Love Under Fire


Progress in Sweden

In Sweden also, young men from Wittenberg brought the water of life to their countrymen. Two leaders in the Swedish Reformation, Olaf and Laurentius Petri, studied under Luther and Melanchthon. Like the great Reformer, Olaf captivated the people by his eloquence, while Laurentius, like Melanchthon, was thoughtful and calm. Both had unflinching courage. The Catholic priests stirred up the ignorant and superstitious people. Several times, Olaf Petri barely escaped with his life. However, these Reformers did have the protection of the king, who was committed to having a reformation and welcomed these talented helpers in the battle against Rome. LF 103.2

In the presence of the king and leading men of Sweden, Olaf Petri defended the reformed faith with great ability. He declared that Christians should accept the teachings of the church fathers only when they agree with Scripture, and that the Bible presents the essential doctrines of the faith in a clear manner, so that everyone can understand them. LF 103.3

These events show us “the sort of men that belonged to the army of the Reformers. They were not illiterate, narrow-minded, noisy people who loved to argue—far from it. They were men who had studied the word of God and knew well how to use the weapons that the Bible's armory supplied to them. They were scholars and theologians, men who thoroughly mastered the whole system of gospel truth, and who could win an easy victory over the false reasoners of the schools and the dignitaries of Rome.”6 LF 103.4

The king of Sweden accepted the Protestant faith, and the national assembly voted in its favor. At the request of the king, the two brothers took on the task of translating the whole Bible. The assembly ordered that throughout the kingdom, ministers should explain the Scriptures and that the children in the schools should be taught to read the Bible. LF 103.5

Freed from Rome's oppression, the nation achieved a strength and greatness it had never before reached. A century later, this previously feeble nation came to the deliverance of Germany in the terrible struggle of the Thirty Years’ War—the only country in Europe that dared to lend a helping hand. All of Northern Europe seemed about to be brought again under Rome's tyranny. The armies of Sweden, however, enabled Germany to win toleration for Protestants and to restore liberty of conscience to those countries that had accepted the Reformation. LF 103.6