Many of you may be aware that October 31st marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, where Martin Luther, a German monk, posted ninety-five theses for debate on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
We look to the cross of Christ as the center of history. As Christians, we look at history as moving in a linear direction from creation to consummation, with the cross of Christ and the power of the Gospel as being central to God’s story.
We look back to Martin Luther and the other Reformers not because they came up with something new, but because they rediscovered a message that was buried in tradition, ritual, and performance.
Michael Reeves in his booklet, Freedom Movement, writes; “Five hundred years on, we remember the Reformation because it was not just another call to do better. It was the recovery of a message that has got buried — a world changing message good for all centuries.”
That message of good news is the still the same message we proclaim today. This October we have several opportunities to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
First, our morning messages in October will focus on those five “solas” of the Reformation looking at these great blessings of God.
October 1 — The Blessing of God’s Word.Sola Scriptura
October 8 — The Blessing of Faith Sola Fide
October 15 — The Blessing of GraceSola Gratia
October 22 — The Blessing of Christ Sola Christus
October 29 — To God Alone be the GlorySoli Deo Gloria
Second, in celebration of the Reformation, each October our fellowship meal at the manse has a German theme to remember Martin Luther and the beginnings of Reformation.
Third, we have been invited by our sister church in Westfield to join them on the evening of October 31st for a Reformation Celebration. This begins at 6PM with dinner, followed by the movie Luther (2003), and activities for the whole family.
I hope you will take some time in October to reflect back to the Reformation and the simple things in our faith that you and I take for granted as Christians in the year of our Lord, 2017. Also in the early 1500’s William Tyndale set about his life’s work of translating the Bible from its original Greek and Hebrew into English. At that time it was illegal in England to own or even read such a translation. The penalty was death. The next time you open your Bible, give thanks to God for the courage of those who gave their very lives so that you and I may read and believe the truth of God’s Word.