Gather round, chil’ren, it’s story time again.
Once upon a time there was a Christian. He ran a ministry and was well known for his preaching, which was scriptural and on the level. All this changed when our Christian started opposing someone else’s ministry. In this ministry, there were some signs and wonders that were amazing people and leading many to believe. There were even supposed healings in this ministry. People were flocking to these signs and wonders, believing they to be the work of God. Many made a profession of faith because of it.
Well, our Christian was worried by all this. He was worried about the false teachings and contrary theology that came with these signs and wonders. He began to protest it, telling those within the church that they didn’t need to seek for signs and wonders, but they just had to turn to the holy scriptures for guidance from God. Unfortunately, this was not met well. Layman and church leader alike condemned our Christian as an agitator, a Pharisee and a heretic. He was soon removed from his position in the city, and forced to minister outside in the country. Eventually he was even arrested and executed for his beliefs. Those who carried this out believed that they did the church a favor and that they were better off without him.
Who was this Christian? It was Jan Hus, the fifteenth century Bohemian theologian. The “signs and wonders” were a red wafer that the Roman church claimed was a Eucharistic host covered in the blood of Christ himself. It was declared a miracle and pilgrims were coming from all over to see the wafer in Brandenburg. Jan Hus openly denounced the supposed miracles, saying that it was the word of God by which Christians were to live, and from there his life spiraled downward until finally he was condemned and ordered to be burned at the stake at the Council of Constance. A year later, Martin Luther and many others would arise in the Reformation, and the truth Jan Hus had professed would finally take root, by the grace of God.
This day and age, many people want to forgo the authority of scripture, or even doctrinal purity for the sake of signs and wonders. As I said during last story time, if many so-called Christians today were consistent with their own positions, they would be against the greatest Christian teachers in history. Those staunchly condemning those who speak against the “signs and wonders” ministries in favor of the complete, and just preliminary, authority of scripture, would be like those who long ago opposed Jan Hus for his own opposition to “signs and wonders” ministries in his day. Yet it wasn’t because of Jan Hus’s person that his position was the correct one – it was because all that he protested worked against the authority of scripture, while his own authority came from the inspired word of God.