2017: Reformation’s 500th Anniversary
What Has the Church learned in 500 Years?
Martin Luther in his conflict with the Catholic hierarchy, began a reformation that popularized the phrase, “Sola scriptura,” by scripture alone. And yet his life and example did not fully reflect his words. His intent may have been to “renovate” the Catholic church by removing superstition and ignorance, and aligning their practices more closely with scripture. But, history reveals the cracks in the church facade were more than cosmetic. And the results of Luther’s 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Church door was neither freedom nor unity for Christians.
What Sets Christians Free?
Though the Reformation’s 5ooth anniversary should be marked by a call to embrace the beginning precept of “sola scriptura” the reality has been quite the opposite. Doctrinal discord abounds. Yet, the scriptures are clear. What sets us free from the shackles of ignorance and sin is the truth. The New Testament writers all spoke of “alethia,” the true reality of things. They knew where truth was to be found by those who had the desire to search it out. In our world where “fake news” can be distributed widely on social media, some prefer illusion to reality. But as Christians our motto should be to, “live by every word of God.” Your word is truth and a Christian knows where to find the truth.
Our Source of Unity
During the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, one must acknowledge that disunity has been a major factor. This was not Luther’s intent, but the disunity began early and has lasted for centuries. So, how are those who have been personally chosen by Christ, who have been called apart for God’s service, to attain unity? God calls us to unity through the spirit. But God only gives the spirit to those who obey him — those who have moral courage, personal integrity, and a grateful heart. Are we like Peter and the early apostles unified in our faith and our hope? Will we stand up for our belief and say in unity of spirit, “We must obey God rather than men?”
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