I am reading a book from Remnant Publications called The Great Controversy. http://www.remnantpublications.com/default/index.php/books/great-controversy-project/great-controversy-missionary-edition.html The lesson of this book is that if we aren't very careful, history will repeat itself..."Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
I had heard about "the reformation" but never really knew how horrible the persecution of Christians throughout history had been (and it is still going on today just as horribly at the hands of Muslims in the middle east). The Roman Empire and the early Catholic church used the Word to enslave the masses. With no access to a Bible, the subjects of the empire were forced to rely on the Pope and his officers for their interpretation of scripture. The church grew rich and powerful by the sale of indulgences...just pay a fee and you can continue to sin and be absolved. The problem with that plan is that absolution only comes through Christ but the people were not allowed to hear that. Satan was able to corrupt the Word from the earliest of times with the temptation of great wealth and power. Although the struggle continues today, men like Martin Luther discovered that the Living Word of the Bible is something for every individual to experience on their own - not to become a tool for emperors to wield power or to enrich the coffers of the church.
Yesterday I was listening to KRTS Marfa Public Radio and they were playing some "best of" the NPR series This American Life. This particular episode kind of sums it all up. This YouTube video is audio only but well worth the listen.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.