Who or what decides what is true? Is it our feelings, the media, politicians, college professors, or priests? This question is especially important when it comes to religious matters. What’s our authority on faith?

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The Life of Guido De Brès

There was a man in the 16th century, living in southern Netherlands (what eventually became Belgium), who gave his life for his answer to that question.

At that time, the Bible was banned in many places throughout Europe. But, a certain boy in southern Netherlands got a copy and believed it. By 25 years old, he was ready to stake his life on its message.

Guido (Guy) De Brès joined the Reformers: people who believed the Bible was God’s Word and should be read by everyone. Guy and other Reformers were persecuted by Medieval Roman Catholics—literally hunted down for their beliefs. However, they decided to respond the way God commanded in his Word.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ESV says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

The Reformers were in a fight: a fight for truth, a fight for the souls of their neighbors, and a fight to keep God’s Word as the ultimate authority, because men had hijacked the Bible’s authority.

Guy understood that God’s people are not to fight with violence, but instead to peacefully declare their faith. So Guy did just that. He fired a strong word of peace into the violence—the Belgic Confession.

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Where Did the Belgic Confession Come From?

A confession is a revelation—writing your private convictions for the world to see. It’s letting your thoughts live in the public square. Depending on what you expose, confessing can be a dangerous thing.

In all the madness, Guy thought that opening a man-to-man discussion through an explanation would be the best means to peace. Guy spent late nights in hiding, writing a personal letter to King Phillip.

It was a dangerous thing for Guy to make his confession, because his convictions as a Protestant pastor conflicted with those of this Catholic King Phillip who instigated the violent persecution.

Guy’s document distills down to the question of authority. Guy defends from Scripture that God chose to give his authority to a distinct group of about 40 authors who wrote God’s authoritative Word in the 66 books of the Bible.

Guy knew his Bible well. His confession repeats verse after verse of Scripture, quoting, paraphrasing, and arguing from it. Guy gently established his firm belief that 66 books of the Bible are God’s Word, and thus every man’s final authority.

All throughout Guy’s work, we hear appeals like, “according to the command of Christ,” or “according to the Word of God,” or “the apostles have taught us,” reminding the reader that everything we believe should be founded on what God says, not on what any individual thinks.

Every article begins with “we believe.” You’ll notice that many of the articles end with “we reject,” and, usually, Guy and his team rejected the teaching of a formal group of people, like the Sadducees, Epicureans, or Pelagians.

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What Would You Risk Your Life For?

Guy drew lines in the sand. For, speaking truth means taking a side. If he was going to speak the truth, he had to expose what is false.

Despite Guy’s efforts at peace, King Phillip would not discuss the doctrinal disagreements. He hunted down Guido De Brès, who was captured, imprisoned, and hung for his confession.

Why not read Guy’s Confession and ask yourself: What truths would I risk my life for?

Article: 3 Min

Where Did the Belgic Confession Come From?

by Bibles.net

Article: 7 Min

Pastor of Geneva

by Olivier Fatio at Christian History Institute

Sermon: 51 Min

On John

Calvin

by Kevin DeYoung

Video: 5 Min

THE LIFE OF JOHN CALVIN

Birth
John Calvin was born in Noyon, France.
Education
At 14, Calvin began six years of studies at three French universities: Paris, Orleans, and Bourges.
Conversion
He left the Catholic faith, believing that God’s Word is our final authority and that faith in Jesus Christ alone could save him from his sin.
Crisis
Calvin fled France to Basil, Switzerland, because of persecution against Protestants in France.
Writing
At 27, Calvin wrote the first edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion.
Vocation
He accepted the request that he pastor a Protestant church in Geneva, and settled there.
Conflict
The city council banished Calvin from Geneva for three years over a disagreement about who could partake of communion.
Vocation
He pastored a French-speaking church in Strasbourg.
Publishing
Calvin published his Commentary on Romans.
Return
Calvin returned to Geneva at the request of the city council.
Related Event
Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, died.
Writing
Calvin wrote the last edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion.
War
The French civil wars, which lasted for 36 years, began between Catholics and Huguenots (French Protestants).
Death
Calvin died in Geneva at age 55, some say of sheer exhaustion.
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Video: 15 Min
by John Piper at Desiring God
Books
Article: 15 Min

Dr. Luther’s Theology

by Dr. Timothy George at Christian History Institute

Article: 20 Min

Luther at the Diet of Worms

by Herman Selderhuis at Crossway

Video: 3 Min
Article: 10 Min

The Revolution That Took Place in Luther’s Heart

by J.I. Packer at Christianity Today

THE LIFE OF MARTIN LUTHER

Birth
Martin Luther was born in Eiselben, Germany. Though we are certain he was born on November 10, the exact year of his birth remains a mystery. Most say he was born in 1484, but he could have been born in 1483 or 1485.
Education
Luther became an Augustinian monk.
Honors
He led his first Mass as a Catholic priest.
Conflict
Luther became increasingly dissatisfied with Catholic doctrine and practice while teaching theology at the University of Wittenberg.
Publishing
He published his “ninety five theses” protesting the Roman Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences.
Banishment
Luther was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church at the Diet of Worms. He then lived at Wartburg Castle under the identity of “Knight George.”
Marriage
He married Katherine von Bora.
Writing
Along with Philip Melanchthon, Luther helped draft the Augsburg Confession, the standard statement of Lutheran theology.
Bible Translation
Luther produced his German-language Bible.
Death
He died in Eisleben, Germany.
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