church history

Reflecting On Reformation Day

Traditionally, on October 31st, 1517 Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg—I guess that was his blog. The document is concerned with the authority of the pope in regard to indulgences and most of us Protestant Children of the Reformation would look back at the thing with a quizzical raised eyebrow—it means little to us today. I and countless believers who hold to the traditions shouted from barrack-tops are grateful for the unearthed truths and even repeat the Sola-statements: By Grace Alone, by Faith Alone, by Scripture Alone, by Christ alone, Glory to only God. But do we remember the price?

That day was the first step towards a series of discussions that would rediscover truths long covered while violently tearing the visible church asunder, lead to several schisms and battles within the Christian community and be a horrid testimony to the world spanning several decades if not centuries.

Ah the pity of it all that Christians, convicted of these rediscovered truths, would stand behind authorities and with clenched swords ready to spread the truths of God in manner inconsistent with Christ’s own words (Matt 26:52, John 18:11), recorded in Scripture, by the grace and power of God and to be relied on by Faith. God fearing men would discover truth and freedom and yet when believers came that rejoiced in the freedoms given in Scripture, they would subsequently be persecuted

The Catholic Church would persecute Reformers and Reformers in turn would persecute the Anabaptists. Eventually some of the Anabaptists would take over a city and declared a king and the cycle continued. The Anabaptists were eventually crushed and scattered, The Protestants fought the Catholics for years and today look at each other with uneasy eyes.

It’s easy to forget through the tinted glass of time and prosperity and unfortunately its something that we believers can get into right now, today—tearing down our brothers and sisters with our tongues instead of swords, devouring each other in our disagreements and in some cases outright condemning believers as anathema.

So I am grateful for the Reformation; but I rejoice in the Lord who alone is perfect in Truth and Love. I look at my printed Bible with joy but back at the period with sorrow. As I sing in the Lord’s Supper I exult in Christ but as I look across the street at brothers and sisters meeting in a different denomination, I realize what fallen Man can so easily do to God’s Word and Christ’s Body. Lastly, I stand convinced of truth yet yearn for the day when God will show that His Kingdom is not like these of men—it is firm, unshakeable and will not fade away.

Reformation History Links: Timeline, Reformation Timeline, Catholics on the Reformation, Catholics on Anabaptists, Anabaptists, Anabaptists Wiki, Lutheran Wiki, Gunpowder Plot, European Reformation, Counter Reformation, Wars of Religion, More on the Wars of Religion, Tim Challies Reformation Day invitation and Symposium.

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