31
Oct
08

Remember the Reformation!

     It was 491 years ago to the day that Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, posted his 95 thesis on a church door in the university town of Wittenberg. This would soon become the talk of the town and eventually lead into a dispute over the truth of scripture between these so-called “Protestants” and the governing Catholic Church during the 16th century. I just want to take this time to remind Christians and myself of the great heroes of the faith that God has so graciously raised up during in time past. Consider this list of people who have contributed to the faith tremendously:

1. John Wycliffe- lived almost 200 years before the Reformation, but his beliefs and teachings closely match those of Luther, Calvin and other Reformers. As a man ahead of his time, historians have called Wycliffe the ‘Morning star of the Reformation.

2. John Huss- was a religious thinker and reformer. He initiated a religious movement based on the ideas of John Wycliffe. His followers became known as Hussites. The Catholic Church did not condone such uprisings, and Hus was excommunicated in 1411, condemned by the Council of Constance, and burned at the stake.

3.  Martin Luther- was a German theologian, an Augustinian monk, and an ecclesiastical reformer whose teachings inspired the Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines and culture of the Lutheran and Protestant traditions.

4. Huldreich Zwingli- was the leader of the Swiss Reformation, and founder of the Swiss Reformed Churches. Independent from Martin Luther, Zwingli arrived at similar conclusions in his own personal study of the Scriptures.

5. John Calvin- was a prominent French theologian during the Protestant Reformation and the father of the theological system known as Calvinism. Martin Luther and Calvin are arguably the most significant architects of the Reformation.

6. John Knox- was a Scottish religious reformer who was the leading figure in reforming the Church in Scotland in Presbyterianism.

(All these were taken from Theopeida’s website and for more information on each, click here)

     While these are just a handful of men, there were many faithful and loyal men and women who put there time in and supporte the Reformation. Along with great men, came great teachings that as Christians we should all be familiar with. As the Reformation progressed there were five Latin phrases that emerged to sum up the basic beliefs of the reformers. They are known as the “Five Solas of the Reformation” with sola meaning “alone”. All of us would do well to be reminded of them:

1. Sola Fide- By Faith alone. It is faith alone in Jesus that saves us. (Romans 1: 17 and Ephesians 2: 8-10).

2. Sola Scriptura- In Scripture alone. This is the teaching that Scripture is the Church’s only infallible and sufficient rule for deciding issues of faith and practices that involve doctrines. (Psalms 138: 2 and 2 Timothy 3: 14-17).

3. Solus Christus- In Christ alone. This means that Jesus is the exclusive mediator between God the Father and man. (John 14: 6 and Hebrews 12: 24).

4. Sola Gratia- By Grace alone. This means that salvation comes by Grace only and not by Good works. (Ephesians 2: 8-10 and Ephesians 1: 3-8)

5.  Soli Deo Gloria- To God be all the Glory! God is the one who has done all the work, we have done nothing to obtain salvation but it was God who worked through Jesus Christ and now by the Holy Spirit who is making us more like Christ every day. (1 Peter 4: 11 and Ephesians 3: 21).

     These five basic teachings go along way when talking Christian theology. I would encourage each of you to consider what the Reformation was about and study the important figures closely. Apart from all this historical and theological knowledge, we must remember one thing; even though, this is a basic outline of the Reformation, there is one person who no matter what gets all the credit. His name is Jesus. Jesus Christ is our Savior, Salvation, Mediator, High Priest, God the Son, our love, and our Joy forever! We must also remember that the entirety of Scripture is based around the person of Christ. Jesus is the one the Old Testament prophets and kings were waiting for. Jesus is the one who people from the New Testament forward is looking back to for our hope. I pray that as today progresses that you would consider the focus of the Reformation and the point of Scripture that lets us continually know that Jesus is our one, true, and living Savior!

For more information on the Reformation, please consider these websites:

www.theopedia.com

www.monergism.com

 http://www.fivesolas.com

                       

 

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