10/27/2017 7:12:19 AM
Pastor Jim Thompson
This year, October 31, 2017, we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Unfortunately, many in our churches across this nation have not heard of the reformation, or have little-to-no knowledge of what was involved. In fact, many in our churches will refer to October 31st as Halloween.
It is not possible to give a full history here, so let me condense the information. Martin Luther, (not to be confused with Martin Luther King) in 1517 began to be concerned with the practice of the Roman Catholic Church called "simony" which amounts to the selling of indulgences and the giving of "special grace" when one views or handles a relic of a dead saint. Indulgences were a "get out of jail" card and the more indulgences, the less time a loved one would spend in purgatory.
Martin Luther wrote 95 Theses in opposition to these and other practices of the church and nailed them on the door of the church at Wittenburg Castle. His purpose was not to start a rebellion but to expose the error in hopes that the church would reform. Martin Luther had realized in his study as an Augustinian Monk, the church doctrine and Biblical doctrine did not agree. He found Romans 1:17: "The Just shall live by Faith" and realized that faith and faith alone justifies a person before a holy and righteous God.
The 95 Theses were quickly reprinted and distributed throughout all of Europe and caused many to turn to faith and faith alone, which was contrary to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Many were put to death for what the church called heresy.
It was this act that God used to break the power of the Roman Catholic church over the people and began the protestant movement. We Christians today need to thank the Lord for men like Luther, as well other men, Wycliffe, Hus, Tyndale, and Calvin, etc, for their willingness to sacrifice their own lives for the truth of the Gospel. Oh, that we today would be bold to speak truth in the name of the Lord, even if it were to cost us our lives.
For futher study of the reformation, I refer you to a book written by Erwin W. Lutzer, "Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation" published by Baker Books