I had heard of the Protestant Reformation but knew very little about it. I thought it had something to do with John Calvin and the call for the Catholic Church to stop doing some of the things they were doing in the name of their faith. I also thought it was a call for the Catholic Church to repent and go back to following the words of Scripture. I was under the impression that knowing the whole story was not very important. How wrong I was!
I received a blog post about the Protestant Reformation and its importance to us today. So I read it. I am glad I did. I also looked at other information concerning the Reformation and, again, was amazed at how it seriously changed the course of Church history.
I would like to pass on the information I discovered for those that are (were) like I was and did not know what it was all about and its importance. I will just give the “cliff notes” of what I learned but will add website addresses so you can read more detailed information if you are interested.
Reading about a subject, studying it, and then posting what I discovered is a way that helps me retain what I study. So, to those that already know about what I am posting (this includes any of my articles), I thank you for being patient when I post “old news”.
INFORMATION ON THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION
It was on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his list of 95 grievances against the Catholic Church for unbiblical doctrines and practices to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
His purposes included his wish to bring these concerns to light and to have a public discussion on these concerns. And, there were plenty of discussions in and around Europe after that posting!
In November of 1518 The Pope condemned Luther’s writings as conflicting with the teachings of the Church. One year later a series of commissions were convened to examine Luther’s teachings. The First Papal commission found them to be heretical, but the Second Papal commission merely stated that Luther’s writings were “scandalous and offensive to pious ears.” Finally, in July 1520 Pope Leo X issued a papal bull (public decree) that concluded that Luther’s propositions were heretical and gave Luther 120 days to recant in Rome. Luther refused to recant, and on January 3, 1521 Pope Leo excommunicated Martin Luther from the Catholic Church.
After Luther refused to recant, his writings were ordered to be burned. He then hid in the town of Eisenach and for the next 10 years he translated the New Testament into the German language.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Luther’s writings were extremely important and influenced people and church doctrine then and now. They also created divisions in the Catholic Church and sparked what now is known as The Protestant Reformation.
Some of his core teachings are that he taught that the Bible is the central force of religious authority and salvation is by faith and not by deeds.
Some of his writings were very controversial at that time and still are. Even so, they led to significant religious reform while also causing divisions.
His teachings also inspired a call for reform and it spread quickly throughout Europe, inspiring church fathers to join the effort in their own locales. These included:
Ulrich Zwingli (http://www.ligonier.org/blog/zurich-revolutionary-ulrich-zwingli/), Zurich,
John Calvin (https://www.biography.com/people/john-calvin-9235788) Geneva,
John Knox (https://michellelesleybooks.com/2016/05/02/the-mailbag-give-me-church-ladies-or-i-die/) (Scotland)
As they worked to address the issues raised in Luther’s document, these men established what we know today as the “Five Solas of the Reformation,” the basis of Protestant church doctrine. The five Solas are:
Sola Scriptura- Scripture alone is the basis for all church doctrine, belief, and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Sola Gratia– Salvation is by grace alone. It is a unmerited gift of God based solely on His goodness, not our own (because we don’t have any). (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Sola Fide– Salvation is through faith alone. Faith is a gift bestowed by God. We are saved only by placing that faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross, not by doing good works or by any other attempts to earn salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Solus Christus- Salvation is found in Christ alone. As Acts 4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Soli Deo Gloria– God saves man for God’s glory alone, and believers are to live lives to glorify Him alone. (Romans 11:36)
Sadly, today many people that claim to be Christ-followers no longer practice the doctrine Christ gave us and the five Solas. Popular today are the notions of: “name it and claim it”, God wants us to be wealthy and happy, and we need to FEEL God and hear His actual voice. We treasure our own personal feelings, opinions, and life experiences. And success is measured by how many books you’ve sold, the number of attendees at your mega church or conferences, and the size of your audience on social media. Churches strive for glitz, glam, hype, and bling to get people in the door. We want to be cutting edge, relevant, and attritional. And as one megachurch pastor put it, “we put too much emphasis on Scripture” so the actual teaching and reading of Scripture (as we are told to do) is a thing of the past in many churches.
I, for one, have read, believed and seen Scripture coming alive in front of my eyes when it tells me:
- False teachers will invade our churches (Jude 1:4)
- People will fall away from sound teaching as they want to hear what will tickle their ears (2 Tim. 4:3-4)
- People will see and believe in false miracles done by Satan himself as he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
- People will believe and follow false prophets and be deceived (Romans 16:17-18)
And all this will be done because people will not do what Scripture tells us to do! As told in… 1 Thess. 5:21-22 “ Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
To read more about the Protestant Reformation check out the following web sites;
95 Theses; http.wwwtheopedia.com95theses
The Five Solas of the Protestant Deformation; http//bereanresearch.org/five-solas-protestant-deformation
Five Questions and the Five Solas; http//thecripplegate.com/5-questions-and-the-5-solas/
What is Protestant Reformation Day; https;//michellelesleybooks.com/2016/10/31/the-mailbag-what-is-reformation-day/