“Post tenebras lux” (after darkness, light) is a rallying cry of Protestant Reformers. Christine Pack of Sola Sisters tells us what life was like before the Reformation and shares some of the key elements of what led up to it and what happened as a result of it. For example: “Courageous early reformers — called “Protest-ants” because they were protesting against the oppression of Rome — paid with their life’s blood for the crime of translating the Bible into other languages. Other reformers spent their lives smuggling and distributing these Bibles all over Europe. People could now read for themselves what God’s Word said. The “light” was beginning to dawn all over Europe.”
The Middle Ages were a dark period of time, filled with despair and disease. It was a time when an illness could ravage an entire village in a week’s time, and almost a third of all children born would die before reaching the age of five. In this bleak world, there was only one thing the people could look to for comfort: the Church, with its promise of heaven. But the “Church” that the people looked to for hope and consolation was not the true Church, but instead had become a sly counterfeit that required the people to purchase, and work, their way into heaven. This apostate, counterfeit “Church” was the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church, while having an appearance of being Christian, was instead a powerful political and military institution based in Rome that had grown steadily in wealth and power, and now controlled every facet of life.
Jesus Christ had lived and ministered several centuries before, bringing the gospel message of reconciliation with a holy God through repentance and faith in his atoning sacrifice alone. But this message was no longer being taught or preached. Instead, this message had been added to and perverted by the Roman Catholic Church: it was now a complex system of works through which adherents were meant to “earn” their way into heaven through their own efforts.