Chillingworth, the Protestant theologian, said, "The Bible and the Bible alone is the religion of Protestants."
It is, "whatsoever is not read therein nor can be proved thereby must not be accepted as an Article of Faith or be thought requisite or necessary to Salvation." It is the Bible which is the rule, or standard, or measure of the Faith.
Here then was the great clash in Reformation days. It challenged the authority of the Church , and set the Bible over the Church.
• The Bible is a definite and settled, and non-changing authority.
• The Church must be defined as to what constitutes it, and it is constantly changing.
The Church of Rome in the course of a century has dared to add three new articles to her creed.
* In 1854 that of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary;
* in 1870 Papal Infallibility;
* in 1950 the Bodily Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
Such a Church can give no stability to belief.
… Moreover that Church has been clogged by superstition, and superstition breeds superstition.
In the Reformation days the Bible having been enthroned as the voice of God speaking to His people, immediately the greatest superstition of all, namely that of transubstantiation, was repudiated. That brought into issue the claim of the priest to offer Christ for the living and the dead in the Mass.
All the Reformers stood to testify to the all-sufficiency of the finished work of Christ on Calvary, and they went on to declare that the sacrifices of Masses were both blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits. The mighty privilege of the Christian Church to draw near to the Lord at His Table was a complete contrast to the high ceremonial and to the challenging claim that the priest could offer Christ at an altar on earth.
The New Testament makes plain that the Christian Faith is not a priestly religion at all, that there remaineth no other sacrifice for sin than Calvary, that no place remains on earth for an altar, and they that worship the Father must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
The generations that are yet to be (if the Lord tarry) must know what men of God did in the past, and if the blessings of the Reformation were worth obtaining, they are worth maintaining.
Protestantism has two potent watchwords, "No priests betwixt the sinner and the Saviour," and "No Pope betwixt the subject and the Sovereign."
In these emerged the principles of the Reformation both spiritual and civil.
[ J.A.K., in the preface to 'A Short History of the Reformation.' ]