11/01/14 Weekend Grif.Net – 497 Years Ago

11/01/14 Weekend Grif.Net – 497 Years Ago

Did you know this weekend is one of the most significant times in church
history? No, I’m not talking about Halloween, Day of the Dead or All Soul’s
Day. I’m talking about ‘Reformation Day’. And even though I didn’t see
neighborhood kids going door-to-door dressed like Martin Luther or Ulrich
Zwingli last night, I remember that these men and their fellow reformers
over the next 100 years made a huge and lasting impact on the way Christians
understand Scripture and eternal salvation.

[Aside: I did see one young man who I thought with his beard and fierce look
was trying to portray John Knox of Scotland, but then realized from his
camouflaged pants that he was more into Duck Dynasty]

The Protestant Reformation was shaped by many people over many years, but
came into focus when a monk named Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 theses
to the door of the Wittenberg church in 1517. Luther was a monk who was
upset at the widespread corruption he observed within Catholicism, most
notably the sale of “indulgences” that promised postmortem forgiveness of
sins for deceased loved ones. Sort of “Get-Out-of-Jail-Free” cards without
passing “Go”.

Outside Luther’s Germany, similar “protest” movements were helmed by people
like John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Knox. Beyond protesting
corruption in the church, the emerging “protestant” movement challenged many
of the theological teachings of the Roman Catholic church. The reformers
believed that Scripture alone – not human traditions or the rulings of a
church – held complete authority for Christians (“sola scriptura”), and that
salvation was a free gift of God that could not be earned by good deeds.

I believe that the spirit of Martin Luther would encourage the American
Christians today to return to the five foundational areas of Doctrine that
he fought for – the Five Sola’s of the Reformation.

Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)
Sola Gratia (Grace alone)
Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
Solus Christus (Christ alone)
Soli Deo Gloria (To God alone be the Glory)

The century following the Protestant Reformation was a chaotic and violent
time, but the reform movements survived to form the basis of today’s
Protestant denominations. Protestants owe a debt of gratitude to the many
reformers who risked (and in some cases, lost) their lives re-forming and
re-building the church into a new vehicle for worship and proclamation of
truth. And my Catholic friends can appreciate the reformers for confronting
corruption in the church, even if they don’t agree with all of our theology.

So this weekend, pause for a few minutes amidst the Halloween festivities,
football games and hoopla to remember this pivotal moment in church history.


Dr Bob Griffin
“Jesus Knows Me, This I Love!”