Today marks the 500th year anniversary of the widely accepted start of The Reformation.
Roman Catholic Monk Martin Luther had found John Hus’s Gospel-drenched sermons, and had been studying the Bible for himself, when his conscience convicted him that the Roman Catholic structure of indulgences and other aberrant doctrines were unacceptable compared to what was taught via the Bible.
He nailed 95 theses to the All Saints’ Chapel doors at the church in Wittenberg Germany, for public discussion as per usual among the theologians of the day.
Because Luther’s propositions and questions could not be reconciled with what the Catholic dogma taught, there arose a controversy which only entrenched Luther further into his stance, when at the conclusion of his heresy trial he refused to recant and is alleged to have said,
“Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.”
Luther asserted that his conscience was captive to the Word of God and that he could not go against conscience. This was not, however, a modern plea for the supremacy of the individual conscience or for religious freedom. Though already excommunicated by Rome, Luther saw himself as a sworn teacher of Scripture who must advocate the right of all Christians to hear and live by the gospel.
Praise the Lord for His timing in bringing His word back to the people.
The Reformation is ongoing because the spiritual battle is ongoing. Satan hasn’t quit deluding the unwary and he hasn’t stopped growing his church (Roman Catholic, among others, such as Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc). He is still at it. Despite the blessed knowledge that many of today’s leaders have regarding the differences between the Protestant and the Catholic, many other of today’s leaders seem to have forgotten the point of the Reformation was to protest the perverse twisting of the Gospel and other biblical doctrines away from truth to devilish lies a la the Roman Catholic Church.
Ultimately, though Luther wanted reform within the RCC, it was not possible, and the Protestant denominations were born.
For example, today we have well-known Protestant leaders retracting their former truthful words that Roman view of justification is heresy, and also and perpetuating their stance that works add to something called final salvation.
We have well-known so-called Reformed pastors teaching Catholic methods, sourcing Catholic authors, and naming their church classes “The Way of the Monk” led by Catholic-trained female teachers, and teaching that Catholicism is another Christian denomination, or tradition, or stream, not the heresy and affront to God that it is.
We have so-called evangelicals usurping God from the Sunday pulpit to host Catholic political celebrities, who are treated as a brother and not as a mission field.
We have whole congregations (Episcopal) in the US converting en masse back to Catholicism. Granted Episcopalians don’t have far to go, but the quote that struck me was from one lay leader of this congregation that mass converted back to Rome: “It feels fantastic,” Delaney said. “It’s like correcting 500 years of history.”
No. Not it’s not.
Despite all that, today is a great day to celebrate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, His church, His Spirit’s work in the world to bring men into the kingdom on the glowing carpet of truths known as The Gospel of Salvation. We celebrate the simple Gospel, the understandable Gospel, the Gospel we read in the word of God thanks to the translators and Reformers and protestors who yanked it from the dark into the Light, even on the funeral pyres of their own mortality.
We celebrate the knowledge that Jesus saves, as it is written, and so many other truths we know because He revealed it to us in His word.
We celebrate fiery, or quiet, or diligent, or intelligent, or clumsy, pastors who perpetuate the truths unadorned with skits or personal stories, just preaching, some at risk to their own lives.
We celebrate the brave men and women who circulated the word back to the people. But Reformation Day 500 ultimately celebrates One.
We praise and thanks we Lord Jesus above for all His ways, His power, might, love, Word, redemption, suffering, sovereignty, omniscience, holiness, holiness, holiness…