes of the people were opened to see the fallacy of so much that had been taught to them as fact. The Reformers were able men and by their use,