Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Celebrating the 500th year of the Reformation

Five hundred years ago, on October 31, 1517, it's said that Martin Luther posted his 95 theses in protest against the doctrines and practices of the ruling Roman Catholic Church. This ushered the momentous event in world history known as the Protestant Reformation, a movement that led Christendom back to its roots, to the purest form of God's message of salvation: grace alone through faith alone. This movement changed the world. Along the way, it introduced intellectual and spiritual giants—Martin Luther and John Calvin, among them, who were persecuted for standing up to Rome. The printing press was born as an inevitability and necessity. The renewed understanding of God's sovereign and unmerited grace was due, in part, to the distribution of Bible translations in the people's lingua franca. For the first time ordinary folk, who likely did not understand Latin, could read and understand God's Word for themselves. With their eyes opened, the Gospel freed them from the paralyzing fear and uncertainty of their eternal destinations. By the grace of God, they understood that they need not work for their salvation—it was, and still is, freely offered once they repent of their sins and put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. God would breathe new life into their souls, so they could do good works as a consequence, and never as a prerequisite.

The Reformation's battle cry was a return to the purity God's Word, that Scripture alone should be the basis of faith and doctrine was, and that Scripture must interpret itself. Only Christ can save people from their sins, and never themselves. What joy! What freedom!

Read:
Why the Reformation Should Make Your More Catholic by Fred Sanders
The Aesthetic Beauty of the Gospel by Mark Mattes
Here We Stand
Portrait of Calvin by THL Parker (free download)
Here We Stand by Dr. Albert Mohler — a really good essay!

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