Friday, October 30, 2015

Reformation Sunday, All Week Long

While we celebrated Reformation Sunday almost a week ago (according to tradition, Reformation Sunday is commemorated on the Sunday closest to--and not after--October 31), I believe that the words below, written by our pastor, Justin Wainscott, should serve as an all-the-year long reminder of the power of reformation. And, The Reformation.  There is much in our "orders of worship" today that came about as a result of Luther's bold statements, all ninety-five of them, being nailed to the Wittenberg door.  Soli Deo gloria.

"The Protestant Reformation was one of the watershed events in Christian history.  While it certainly had political and social ramifications, the Reformation was, first and foremost, a spiritual movement.  And while it could be argued that it began as early as the fourteenth century and was led by figures such as John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, it was one particular event in the sixteenth century and one particular person who was most responsible for this movement.

On All Saints Eve, October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted a list of reasons why he opposed the Roman Catholic practice of buying and selling indulgences to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany.  That list of reasons, known as the 95 Theses, made the door immortal; and it sparked a movement that would change the whole of Christendom.

Five centuries later, we still feel the effects of that movement in very concrete ways.  The Reformers returned the sermon and its significance to corporate worship, making the preaching of God's word central to who we are and what we do.  They recovered the importance of congregational singing, ensuring the involvement of all God's people in worship.  The emphasis we place on every vocation (ministerial or otherwise) being a divine calling, we also owe to the Reformers.  And, of course, the doctrinal principles of the Reformation form the very foundation of all that we believe about the gospel--that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone...

Put simply, the Reformation was a rediscovery of the gospel.  In fact, all great revivals in Christian have been rediscoveries of the gospel--rediscoveries of salvation as God's free gift to undeserving sinners.  So today, we give thanks to God for that rediscovery, and we join with other Protestant Christians around the globe to celebrate and commemorate both the Reformation and the courageous people who led it.  For that is our heritage--a heritage we willingly and gladly embrace.  Thanks be to God for reforming His Church!"

~Published here with the author's permission~

The Wittenberg Door

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