Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Just a reminder...
I was responding to the posts that said Waldense
were semi or proto Protestants and was giving some background to that.
That is all. When mentioning that they may have been opposed to Rome and not all that opposed Rome the reaction was that Anglicanism was in the same boat.
I begged to differ.
Anglicanism(if faithful to their confessional heritage) believed in the biblical sacraments, grace alone, justification by faith alone, the Bible is the final infallible authority and opposed egalitarianism(women ministers, etc).
The above they shared with Covenantors and Lutherans.
That was the context.
- The spirit of anabaptist I was speaking of is the tendency to have a "restorationist"
approach to biblical practice and worship and in ecclesiology.
One Reformed minister once told me that most Presbyterians are baptists that baptize babies and dont know why.
I also said that there is anabaptist culture in some Presbyterian..not in all.
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Edgar A. Ibarra
Jr." <puritanpresbyterian@y...> wrote:
--- In email@example.com, Anglicananswer@a...
> Perhaps I am wrong...and since there were many "seperatists" downthrough the
> ages that they blur...etc.Christianity",
> But, according to Kenneth Scott Latourette in his "History of
> the Waldensians unitl they met the Reformers, taught women couldalso preach,
> sacraments administered by unworthy ministers were not valid, ifneeded a lay
> person could administer the Eucharist, their only forms of prayerwere "Our
> Father" and grace at meals, all oaths(even in a law court)wasagainst God's
> Word.There were early on two main branches of the Waldensians, the poor of
lyons and the poor of lombardy. The Lyons branch first shows up so
far as I can tell will Valdes. The lombardy group may have sprung up
separately from the French. As the movement spread, there were some
divergences of opinions. Most, for example, denied purgatory,
questioned a number of rites, etc. But if you look at the split in
the 1200s between the french and lombard waldenses, there are some
documents still extant from their discussions that purportedly led to
the split. One of these issues dealt with whether or not the
sacrament was changed by the power of the word of God alone, or
whether it had to be mediated thru one who has been ordained. The
Lombardy party argued that the power was not from the word of God
alone, and thereby ordiantion was necessary in order to have the
sacraments. The lombardy party also rejected the insistence of the
french waldenses that baptism was not necesary for an infant dying in
infancy to be saved. On the other hand, the lombard party allegedly
were stronger (so I've heard, anyway) against Rome. The Lyons group
sent representatives to the 3rd Lateran Council in 1179 to ask the
for formal recognition as a legitimate poor men's order, but a
decision was held off because of some concerns. (It has been claimed,
and it may be in Foxe even, that the 3rd lateran condemned the
Waldenses and sought their extirpation by force, but tho the acts of
the 3rd Lateran not being extant to my knowledge, it is difficult to
state what was original to them, the Waldenses are not specified in
canon 27 with the Albi movements that were condemned, and
historically it had been held that the council had determined to lay
aside the matter of what to do about the lyons group. My theoretical
understanding has been that perhaps canon 27 was a precursory ruling
that was later used against the waldenses at some point down the
All in all, however, the two branch view of the Waldenses becomes
inadequate over time as there were interactions between waldensians
and other groups, and there were what we might call "waldensian
influenced" groups who may have carried the name but been more
radical in nature. This might be expected in an atmosphere where you
have a hotbed of both anti-sacerdotal, donatistic, and other brands
of dissent growing in southern France, the push of the Bogomiles and
related groups across the mountains fleeing from sentences against
them in Eastern Europe, as well as (in Italy) potential influences
possibly left over in the outskirts of Turin from the some-time-
influential (for about a century it is said) Claudius Turinus (who,
nevertheless, appears to be better on predestination, magistracy, and
certainly his words appear better on justification than Valdes 1180
confession or the Noble Lesson - recall Claudius had gotten himself
in trouble after publishing commentaries on the books of the Kings
due to the faith / works issue and might have suffered punishment had
it not been for some favour held of him by some of the civil
dignitaries if memory serves correctly).
I have heard about the allowance of lay preaching among some of them,
including allowing female preaching, but I would not attribute this
co-extensively with Waldensianism, as though the two were necessarily
synonymous, though in France, it is clear that some of this must have
been going on as Valdes was not ordained, and there were concerns
about the fact that some of the poor men were preaching without
authorization to do so when the Lynos group tried getting recognition
in 1179, which presumably was a lay preaching issue.
> Farel ran into them in the early 1500's(almost 400 years later)when going
> through Switzerland and won "some" of them to the Reformation andthen some of
> their ministers interacted with ministers of the Reformation.That would basically be correct. It is said that it was at Chanforan
where they voted to accept the reformation, but in doing so
recognized it marked some departure from some of their heritage. When
the reformed had interacted with the waldensians, I have read
accounts that they had some knowledge of the reformation and had
attempted to look into the bondage of the will discussion between
Luther and Erasmus, but hitherto had sided with Erasmus. I do not
know whether or no that is true, but I do know that predestination is
usually marked as one of the issues where they were at odds with the
reformers at the beginning.
> Latourette lists the Montanists, Novations, Paulicians(rankheretics for
> sure) and Waldensees were of "that kin."and the
> They seem to, before the Reformation, have opposed infant baptism
> authortiy of clergy.Some waldensians probably did come to reject paedobaptism, but it was
my understanding that there had been issues among the french as to
whether it was best to take a child to a mainline church to be
baptised, or withhold baptism until such time as a barb could be had.
This may have been a cause for the issue coming up with the Lombards
over whether unbaptized infants were without hope, though I can't be
certain, it has been so long since I looked much into those things.
Ditto on ecclesiastical authority. Some went one way, others probably
On the other hand, I know that Waldensian history is by far more
riddled with questions and misinformation or less than accurate
information, and so I take even all of the above as liable to some
degree of errour.
I have long thought, tho, that the main point about the Waldenses,
and the point which won them over in the end, was that they had a
deep commitment to Scripture, and while this in itself was not
exclusive to them, yet they appear in addition to have been more
willing to question, and even in some cases reject things they could
not find therein.
Henri Arnaud, a Waldensian pastor, says of their origin:
"Neither has their church been ever reformed, whence arises its title of Evangelic. The Vaudois are, in fact, descended from those refugees from Italy who, after St. Paul had there preached the gospel, abandoned their beautiful country and fled, like the woman mentioned in the Apocalypse, to these wild mountains, where they have to this day handed down the gospel from father to son in the same purity and simplicity as it was preached by St. Paul"–"The Glorious Recovery by the Vaudois," p. xiv of preface by the Author, translated by Acland. London :1827.
A nice short summary of their history is at http://www.holytrinitynewrochelle.org/yourti16626.html :
"…the French word for valley, vaux, gave rise to the nickname Vaudois, while the Italian vallis, likewise created Vallenses or Valdesi or Valdenses, all meaning "valley-men," referring to those who lived in the near and remote reaches of those valleys of the Cottian Alps lying within the dioceses of Milan and Turin…
The Roman Catholic Church, who steadily persecuted them through the centuries, maintained that the Valdenses derived their origin, name and beliefs from Peter (Valdo) of Lyons . It is more probable that the Roman Catholic authors are as mistaken in their statement of the origin of the Valdesi as in their statement of their heresies. It was not in Roman Catholic interests to admit they opposed a group which traced their history back to apostolic primitive Christianity in a purer tradition than the Roman.4
The Valdese themselves trace their descent as a church to the time of Claude, Bishop of Turin in the ninth century.5 Those churches were probably the descendants-spiritual, if not lineal-of the many generations of believers in that area of northern Italy since the early days of the church. There was a line of bishops and leaders there, started by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan in the fourth century, who maintained independence from the Roman See, upheld the supremacy of Scripture in all things, including the gospel of justification by faith alone. Many of the successors of Ambrose through subsequent centuries held to the same doctrines.
Of these was Claude, "the most distinguished advocate of evangelical doctrines whom that age produced," who boldly resisted Roman innovations, "owned Jesus Christ as the sole Head of the church, attached no value to pretended meritorious works, rejected human traditions, acknowledged faith alone as securing salvation, ascribed no power to prayers made for the dead, maintained the symbolical character of the Eucharist, and above all, opposed with great energy the worship of images which he...regarded as absolute idolatry."6 It is to this bishop the Valdenses claim their origin as a church, although spiritually, they could and often did, claim a descent as well from the evangelical groups preceding Claude, those groups led by the evangelical leaders after the time of Ambrose, and perhaps before Ambrose, back to the earliest Italian converts. Such early Christians are believed to have taken refuge from persecution in the Alps valleys where the traditional independence of these northern Italian bishoprics provided a protecting shield to those later to become known as the valley-men, the Valdenses.
The Noble Lesson (Nobla Leyczon) was the basic creed of Valdese beliefs. It dates itself within its text to the year 1100.7 This pre-dates Peter of Lyons, who with his followers, were chased from Lyons about 1186, when they joined the valley dwellers, the Valdese. ( Lyons is situated in southeast France , west of the Italian border and the Cottian Alps .) The Lesson mentions the Vaudois (Valdense) as being already persecuted and as having already a well-known history.8 The idiom of the Nobla Leyczon is that of the valleys, the Romance language, and not that of the idiom of Lyons, a French dialect, which it would have been if Peter (Valdo) and his Poor Men had authored it.9 No mention of Peter and his followers is found in the Lesson.
Standing Firm in Persecution
The courage and perseverance of the Valdense throughout their persecutions is a tale beyond the scope of this short article.10 The severest campaigns against them filled the 13th through the 17th centuries, with short periods of respite now and then. To condense their sufferings into one inadequate paragraph, the nouns deceit, trickery, broken promises, flattery, threats, robbery, pillage, slow tortures, destruction, slaughter, exile might serve for a start. The Roman Catholic persecutors ripped limbs from live victims, dashed the heads of children against the rocks, marched fathers to their deaths with the heads of their sons around their necks; parents watched their children violated and murdered. Other tortures were too vile to describe. Women and children were thrown off high peaks to be dashed to pieces. Valdese taking refuge in caves were suffocated by fires lit at the cave mouths. Soldiers took refuge in Valdese homes, only to rise up and slaughter their hosts upon the given signal.
In J. A. Wylie's words:
These cruelties form a scene that is unparalleled and unique in the history of at least civilized countries. There have been tragedies in which more blood was spilt, and more life sacrificed, but none in which the actors were so completely de-humanized, and the forms of suffering so monstrously disgusting, so unutterably cruel and revolting. The 'Piedmontese Massacres' in this respect stand alone. They are more fiendish than all the atrocities and murders before or since, and Leger may still advance his challenge to 'all travellers, and all who have studied the history of ancient and modern pagans, whether among the Chinese, Tartars and Turks, they ever witnessed or heard tell of such execrable perfidies and barbarities.11
In a document Pastor Henri Leger carried from the Valdese to the Protestants of Europe, they wrote:
Our tears are no longer of water; they are of blood; they do not merely obscure our sight, they choke our very hearts. Our hands tremble and our heads ache by the many blows we have received. We cannot frame an epistle answerable to the intent of our minds, and the strangeness of our desolations. We pray you to excuse us, and to collect amid our groans the meaning of what we fain would utter.12
for the love of the Scriptures
The Valdese in their most ancient works would speak of themselves as being in communion with the Catholic Church,13 while at the same time setting forth only those doctrines of the primitive Catholic church and not at all those of later Roman Catholicism. Nonetheless, though they knew that Christ had ordained only two sacraments, they recognized most of the Roman sacraments, but with more Biblical interpretations on them. For instance, their practice of "repentance" and "confession" was more of a spiritual than an outward duty as in the Roman ritual: "...that of penitence depends, in the first place, on a displeasure and sorrow for sin, and in the second place, on a fear not to fall into it again."14 The power of "binding and loosing" they understood to be the pastor's ability to give good advice for a man's deliverance from the bondage of sin.15 Idolatry, prayers to saints, and purgatory they abhorred. But they distinguished between mortal and venial sins. They refused to call their pastors "Father", preferring to use barba, (plural, barbe) meaning "uncle." They admired but did not require celibacy in their clergy.
All through their long history these valley dwellers, the Valdese, had owned, revered, obeyed their Scriptures. It was their great glory to hold Scripture as their supreme authority. They translated the Bible (possibly from the Hebrew and the Greek) into their vulgar tongue, the Romance language, and laboriously made many copies of this Scripture for their disciples.16 And this while the rest of Europe was content with the Latin of scholars. Before Wycliffe thought of putting the Bible into the English of his day, the Valdese had their vernacular Bible. They memorized great portions of Scripture. One inquisitor in 1260 tells of meeting a pastor who recited the whole of Job, and of many others who memorized the whole of the New Testament. They copied other good writings; this was one of the tasks of the Valdese barbe in order to instruct their disciples. Old bibliographies tell of many ancient manuscripts of spiritual treatises, poems, sermons, confessions, catechisms and the like.17
With such a love of truth in a people, we are not surprised to learn that they founded their own little college for the barbe, who ...were required to commit to memory the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. John , the general epistles, and a part of those of St. Paul .... During two or three successive winters [they were] trained to speak in Latin, in the Romance language, and in Italian. After this they spent some years in retirement, and then were set apart to the holy ministry by the administration of the Lord's Supper and by imposition of hands.18
Pastors were required to take their turn as missionaries. They went out two by two, a young man and an old one. Taking to the roads as peddlers, or as artisans, or as physicians, they carried the Bible in their hearts and minds. Stopping for the night in a remote cottage in the course of their travels, they would testify of the gospel and write out Scripture portions to leave with their hosts. A light and a blessing wherever they went! Very few were married, as their manner of life, travels, poverty, and the attendant dangers often precluded family life. They traversed Italy and had stations organized in many places with thousands of secret adherents in most of the towns. And not only Italy , but Valdese missionaries spread the Gospel over the greater part of Europe.19
High up in the impenetrable remoteness of their highest mountains stands still today the small stone building of the college of the barbe, in a tri-level construction to fit the slope. Modern travelers today draw in breath as they gaze at the smoke-blackened walls, the tiny windows, the fireplace, and the great slabbed table-top, said to be six to seven hundred years old. It is not hard to imagine the student-barbe seated around that huge stone slab. Today on the center of the slab is an open Olivetan Bible, and thereon hangs a tale.
A Legacy of Light
At the time of the Reformation, the Valdese heard with amazement the news of a spiritual renewal within the apostate Roman Catholic Church throughout Europe . In 1526 and 1530 they sent messengers down the mountains to ascertain the truth of such reports. The French and Swiss reformers were just as amazed to hear of believers who had kept the faith through the centuries. It was as if they heard the voice of the primitive and apostolic church bidding them welcome to the truth. William Farel returned the visit when he with others traveled in 1532 to the Valdese Synod at Chanforan up in the mountainous valleys. There for six days they hammered out the truths of the Reformed Faith. The reformers accepted the Noble Lesson as an orthodox statement of faith. But it would seem that the Valdese understanding of predes-tination needed a clarification and a polish, given and received.
At that time the Valdese had been in a period of great discouragement and disarray, and had frequently hidden their faith by worshipping in caves and other secret places. Often members would outwardly conform by attending Roman Catholic mass and confession in order to avoid the deadly, relentless pursuit and tortures of the Roman Church. Four centuries of it! Throw the first stone if thou darest!
The reformers instructed them that they must leave the caves and worship in the open; they must build churches and there worship and cease all conforming. This the Valdese did. As Wylie puts it, thus did the new church repay the old for her faithfulness in past ages, and thus did the older receive the counsels of the younger. "The first" had become "the last," and "the last" first. Nonetheless, the Valdenses had somewhat also to offer. They said in their firm way, "We who have received the Scriptures from the Apostles or their immediate successors, and have always pre-served to ourselves this blessing, do now wish to pass on these Scriptures to others who have been without."20 And they initiated a French translation of the whole Bible.
Robert, a cousin of John Calvin, was chosen to be the translator. It took him three years. Holed away up in the tiny college of the barbe, and working probably on that very stone slab we can see today, he toiled night and day. The common folk would trek down to the towns to procure for him the pure olive oil, the best for the light, and so much of this he used, that he acquired the nickname "Olivetan." To this day history still calls him Robert Olivetan, and his great work the Olivetan Bible. These poor mountain folk, the Valdese, paid for the whole of the project, the translation, the printing and the publishing. This was an immense expense for so poor a people, but they gave what their fathers had preserved with their blood, the Word of God. This gift blessed the French-speaking churches of Europe for three hundred years. Now who was "the first" and who "the last"?
These people had somewhat to glory of in their long history of continuous adherence to the truth, but not before God. They had a pressure of guiltiness and a sensitivity to sin, so strong that "they never cease to bring forward the expression of it again and again in their different works."21 "We have turned aside from the path of truth. The light of righteousness shines not in us." Or, "The sun of understanding is covered with clouds; iniquity holds us fast in its trammels." Or, "The works of man are of little avail for salvation." Or, "I am timorous and very slow to do good." Or, "I pray you affectionately, by the love of the Lord, to abandon the world, and to serve God without fear."
And with that word, let us leave our sketch of the history, the thinking, the spirit and the contribution of a great people to the ever-reforming church of Jesus Christ . Their descendants have not kept their fathers' faith. Today the Waldensian Church , which held out against persecution for centuries, has succumbed to the temptations of liberal theology. Their young men, sent abroad for studies, imbibed what would soon kill the church, namely, the unbelief of theological liberalism.
The Waldensian Church today is a member of the World Council of Churches, and few are the pastors who still maintain the faith in the Scriptures that their forefathers died for. Perhaps the best thing we today can do to repay those brave stalwarts of history is to pray for the revival of their faith amongst their descendants. "
- Parnell McCarter
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, A Mighty Fortress
> Dear Edgar:living faith in a living confession. The thing is that we Lutherans,
> It seems to me that one cannot see the other convictions out of a
are not Protestants, as I told you before now. This was a name given
to some Earls that protested against the Pope's damnation on Luther.
I recognize that Covenanters and many Reformed theologians did it
very well, and we learn from them, accepting return to Luther's
doctrine on predestination (I will send you and some other friends
here a copy of our last Doctrinal Sum, "Augustinus"). I know that
many Reformed divines have been more loyal to Luther than same
Lutherans from the 1600's until know. But, albeit confessing the 5
points, I see that there are many things that sunder us from
Reformed. Not in Justification by Faith and other main doctrines, in
which we all agree. But we will never surrender the Scriptural
doctrine on the Supper, and we will never confound the hidden church
>with the outward churchDear brother, it seems to me that we're the ones distinguishing
between the hidden church and the outward church, while you are
>--while we see that you are doing it, sinceIt seems to me that Luther and the Lutherans have an insufficiently-
> you say that this or that manner of church rule is of jure divino.
developed understanding of the Kingly office of Christ. That's where
I think these differences are coming from. You guys wonderfully
emphasize Christ in his High Priestly office, but don't say much
about his Kingly office.
>There are another issues, as the concept of a inner assurance; Iagree in some way with this, whilst the thing proves to be
Scriptural; but our confidence is always grounded in an aliena
iustitia and in the finished work of a crucified Christ, died in the
>room & in stead of sinners.Right. I agree that Christ's death and resurrection is the only
ground and hope of our assurance of salvation. Sometimes new
believers are afraid to come to Christ because they are not sure they
will find grace. To them we should never cease preaching the gospel,
that Jesus is the Savior of all who trust in him. There are times
when Cristians begin to doubt whether Christ died for them, and
whether they truly believe. Often these are times of chastisement
when the Spirit is withdrawing assurance temporarily in order to
bring his sheep back to repentance. When we lose this assurance of
salvation, we have only one thing to cling to, Christ crucified and
risen. That is all the assurance anyone needs of pardon.
Blessings in Christ,
>Paul "Anglicananswer" (I'm still waiting your letter, dear friend
> I honestly think, and in this some comments of
PM) and other suggestions of "bishopdoom" look as very appropriate.
Gnesio Lutherans reclaim be the Catholick Church of the West, not
this perhaps too much comprehensive but may be exceedingly narrower
thought & speech, "Protestants". I think that, despite my sincere
love to all Reformed, we are very far one to the other. May be this
not happens betwist Anglicans & Lutherans, proved that they were
disposed to talk in the basis of their Auld Homelies on the Supper of
the Lorde. In this way I hope that Br. Paul could be open to a
dialogue with me (in private post). I am sure that you, well-esteemed
Edgar, be a great fellow & honest Christian, and I bless our Saviour
for this. But, dear friend, you would never really understand our
standing, out of a Lutheran life. Of course, is not "your guilt"; and
I deeply respect the wise ways the Lord has for each one of us. Then,
> come forward and be a bold Covenanter! We all very well know thatthe Great Tribulation is at hand, and soon we all will be with our
dear Lord in heavens.
>God bless you all, and want express my sincere gratitude to you, and
> Saying this, and since I will unsuscribe from this site, I pray our
friends Raging Calvinist, Bishopsdoom and Paul.
>Universal Atonement" I gladly will send you and Pastor P. a copy.
> Edgar, when I finish my Spanish Version on Rutherford's "Against
> Sincerely yours,
> In Christ,
> Rev Enrique Ivaldi, Lutheran Pastor.
> "Edgar A. Ibarra Jr." <puritanpresbyterian@y...> wrote:
> Pastor Enrique,
> Why do you continue to insist that God used Luther 1st to take
> down the Pope and try to undercut the other men/women that God saw
> fit to use for the extension of His Kingdom? Wycliff and Huss were
> bright stars that shone before the dawn broke upon the kingdom of
> antichrist. When tried, the papists tried to pin Luther as a
> follower of Huss. Luther did great and maravelous works, he was a
> great defender of the faith, I don't take that from him. However,
> were Calvin, Knox, and Melville for example. The Calvinists werethe
> consistent and applied God's Word to every sphere of human
> influence. Therefore, and without undercutting what Luther did,
> Calvinist Reformation was more expansive and all-encompassing. Theyourself
> Covenanters took it all the way as they were allowed, given their
> circumstances and hence more faithful to God's Word.
> Please keep the instruments that God used in perspective. Luther
> did not, due to Providence, go further than he did.
> Yours in Christ,
> ALL-NEW Yahoo! Messenger - sooooo many all-new ways to express