Thursday, March 31, 2016
Peter de Bruys - The Rebel
It does not help that the only account we have of Peter is from his opponents. This makes it harder to see what his basic ideas were. He was accused of opposing infant baptism, claiming consecrated buildings and altars were meaningless, stating crosses should be destroyed (probably because they were objects of worship), opposing the Mass (he was clearly against transubstantiation and may have wanted to throw out the Lord's Supper entirely), and opposing all prayers and works for the dead. He seems to have been generally going the right way in advocating heart worship over institutionalized worship. He may have gone too far, especially if he really did advocate abandoning the Lord's Supper. There is a danger here of over-reacting. In opposing an external, by-the-motions form of worship, one can so spiritualize things as to make all physical actions irrelevant. But there is a point where it is clearly necessary to rebel against putting all the emphasis on the external. In this, Peter de Bruys was followed by Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe and John Hus, and ultimately the Protestant Reformation. There is more to genuinely following God than just going through the motions of being part of the organization.