Why the Reformation Failed
To stand firmly for the Lord today
we must be awaiting His second coming.
G.H. Pember (1837-1910), the great 19th century student of Bible prophecy, points out a key shortcoming and weakness of the Reformation, namely, that while the Reformers forsook the idolatry of the Roman church and recovered much of the Biblical truth related to the Lord’s first coming, they failed to see the truths related to His second coming. That is, unlike the Thessalonian believers:
…They “turned to God from idols to serve a Living and True God,” but not “to wait for His Son from the Heavens.”
— G.H. Pember, the Great Prophecies, Volume Four, page 592
As Pember also points out, this failure to see clearly what the Bible reveals about the Lord’s return—especially in the book of Revelation—was a great factor in the failure of the Protestant churches in the centuries after the Reformation:
The past history of Protestantism has repeatedly shown, that a general knowledge of Scripture, without a spiritual apprehension of the Apocalypse, is insufficient to check the gradual inroads of worldliness and unbelief, or to detect and meet the stealthy approaches of a Pagan Catholicism.
— Ibid., page 448
May we ourselves learn the lesson from this, that while it is very good to turn to God and away from all the idols of the earth, and even to begin to serve Him, these things by themselves are not adequate! If we truly desire to be firm in our stand for the Lord, we must also be those who are awaiting His return! And this means that we must consider very, very seriously what the Bible shows of concerning this matter. In particular, and very practically, as Pember’s statement above makes clear, we should seek to have a solid view of the book of Revelation.