Home / View Point / Guest Columns / Fryea’s Advice: Martin Luther’s fire put out by peace and safety? No protests from Protestants?

Fryea’s Advice: Martin Luther’s fire put out by peace and safety? No protests from Protestants?

I can’t hear you, brothers and sisters; your silence is deafening. It is a source of great concern to me that, in our very active pro-march and protesting society, I am hearing nothing about any plans for any churches to commemorate the great event that took place on 31 October 1517.

Yes, it has been 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. Is the fire that literally consumed the lives of so many believers extinguished from our souls? Is the Spirit that quickened the faith of our brethren now dead since we feel relatively safe and comfortable? Is it because the cry is now about peace and unity?

Photo: A depiction of monk, theologist and professor, Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517.

Well, here is a quick reminder about what the Good Book says about peace and safety: “For when they shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3

It’s interesting that Halloween, All Saints Day and Reformation Day are all so lined up closely together. In fact, some research suggests that Luther’s act, which was about to give life to the people, was deliberately planned for around that time since so many practising believers were getting prepared to commemorate death.

Anyway, will someone please remind me of how many churches and religious persons there are in Trinidad and Tobago? Have we forgotten the fight that it took for us to have the religious liberty we have today?

In case you do not think that this is relevant to us here in Trinidad and Tobago, I want to recommend that you (re-)read my last three articles, which give some insight into how direct is the link between us and this piece of history.  The pieces also explain why there is a strong possibility that this treasured religious liberty is being eroded on a worldwide scale.

On Saturday 26 August, 2017, I wrote this:

Photo: A Roman Catholic priest.

This Reformation caused such a stir that it affected Europe politically, socially, religiously and culturally. It vigorously propagated the separating of ecclesiastical and civil power, allowed people to understand the Bible in their common language, taught the people that Christ was their only intercessor and Saviour from sin and that no one man can be the vice-gerent of God on Earth, heavily rebuked the sacrament and indulgences system, preached that salvation and grace are free and even led to the governing church at that time being dubbed the Anti-Christ.”

“In a world with so many religious denominations and non-religious persons, why would the POTUS even think of signing a document which has the potential to carry the force of law and which can affect many who do not share or subscribe to the belief system of the religious persons around him?”

In a column published on Sunday 10 September, 2017, I wrote this:

“Subject to the Customs Act, any person who on a Sunday employs for hire […] sells or offers or exposes for sale in any public market any goods, is liable to a fine of two hundred dollars. […] My preliminary research leads me to believe that we may have inherited this from our former colonial masters who viewed Sunday as a day to be revered. It is only recently that Britain lifted some of the restrictions of their Sunday Trading Act.”

And then there was this on Sunday 8 October, 2017:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona (second from right) shows Pope Francis how to beat iron.
(Courtesy whensteeltalks.com)

“What, then, is a concordat? It is an agreement between a governing nation and the Roman Catholic Church […] In our case, the Concordat was signed on the issue of education.”

If you take my advice and (re-)read the three articles I have already pointed you to, you may just find that you feel tempted, impelled even, to use the same media we currently use to get our messages across as a church or as Bible-believing Christians to explain the importance of this historical event.

It would be, I am convinced, good use of the offerings. As individuals, we can also use personal resources to spread the news on this event. I am very certain that God will bless this effort. After all, it is He who allowed John and Daniel to prophesy this issue leading up to this event in Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 11:2, 13:2-9 (KJV).

So, in the words of Martin Luther and our fellow Protestants, Sola scriptura! Sola fida! Sola gratia! Solus Christus! Soli Deo gloria!

#IamaProtestant! #Longlivereligiousliberty! #LonglivetheReformation!

Editor’s Note: This video offers a short introduction to the history of the Reformation:  http://artvnow.com/

About Afryea Charles

Afryea Charles is an inspired missionary who has renounced the pleasures of everyday living because she wants to save the world. As time passes, she is less and less certain that yes, she can. But she is not yet ready to concede that she may have bitten off more than she can chew.

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8 comments

  1. “For when they shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3
    I am just wondering if the fundamental point regarding peace as it means to the Protestant movement is that there can be no peace because they must fight for the right for religious freedom? Is that only within Christianity or are the principles more all-encompassing? Does it extend into other religions? Atheism?
    I think I got that they are against violence as it would force the freedom of conscience. Fundamentals aside wrt the beliefs within Christianity, the form of peace preached by the Catholic church would necessitate unification in beliefs…if I understand correctly?
    On an unrelated note, if the author’s knowledge of Christianity permits, can you tell me if there is any religious site of importance in Christianity close to the seaside that is in commemoration of Saint Peter or perhaps if it is of historical significance to the life of Saint Peter? Thanks.

    • Alana Abdool: Religious liberty and freedom of conscience should extend to other religious denominations and non religious persons. That where choice comes in. There is some concern about the undue religious influence in the political arena in recent times which could lead to legislature that can vilify a group of people who do not support that legislation e.g. same sex marriage and issues surrounding worship issues.

      In recent times, there has been a constant call for unity and ecumenism. This is for all religious bodies to join together in one accord. An act as recent as the last week some major protestants denominations have been signing documents with the Catholic church to say we are in agreement but that goes against the issues that started Protestantism in the first place. Of course the other concern is under whose power and belief system will we all fall under? Who will be in control?

      As for the seaside question the only religious site that I can recall of the top of my head that some hold as important is St. Peter’s Basilica. That was built close to a river in Rome and it was supposedly done to honor Peter. Please note that the money raised for the building of this church is what caused Martin Luther to protest publicly in the first place.

      Sorry about the late reply.

  2. I do hope that in the celebratory fervor, some thought is spared for many events that took place following the Reformation. The supplanting of papal authority with scriptural authority was a significant event but did little to address the decontextualised and mistranslated passages in the bible that ultimately led to the further marginalisation of women, peoples “of colour,” persons of different sexual orientation and generally persecution of a different kind for non-believers…or those who believed differently.

    Further, it is interesting to speak about “fighting” for religious freedom when historically that fight was done mostly by secularists AGAINST religious intolerance. And about this this freedom, did it create an environment that saw the acceptance of West African faiths? If so, has Orisa been included in Religious Instruction classes and I was not aware? Or discussions exploring the relationship between Christian events like Easter and their parallels in so-called paganism?

    Additonally, that Customs Act in which “any person who on a Sunday employs for hire […] sells or offers or exposes for sale in any public market any goods, is liable to a fine of two hundred dollars” appears to me as a modified version of the colonial-era Shop Closing Ordinance. This was a piece of legislation that combined religious prejudice with colonial desire to break African entrepreneurship that since the 19th century was threatening the economic power of the white elites. A quote from Ms AC Carmichael’s “Domestic Manners and Social Condition of the White, Coloured, and Negro Population of the West Indies” Vol. II is appropriate here:

    p. 126. Every Negro had one day in the week to work his provision ground. There was a market every Sunday, closed however at ten a.am., and a market every Thursday, – in order, as far as possible, to check by degrees the fondness for Sunday markets, and to lead finally to their abolition, – a blessed change, which has been effected in Trinidad, and also in St Vincent. I have never saw any of the white population who did not deplore the Sunday market: they were suffering the error, nay the sin, of their ancestors, who had ever permitted such an arrangement, – and which, when once established, although only by custom, is not so easily stopped as some people imagine.
    The colonists were placed in more difficulty on this subject than people at home can well understand, for let it be recollected that in POS, meat killed however late on Saturday, would be totally unfit for use on Sunday; and even in England, during the mackerel season, where in many places it is a harvest for the poor, it is permitted to be sold before church hours….
    p. 127/8. There is a weekly market at St Josephs, and….several other small villages throughout the island, where the negroes dispose of their surplus produce. I believe there was a little ebullition of feeling on the part of the slave population, when the Sunday market was abolished, but government was quite right to persist in it; it was an intolerable nuisance to everyone who had a spark of Christian feeling.

    So far from being something to be celebrated, it points to the continuing legacy of British and French colonial racism. Much of the reversals we are seeing in the world is pushback against centuries of European domination in which Christianity, both Protestant and Catholic, were the main vehicles.

    As such I hope that on the day in question, ALL of the history is discussed in an honest fashion. We did not get to this precarious point by chance.

    • Corey Gilkes : I read your account. I am happy to get some more perspective on the Sunday Market Law that I found in our act. I knew it was linked to colonialism as I found it in Britain’s law but I didn’t know of the impact locally or who it impacted at the time. However I really don’t totally accept it was only to frustrate the Africans because this “sunday law” came from religious groups who always believed in controlling everybody’s beliefs and allegiance regardless of race.

      As for the whole African suppression of religious rights, history etc. As a religious person of African descent who visited Ethiopia this year, I could say I felt really good being there and I appreciated the continent I came from more strongly but I can honestly say that I cannot really agree with all their practices or traditions just because I don’t believe it all to be biblical. I do not personally believe the bible marginalizes women, or any race even though it is put forward as such by some persons. I am aware of scriptures people use to do so, however when I look at the bible as a whole I do not see it.

      I do believe that the scriptures will point out practices that is considered sin and that sin will be practiced in a wide variety of cultures and races and is not simply singling out Africans.

      And by the way Corey, all that talk about our Colonial Masters stifling our people, which I will not discredit, to this day black people STILL fighting down black people here in Trinidad and Tobago AND it is still happening in Africa. To be quite frank I believe the issue is deeper than one race trying to keep another one down. To me the battle for earthly supremacy by one particular group of people has been going on since the beginning of time. Hence all the wars. If it is not race, it is country, it is tribe, it is family. Always a war for supremacy.

  3. Hey Lasana, does Raffique Shah still publish his articles on your site?