October 28, 2013
What The Reformation Did For Christianity - Bruce Atchison
It seems that almost everybody forgets the significance of the revolution which Martin Luther started on October 31, 1519 with his ninety-five theses. Ask any churchgoer about what the last day of October means and that person will most likely say, "Halloween." I feel this is a pity since the Reformation gave us Christians so much.
First of all, the Reformation gave the Bible back to the congregation. The heads of the Catholic church feared that a flood of iniquity would be unleashed if each person could interpret Scripture themselves. While it has spawned hundreds of denominations and sects, having the Bible in the hands of the people restored the gospel and placed Scripture in its rightful place as the yardstick of truth.
It also showed the people what a cash cow indulgences were. Christians indwelt with the Holy Spirit are supposed to be dead to sin. Therefore, they shouldn't be buying permission to practice it.
The Reformation likewise broke up the monopoly which the church had on spiritual leadership. Instead of being dominated by traditions and fiats from Rome, Christians were free to appoint their own pastors and teachers. They could also pray directly to their Lord and Saviour instead of to the saints. Sins could be confessed directly to God as well.
This new freedom didn't come without a price. History records hundreds of years of bloody Catholic-Protestant wars and campaigns of slander. Additionally, the level of detestation of sacrimentalism has become so severe in some quarters that churches neglect Holy Communion and believer's baptism. Worse yet, cults have sprung up to lead naive believers astray and indoctrinate them with blasphemous lies. Though Martin Luther was warned by clerics that this would happen, he saw the greater good of people being saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
As we near the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, let's remember how it freed people from superstition and works-righteousness slavery. Let's enjoy our freedom in Christ and do good works from our salvation, not for it. Thanks to the Reformation, Bibles are no longer chained to pulpits and written in a language that had gone out of use for hundreds of years.
Bruce Atchison is a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of How I Was Razed, Deliverance from Jericho, and When a Man Loves a Rabbit. He lives in a small Alberta hamlet with his house rabbit, Deborah.