Reformation Day is an important day for Protestant Christians, and on October 31, Christians around the world will celebrate the day when Martin Luther nailed “The 95 Theses” to the door of Wittenberg’s Church.
It’s important because, without the Protestant Reformation, our worship would be less biblical today. Here’s a partial list I read on the Internet of things that have changed.
It recovered, clarified, and emphasized the gospel of God’s grace, as opposed to the system of works that had engulfed the church.
It challenged the authority of the pope and church tradition, subjugating it to the Bible.
It replaced the Mass with the preaching of the word.
It abolished the system of indulgences and merits as necessary for salvation. It abolished the unbiblical doctrine of purgatory.
It did away with venerating Mary, praying to her and the saints, and venerating the church's relics, idols, or icons.
It reintroduced congregational singing.
It put the Bible in the common language of the people so they could read it for themselves.
It taught the priesthood of every believer.
It recognized only two sacraments or ordinances (Baptism and The Lord’s Supper), not seven.
It taught that marriage is good and that church leaders may marry.
In other words, the Protestant Reformation led the church back to the centrality of Scripture. It also caused a lot of division but that wasn’t what Martin Luther sought. He hoped for reconciliation, but after four years of trying, in 1521, he famously said, “Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds of reasoning, then I cannot and will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me! Amen.”
The Apostle Paul, as we learned last week, also took a stand on the centrality of scripture. He thought of himself as “a manager of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). And in verse six, he made his unwillingness to compromise with scripture even clearer:
Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying: “Nothing beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6).
“Nothing beyond what is written” is what the Apostle Paul wanted to ensure was passed on to us and it was. It’s this truth that sparked the Protestant Reformation and it’s our legacy. In this world of distractions and conflicting priorities, may we be found faithful in passing along the centrality of scripture to the next generation, too.