Sinful Saints Revealed. How is that for the title of our show today? It sounds like a bad headline from a trashy newspaper found in the check out line in a second rate grocery store. Sinful Saints Revealed. Really?
Did you know that the word “saint” means many different things depending on who you are talking to? Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions have a formal understanding of saints, including canonization established first in the 10th Century. It may surprise many that sinlessness is not a requirement for sainthood in any tradition.
With the advent of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century, the whole notion of Saints was turned on its head. Anyone who is truly a Christian is considered a saint. If this sounds confusing, it really doesn’t have to be. In his first letter, the Apostle Peter tells us, “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5). Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. (Psalm 30:4)
To avoid digressing down this ages-old theological side road, we can all admit that no matter what words are used to describe Christians: Christian Leaders, Clergy, and or other public figures in Christendom, we can have a tendency to fall into hero-worship or to villainize them. Both lack the honesty characterized in Biblical Revelation, where Saints are sinners, and both sides are glaringly revealed.
Today we will look at a couple of people who might be considered in the informal subjective lineup of Protestant Fathers. It is easy to make them bigger than life, forget their frailties, and feel insignificant by comparison. But their stories are excellent and worthy of knowing to motivate us to be encouraged by the saints and reminded why they needed a Savior too. Our storyteller today is one of my favorites from the other side of the pond. Welcome back to Church Hurts And, Englishman, Londoner, Pastor, Scholar, and Tour Guide from heaven, Ben Virgo.
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