Four Reasons We Celebrate the Reformation

Last night, our church celebrated the Reformation. Or, at least, on the anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, we acknowledged we are the result of what Luther started. There are several reasons we wanted to do this.

1. Broadly, we are Protestants. Aptly named, because those who followed Luther and others whose desire it was to reform the Church were labeled ‘protesters’ by the Roman Catholic Church. And, while Luther probably didn’t intend to spark such a movement, it resulted in a grand scale break from the established Church. Justin Taylor’s 2010 interview with Luther historian Carl Trueman gives good insight to Luther’s intentions.

2. Specifically, we are Baptists. History has shown us to be the ‘Protestant’s protesters’, in that our beginnings are found in the 16th century attempts to purify (the Puritans) the Church of England. When that didn’t work, a group decided that there was no hope in purifying the Church, so, in the early 17th century, they separated themselves (thus, the Separatists) and began the process of establishing their own church. It is from that germ that Baptists were born.

3. We want to recognize our history and honor those who stood by the Scriptures as the authoritative Word of God. When we study history, we see our beginnings, we see those who fought the battles for the Word and theological precision, and we see where we are now in comparison. Even more, we can understand why we believe what we believe.

4. In primary matters, we want to celebrate our doctrinal unity with each other – other Baptists, and other Protestants, as well. We do that in the 5 Solas (a Latin word meaning ‘alone’) – Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), Sola Fide (faith alone), Sola Gratias (grace alone), Solus Christus (Christ alone), and Sola Deo gloria (to the glory of God alone). We acknowledge the primacy of the inerrant, authoritative Word of God as revealed to us in the Bible. We acknowledge, too, that we are are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone – all for the glory of God alone.

We need to know who we are. We need to know from where we come. And, because of that, we can be secure in our future.

3 Comments

Filed under History, Worship

3 responses to “Four Reasons We Celebrate the Reformation

  1. Mark,

    As a protestant Christian myself, I have a lot of reverence for what Martin Luther did. Still, it makes me sad to see so much division among Christians. It is hard to win non-Christians to the kingdom when the “major” points of contention between denominations appear to be quite minor to those who do not know Christ. I think that we need another Luther today, but instead of dividing the church, he/she needs to find a way unite it.

    • Jason:

      Our pastor introduced our service last night with a bit of history, telling our congregation about the Church and why Martin Luther felt led to take his stand. He concluded his intro by stating that we could be the Martin Luther of today. I think you are dead on in your comment regarding uniting the Church.

      The point you can make with non-Christians is that it’s not God’s fault that the Church has divisions among it…it’s our fault. The same human nature that causes divisions in this world also causes divisions in the Church. It would be great if all of us could see the right answers, but the Bible does tell us that now “we see in a mirror darkly”, and “the secret things belong to God”…some things we just will not know until we see Him face to face.

      I have learned that disagreements in the Church can be labeled as primary, secondary, and tertiary…there are some things I absolutely will not bend to, and these are doctrinal issues. And, there are some things that fall into secondary or tertiary matters where we can disagree that don’t matter that much. It’s kind of like politics!

      I encourage you, though, to continue to be a witness and a testimony to your non-Christian friends, regardless of how the Church is perceived. Many times, your genuine care, concern, and friendship will show them what the kingdom of God is supposed to look like.

  2. Pingback: 6-String Salvo November 2, 2012 « Mike Lee

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