The ‘Rediscovery’ of Scripture and its Impact on the Romanian Christian Context at the Beginning of the 20th Century
Institutul Teologic Penticostal, Bucharest, Romania
Scripture has always played a crucial role in the renewal of the churches throughout the history of Christianity and this was seen particularly well during the Reformation. This paper offers another example of the enduring power of the Scripture to change lives and renew communities. It looks at the impact of the ‘rediscovery’ of the Bible on the Romanian Christian context at the beginning of the 20th century, by presenting the life and influence of three key Orthodox priests, Dumitru Cornilescu, Dumitru Popescu and Iosif Trifa. Particularly, it explores the foundation, establishment and the theology of the Lord’s Army – a unique renewal movement within the Orthodox Churches.
Key words: Bible, church renewal, Protestantism, Lord’s Army, Romanian Orthodox Church
It is a truism to say that for the 16th century Reformation and for the subsequent Protestantism, the Scripture represented “the central focus of Protestant demands for [a continuous] reform and reformulation of doctrine and practice in the church.” With the Reformation, the Scripture receives a unique position of authority – as “the prior norm of doctrine, the source of all necessary doctrines, sufficient in its teachings for salvation.” The Scripture represented the Word of God given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, thus possessing and expressing the truth with “Certainty and Clarity of the Word” – as the title of an early book by Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531) illustrates: De certitudine et claritate verbi Dei liber (1524). Finally, fundamental for the Protestant emphasis on Scripture – beyond but closely related to its divinity and consistency as well as its authoritative and self-interpreting nature – was the concept of the centrality of Christ to the entire Scripture: the ultimate focus and the subject matter of the Scripture is the work of God in Christ to which the meaning of biblical texts point.