Tag: church history

Why the Reformation Matters Today

This coming Monday is Halloween, ending the second largest retail season of the year, only behind the Christmas season. While many people will celebrate with candy and costumes, for Christians, today represents a significant moment in church history. On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic Monk, nailed his 95 theses to the door of his church. Luther wrote these words out of a deep concern with the Roman Catholic Church’s view on several issues that Luther deemed unBiblical. His efforts lead to what is now referred to as the Protestant Reformation.

I don’t want to spend this entire post recounting the historical moments that both preceded and succeeded Luther’s actions on this day. If you want to read more about Reformation Day, I’ll provide a few links at the bottom. You can also read more from this blog post.

What I want to write about is how the Reformation impacts us today. Though they were flawed men and women, the stance taken by the Reformers 500 plus years ago is a model for us today. 

We must take a stand for the Gospel.

After Luther posted his 95 theses, he knew he would have to defend his claims. So he stood before the Emperor of Rome and, knowing he may very well lose his life, stated, “Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me, God.”

What Luther was standing for was the Gospel. While the church he served under said salvation can be earned or paid for or you can pay your relatives out of purgatory,  Luther read from the Scriptures that our righteousness was like filthy rags and the only hope for salvation is through Jesus Christ. After years of hating what he was reading in the Scriptures, he fell in love with the righteousness of God. Christ died for our sins and it is his righteousness that is placed on us.

This, among other doctrinal concerns, led Luther to take a stand against the Roman Catholic’s idea of the Gospel. His influence then is an example for us today. In the midst of so many false gospels, we must take a stand for the true Gospel of Jesus Christ; that salvation comes by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The church in Luther’s day wanted to make sinners look good, but as Luther put it: “Sinners are attractive because they are loved; they are not loved because they are attractive.”

While we take a stand for the gospel, it also means we take a stand against false gospels taught by churches. Whether it’s the deceitful prosperity Gospel or a works-based gospel, we must take a stand for the Gospel. Taking a stand for the Gospel has never been popular, but if we fail to take a stand, then who will? The apostle Paul took a stand for Gospel priority by calling out those who abandoned the Gospel of Jesus:

[6] I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—[7] not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. [8] But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. [9] As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. [10] For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:6–10)

We must take a stand for the Scriptures.

Luther’s conflict with the church began when the church’s teachings collided with his understanding of the Scripture. He was a Scholar and when he realized that the church was teaching something contrary to the Word of God, he spoke up. He saw God’s Word as authoritative and should be available to all people.

God’s Word must be the authority in our lives. It’s how we learn about God, his grace, and his forgiveness through Jesus (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Holy Spirit uses Scripture to convict us daily. To limit its authority is a dangerous step towards apostasy. The church must teach and disciple believers on how to read and study the scriptures.  

We also must make sure that all we do within the church is founded on the teachings of the Bible. Our traditions, our theology, and our individual and corporate practice must be grounded in the Word of God. Luther stood up for the authority of the Scriptures during a time when the Catholic church claimed to hold all authority.

We must take a stand for God’s Glory.

It may sound odd, but the church today needs Jesus. While Luther’s church may have said “Jesus!”, everything else said other-wise. It was about the church, it was about the Pope, it was about money. It was about everything other than Jesus. Unfortunately, too many churches have become about other ideas other than Jesus.

If programs, methods, or anything else becomes more important than Jesus, then we’ve missed it. If we give over to more lights or more buildings or more “attractiveness” and set Jesus to the side, then it’s necessary to evaluate our churches. The Reformers understood that it was through Christ alone and it was for God’s glory alone. They weren’t out to make a name for themselves or for their church, they only desired to make a name for Jesus. 

Here are a few indicators that a reformation may be needed within a church:

  • If the worship is about how well done and entertaining the music is and not about who God is, then a reformation is needed.
  • If the preaching becomes about the speaker’s giftedness or focuses on relative topics and opinions and not about the teaching of God’s Word, then a reformation is needed.
  • If the church becomes inwardly focused and not focused on the spreading of the gospel to people outside the church, then a reformation is needed.

It’s never been about us; it must always be about God’s glory.

So much more could be said about the influence of the Reformers. Their impact 500 years ago should influence us to take a stand for Scripture Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone, Christ Alone, and to the Glory of God Alone. May we all be reformers in our churches.

Happy Reformation Day.

****

ARTICLES

What is Reformation Day? – ligonier.com

3 Things Every Christian Should Know About the Reformation. – thegospelcoalition.com

Here We Stood (a brief history of Martin Luther) – desiringgod.org

The Reformation and your Church – 9marks.org (This is a Fall Journal loaded with great articles on the reformation. Save this link and read/watch/listen to everything that is included.

DOCUMENTARIES AND PODCASTS

Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer – Watch this documentary in its entirety to discover the events God used in Martin Luther’s life that led him to rediscover the gospel of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Luther in Real Time – It’s 1520. Martin Luther has been declared a heretic by Pope Leo X, and his books are being burned. How much longer before Luther himself is thrown into the fire?

Enter the German Reformer’s dramatic story with Luther: In Real Time. First released 500 years after the events described, this podcast allows you to walk in Martin Luther’s footsteps from his heresy charges to his famous stand for the authority of God’s Word at the Diet of Worms. Share this podcast with people of all ages so they can hear—in Luther’s own words—what Protestants are protesting and why it still matters today.

What is the Protestant Reformation?

While many people are prepping their costumes and candy buckets for Halloween, October 31st marks a significant day in church history. On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic Monk, nailed his 95 theses to the door of his church. Luther wrote these words out of a deep concern with the Roman Catholic Church’s view on several issues that Luther deemed unBiblical. His efforts led to what is now referred to as the Protestant Reformation. Christians now see October 31st as Reformation Day.

For the next couple of weeks, we’re going to look at the Reformation and how it impacts us today, 500 plus years later. First, let’s take a brief look at the historical context leading up to the Protestant Reformation. Much has been written on the Reformation, so allow me to give a short summary, specifically looking at Martin Luther’s role in the Reformation. Additional resources will be provided below.

Leading up to the 1500s, The Roman Catholic Church had substantially departed from the teaching of the Apostles recorded in the New Testament and heretical teachings were being promoted by monks all the way to the Pope.

In July of 1505, a young man named Martin Luther was on his way home when he was nearly struck by lightning. Seeing he was in the throes of death, he cried out “Help me, St. Anne! I will become a monk.” And so he did, abandoning his plans to become a lawyer. At 21, Martin Luther kept his vow from that stormy walk home and became an Augustinian Monk.

When Luther was given the tasks to lead in his first Mass, he was overcome by his sinfulness and God’s greatness. He was barely able to make it through Mass and considered running away from his duties in fear of again being confronted by a Holy God. But he kept to his commitment and continued on, despite the insistent reign of fear of God in his life. 

Luther was very much in tune with the depravity of his own soul, spending hours and hours in the confessional booth. He wrote later on in his life, “Though I lived as a monk without reproach, I felt that I was a sinner before God with an extremely disturbed conscience. I could not believe that he was placated by my satisfaction” (Selections, 12).

While Luther was deep in despair over his unworthiness, a close friend, Johannes von Staupitz, gave Luther several opportunities to teach from God’s Word and soon became a theological professor at Wittenberg University in Germany. It was through his preparations for his classes that the Holy Spirit struck the heart of the German monk and confronted him about his unrighteousness. It had been clear to this point that Luther despised all teachings on righteousness because he fully believed it was impossible to obtain it. It was here when he realized that righteousness comes by faith alone, Christ alone, for the glory of God alone.

This life changing gift of salvation spurred Martin Luther to eventually forsake the teachings of the Catholic church and stand firm to the teachings of Scripture. He proclaimed that justification came by faith alone in Christ alone and that no one deserved grace, let alone could earn it or pay for it. His teachings on the truth of Scripture caused an uproar within the Catholic Church, leading the Pope to admittedly deny Luther’s, and ultimately the Scripture’s, teachings as “A cesspool of heresies”. Luther didn’t care and stated as much when he nailed his 95 Thesis to the doors of his church.

Two great issues were at stake during the Reformation, justification by faith alone (sola fide) and the authority of Scripture alone in the life of the church and the believer (sola Scriptura). The efforts to return to the Apostolic teachings contained within the 66 books of the Bible was at the forefront of the Reformation. Men Like Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and so many others wanted to see the church reformed or changed in such a way that tradition became secondary and God’s Word became primary.

Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Catholic Church and when asked to recant his teachings at the Diet of Worms in 1521, Martin Luther stated,

“If, then, I am not convinced by testimonies of Scripture or by clear rational arguments—for I do not believe in the pope or in councils alone, since it has been established that they have often erred and contradicted each other—I am bound by the Bible texts that I have quoted. And as long as my conscience is captive to the Word of God, I cannot nor do I want to retract anything when things become doubtful. Salvation will be threatened if you go against your conscience. Here I stand; I can do no other. May God help me. Amen.”

The life of Martin Luther and the men of the Reformation is a reminder that we too must stand firm on the teachings of God’s Word in the face of heretical malpractice and cultural denial. It is from God’s Word we know the universal need for salvation from God’s wrath and sin and it is from God’s Word we learn that this precious salvation comes to us through Christ and Christ alone. There is no other Savior. Here we stand.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

What is Reformation Day? – ligonier.com

3 Things Every Christian Should Know About the Reformation. – thegospelcoalition.com

Here We Stood (a brief history of Martin Luther) – desiringgod.org

Luther at the Diet of Worms. – Crossway.org

The Reformation and your Church – 9marks.org (This is a Fall Journal loaded with great articles on the reformation. Save this link and read/watch/listen to everything that is included.)

Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer – Watch this documentary in its entirety to discover the events God used in Martin Luther’s life that led him to rediscover the gospel of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Luther in Real Time – It’s 1520. Martin Luther has been declared a heretic by Pope Leo X, and his books are being burned. How much longer before Luther himself is thrown into the fire? Enter the German Reformer’s dramatic story with Luther: In Real Time. First released 500 years after the events described, this podcast allows you to walk in Martin Luther’s footsteps from his heresy charges to his famous stand for the authority of God’s Word at the Diet of Worms. Share this podcast with people of all ages so they can hear—in Luther’s own words—what Protestants are protesting and why it still matters today.

A Great Cloud of Witnesses: Learning from Church History

* Blog Picture is of Lottie Moon from IMB.org

We recently wrapped up our summer long sermon series on Hebrews 11, a series that pointed us to the faithfulness of God in our lives. The men and women of Hebrews 11 are examples of God’s great faithfulness to His people. We see in Hebrews 12:1-2 that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, men and women who have gone before us who testify to us of God’s faithfulness. 

I want to share with you a little more information on the men and women I shared with you in the sermon from Sunday and a few resources you can read to learn more about church history.

 

Stephen Langton

Hebrews 11 is incomplete without Hebrews 12:1-2. The Bibles we read from have a helpful tool of which we have given little to no thought. The chapter divisions commonly used today were developed by Stephen Langton, an Archbishop of Canterbury. Langton put the modern chapter divisions into place around A.D. 1227. The Wycliffe English Bible of 1382 was the first Bible to use this chapter pattern. Since the Wycliffe Bible, nearly all Bible translations have followed Langton’s chapter divisions. Up until that point, Scripture was a flowing document only divided by books. 

I’m thankful for the chapter and verse divisions in our Bibles. It helps us find Scripture quicker and easier. But they often do a disservice when it comes to understanding the context of a text of Scripture. One example of this is Hebrews 12:1-12.

 

Polycarp 

Polycarp was born in 69 AD and was believed to have been a disciple of the Beloved Disciple John. He was arrested for his faith when he was 86 years old! Dr. Timothy George sets the scene of Polycarp’s death for us. (1)  

“It was game day in Smyrna, a holiday. Twenty-thousand bloodthirsty fans of torture and violence had turned out to see the shows. This violence was by design. Smyrna was the epicenter of the Roman spectacle. Up in Pergamum, just a few miles to the north, there was a school for training gladiators. The program of the day went like this: In the morning, the wild animals were let loose into the arena, hunted down and killed. Later in the day, the gladiators themselves would fight. But in the afternoon, with the sun high in the sky, it was time for the execution of the criminals. There were a lot of them: slaves, war captives, arsonists, murderers and those like Polycarp who had committed sacrilege by refusing to honor the godhead of Caesar and who would not take the easy way out.

So the proconsul said to Polycarp, “Take the oath. I will let you go. Just revile Christ.” Polycarp answered, “For eighty and six years I have been his servant, and he has done me no wrong. And how can I now blaspheme my king who saved me?” 

He offered a prayer in the name of the triune God, and then he was bound. The wood was lit. Like Jesus, who was crucified naked, Polycarp entered the flames without his clothes. But when they saw that his body would not be burned by the fire, an executioner was called to stab him with a dagger. And so he was killed by fire and sword. About a generation after Polycarp, another great teacher of the early church, Tertullian, made a famous statement we often remember: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” That man was Tertullian.

 

TERTULLIAN

He was born around 170 AD in North Africa, and after his conversion, spoke strongly concerning the doctrine of God and was strongly opposed to society’s wickedness. As far as we know, he was the first person in the history of the church to use the word “Trinity” to summarize the New Testament teaching.

Reflecting on the early days of persecution amongst Christianity  Tertullian penned these words to the Roman emperor to show him that the gospel was indeed thriving despite the persecution: “We are but of yesterday, yet we fill your cities, islands, forts, towns, councils, even camps, tribes, the palace, the senate, the forum; we have left you the temples alone.”

 

JOHANN VON STAUPITZ

Fast forward several centuries to 1469, a man named Johann Von Staupitz was born in Germany. Staupitz was a Christian scholar who was asked to help start a new university in Wittenberg, Germany. It was there he met a young monk who was a professor at the university at the time. Here is how one author recorded it. (2)

“This young man was struggling with the need to confess completely everything he had ever done wrong. He wore Johann von Staupitz out, trying to remember every sin that his mind would try to cover up. On at least one occasion, he confessed for six hours straight.

Johann tried to explain God’s grace to the young man. Surrender to the love of God, he counseled.  Lose himself in God, he said. He was making religion too difficult. All he needed to do was love God. But the young man was tormented by fears and doubts. “I was myself more than once driven to the very abyss of despair so that I wished I had never been created. Love God? I hated him!”

“I don’t understand it!” replied the long suffering Johann when the student reported this latest line of reasoning to him. He reminded him that Christ died to remit our sins. However, the student was so afraid of Christ, the judge, that he could not turn to him for relief. Eventually, that young man came to know Christ as Savior. His name was Martin Luther who would go on to be a leading Reformer and post the 95 Theses which spoke against the teachings of the Catholic church. If it had not been for Dr. Staupitz, I should have sunk in hell,” said Martin Luther.

 

GEORGE LIELE 

Germany feels so far away, so let’s bring church history a little closer to home. George Liele came to Christ in 1773, at the age of twenty-three, and was baptized by his white pastor, Matthew Moore. Sometime after Liele’s conversion, his owner, Henry Sharp, who was a Baptist deacon, gave Liele his freedom so he could pursue God’s call. Liele preached for two years in the slave quarters of plantations surrounding Savannah and into South Carolina after his conversion. Because of his faithfulness and powerful preaching of the Word, many surrendered their lives to Christ. George Liele was ordained on May 20, 1775, becoming the first ordained African American Baptist preacher in America. After his ordination, he planted the first African American Baptist Church in North America, a church still in existence today.

In 1778, Henry Sharp was killed in the Revolutionary War. After his death, Sharp’s heirs took steps to re-enslave Liele. As a result of their actions, Liele was thrown in jail. Eventually, he was able to produce proper documentation concerning his freedom and was set free. Soon after his release, George and his wife, Hannah, and their four children left Savannah and landed in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1782 where they served as missionaries to the Jamaican people. 

Not only was Liele an effective missionary and evangelist, he was known for encouraging his converts to go preach the gospel to the lost. As a result of his leadership, they went to Savannah, Georgia, Nova Scotia, and Sierra Leone.

Adoniram Judson is often cited as the first Baptist missionary from the United States. But, in fact, this designation belongs to George Liele. His story is an important part of missionary history and is worthy of emulation.

 

LOTTIE MOON

Lottie Moon is an inspiration to all Christians and her story is a vital part of the International Mission Board’s (IMB) efforts to send out more missionaries and raise financial funds to support them. Here is Lottie Moon’s story, as told by the IMB. (3)

Born Charlotte Digges Moon, December 12, 1840, in Albemarle County, Virginia. Lottie rebelled against Christianity until she was in college. In December 1858, she dedicated her life to Christ and was baptized at First Baptist Church, Charlottesville, Virginia. In 1873, Lottie, as a single woman, left home to take the gospel message to China. Lottie served 39 years as a missionary, mostly in China’s Shantung province. She taught in a girls’ school and often made trips into China’s interior to share the good news with women and girls.

A young woman serving as a clerk for the Foreign Mission Board signed for the small brown package. She probably wasn’t aware at the time that the package contained the ashes of Charlotte Digges Moon — the Lottie Moon who was loved in China and revered in the U.S. and whose legacy would become a symbol of Southern Baptist missions around the world.

Forced out of China due to malnutrition and sickness, Lottie’s 50-pound frame could not survive the journey back to the United States. Though thousands mourned her passing, her life’s work in China represented eternity to many. She was the missionary who believed strongly in the teaching of young girls and started schools, though the community’s men scorned her for it. She passionately spoke out against the gruesome practice of foot-binding, offering relief to hundreds of girls whose families were swayed by Lottie’s persuasive arguments against it. She visited thousands of homes to teach the Scriptures, evangelized while she walked from village to village, and led in her Chinese church. She wrote letters back to the U.S. pleading for more funds, more workers and more prayer.

Near the end of her ministry, she had given of herself, her food, her supplies so completely, that she had little left on this earth, but riches abundant in heaven.

 

Learning from these witnesses of God’s faithfulness encourages us to trust in His faithfulness as well. Here are some additional resources for you to learn more about the saints who have gone before us.

 

BOOKS:

IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD: REFLECTIONS ON TWENTY CENTURIES OF CHURCH HISTORY by Sinclair Ferguson

The story of the church is important for Christians to know, for it contains rich and uplifting stories of God’s dealings with His people. Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson takes the reader on a tour of the Christian history, featuring stories and songs to give believers a sense of their place in God’s kingdom and to encourage them in their walk.

 

21 SERVANTS OF SOVEREIGN JOY: FAITHFUL, FLAWED, AND FRUITFUL by John Piper

In this book, John Piper explores the lives of twenty-one leaders from church history, offering a close look at their perseverance amidst opposition, weakness, and suffering. Let the endurance of these faithful but flawed saints inspire you toward a life of Christ-exalting courage, passion, and joy.

 

FOXE’S BOOK OF MARTYRS by John Foxes

In 1563, John Foxe began writing a book in tribute to Christian martyrs, beginning with Stephen, the first believer who died for the cause of Christ. Foxe’s original work ended with the martyrs of his own day — those who were killed during the reign of “Bloody Mary.” He wanted the Church to remember the martyrs, for he knew that the blood of the martyrs truly is the seed of the Church.

 

WEBSITES

175 YEARS OF THE INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS BOARD

Since 1845, almost 25,000 Southern Baptist missionaries have shared the gospel, made disciples, planted churches and planted their lives in 185 countries around the world. This interactive timeline celebrates 175 years of Southern Baptists on mission through the International Mission Board, which was originally called the Foreign Mission Board. Get to know missionaries whose names may have been forgotten but whose stories remind us of the power of God and the courage of His people. Learn about significant moments in Southern Baptist history, often shaped by events happening in the world at large. Celebrate God’s faithfulness through 175 years of remarkable missions history.

 

PODCASTS

5 MINUTES IN CHURCH HISTORY

Travel back in time with Stephen Nichols to look at the people, events, and places that have shaped the story of Christianity. This podcast offers an accessible glimpse into how God has worked in the church and how this can encourage us today.

 

Footnotes:
1 – https://www.beesondivinity.com/blog/2019/martyria-polycarp
2 – https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1501-1600/johann-von-staupitz-luthers-confessor-11629932.html
3 – https://www.imb.org/175/missionary-profiles/lottie-moon/

Why the Reformation Matters Today

This coming Sunday is Halloween, ending the second largest retail season of the year, only behind the Christmas season. While many people will celebrate with candy and costumes, for Christians, today represents a significant moment in church history. On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic Monk, nailed his 95 theses to the door of his church. Luther wrote these words out of a deep concern with the Roman Catholic Church’s view on several issues that Luther deemed unBiblical. His efforts lead to what is now referred to as the Protestant Reformation.

I don’t want to spend this entire post recounting the historical moments that both preceded and succeeded Luther’s actions on this day. If you want to read more about Reformation Day, I’ll provide a few links at the bottom.

What I want to write is how the Reformation impacts us today. Though they were flawed men and women, the stance taken by the Reformers 500 years ago is a model for us today. 

We must take a stand for the Gospel.

After Luther posted his 95 theses, he knew he would have to defend his claims. So he stood before the Emperor of Rome and, knowing he may very well lose his life, stated, “Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me, God.”

What Luther was standing for was the Gospel. While the church he served under said salvation can be earned or paid for or you can pay your relatives out of purgatory,  Luther read from the Scriptures that our righteousness was like filthy rags and the only hope for salvation is through Jesus Christ. After years of hating what he was reading in the Scriptures, he fell in love with the righteousness of God. Christ died for our sins and it is his righteousness that is placed on us.

This, among other doctrinal concerns, led Luther to take a stand against the Roman Catholics idea of the Gospel. His influence then is an example for us today. In the midst of so many false gospels, we must take a stand for the true Gospel of Jesus Christ; that salvation comes by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The church in Luther’s day wanted to make sinners look good, but as Luther put it: “Sinners are attractive because they are loved; they are not loved because they are attractive.”

While we take a stand for the gospel, it also means we take a stand against false gospels taught by churches. Whether it’s the deceitful prosperity Gospel or a works based gospel, we must take a stand for the Gospel. Taking a stand for the Gospel has never been popular, but if we fail to take a stand, then who will?

We must take a stand for the Scriptures.

Luther’s conflict with the church began when the church’s teachings collided with his understanding of the Scripture. He was a Scholar and when he realized that the church was teaching something contrary to the Word of God, he spoke up. He saw God’s Word as authoritative and should be available to all people.

God’s Word must be the authority in our lives. It’s how we learn about God, his grace, and his forgiveness through Jesus. The Holy Spirit uses Scripture to convict us daily. To limit it’s authority is a dangerous step towards apostasy. The church must teach and disciple believers on how to read and study the scriptures.  

We also make sure that all we do within the church is founded on the teachings of the Bible. Our traditions, our theology, and our individual and corporate practice must be grounded in the Word of God. Luther stood up for the authority of the Scriptures during a time when the Catholic church claimed to hold all authority.

We must take a stand for God’s Glory.

It may sound odd, but the church today needs Jesus. While Luther’s church may have said “Jesus!”, everything else said other-wise. It was about the church, it was about the Pope, it was about money. It was about everything other than Jesus. Unfortunately, too many churches have become about other ideas other than Jesus.

If programs, methods, or anything else becomes more important than Jesus, then we’ve missed it. If we give over to more lights or more buildings or more “attractiveness” and set Jesus to the side, then it’s necessary to evaluate our churches. The Reformers understood that it was through Christ alone and it was for God’s glory alone. They weren’t out to make a name for themselves or for their church, they only desired to make a name for Jesus. 

Here are a few indicators that a reformation may be needed within a church:

If the worship is about how well done and entertaining the music is and not about who God is, then a reformation is needed.

If the preaching becomes about the speaker’s giftedness or focuses on relative topics and opinions and not about the teaching of God’s Word, then a reformation is needed.

If the church becomes inwardly focused and not focused on the spreading of the gospel to people outside the church, then a reformation is needed.

It’s never been about us; it must always be about God’s glory.

So much more could be said about the influence of the Reformers. Their impact 500 years ago should influence us to take a stand for Scripture Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone, Christ Alone, and to the Glory of God Alone. May we all be reformers in our churches.

Happy Reformation Day.

****

ARTICLES

What is Reformation Day? – ligonier.com

3 Things Every Christian Should Know About the Reformation. – thegospelcoalition.com

Here We Stood (a brief history of Martin Luther) – desiringgod.org

The Reformation and your Church – 9marks.org (This is a Fall Journal loaded with great articles on the reformation. Save this link and read/watch/listen to everything that is included.

DOCUMENTARIES AND PODCASTS

Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer – Watch this documentary in its entirety to discover the events God used in Martin Luther’s life that led him to rediscover the gospel of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Luther in Real Time – It’s 1520. Martin Luther has been declared a heretic by Pope Leo X, and his books are being burned. How much longer before Luther himself is thrown into the fire?

Enter the German Reformer’s dramatic story with Luther: In Real Time. First released 500 years after the events described, this podcast allows you to walk in Martin Luther’s footsteps from his heresy charges to his famous stand for the authority of God’s Word at the Diet of Worms. Share this podcast with people of all ages so they can hear—in Luther’s own words—what Protestants are protesting and why it still matters today.

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