Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Reformation Day!

Perhaps the title of the blog may throw you, with much attention going to Halloween today. But, please, let's not forget the significance of this back to many ages gone by. On October 31, 1517 an Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed a proclamation "95 Theses on the Power of Indulgences" to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. This was the normal practice in that age for those who wished to announce a public debate. Yet, little did Martin Luther realize the impact his actions would have not only on him, but on the entire world for hundreds of years to come.

The thesis directly confronted the misuse of practices such as indulgences in the Catholic Church. It challenged the authority of the Pope and would eventually be remembered as the start of the Protestant Reformation. Luther was excommunicated from the Catholic church, lived amidst constant threat of death and even remained hidden for a season, during which some of his most popular writings were penned.

For everyone who worships in any branch of the Protestant church today throughout the world, it is because of this one man that we may thank God for the knowledge we have of our priesthood as believers, of our ability to approach God without fear and most of all for the revelation that salvation is by grace through faith. None of those truths previously mentioned were the commonly accepted norms of the day and age Luther lived in.

For those so inclined to read the 95 theses, it is available at Recommended reading about Luther and his life may be found in the book Here I Stand by Roland Bainton (online versions are available).

So, Happy Reformation Day! May we not take for granted the freedom we have to worship God and may we remember those like Luther who stood against all opposition to hold firm to the truth that "the just shall live by faith".

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