500th Anniversary of Luther’s Reformation
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of Martin Luther’s debate with the Catholic Church. His objective was initially to make reforms within that Church. But over several years of accusation and counter-accusation, Luther refined his theology, ultimately, rejecting Papal authority. Facing a death penalty at the “Diet of Worms” trial in 1521, Luther remained staunchly committed to his own understanding of “sola scriptura.” Luther’s reformation began to sow the seeds that produced the Protestant Reformation. But there have been other reformers in the history of the people of God.
Jehu, a Zealous Reformer.
Jehu, an army general in the time of King Ahab, mirrored Luther’s zeal for God. He too was repulsed by the religious practices of his day. So when God anointed Jehu to be king and rid the land of false worship he was quick to comply. Jehu enlisted the help of others to remove the scourge of Baal worship. While he took steps to eradicate the lineage of Ahab and Jezebel. His initial zeal and partial obedience to God’s instructions had some benefits. Yet much was left unfinished, and this allowed Israel to embrace the corrupt religious practices that had begun with Jeroboam. There were consequence’s of Jehu’s unfinished reformation, just as there have been consequences of Luther’s reformation.
Sola Scriptura, Faith, Works and Unfinished Reformations
Ancient Israel was sent into exile as a result of embracing the syncretistic religion that Jehu endorsed. It was a religion of partial obedience. He was willing to blend the worship of the God of Israel with other unscriptural traditions. Jehu’s reforms were unfinished and insufficient. Likewise, Luther’s reformation, though it freed people from some false ideas, it also remained unfinished and insufficient. Being steeped in Augustinian thought, Luther was unable to harmonize his “sola scriptura” approach with his Catholic ideas of predestination. He could not reconcile his views of faith without works, with the Apostle James’ writings, so he called the book of James an “Epistle of Straw.” Luther’s reformation and his rejection of James words that, “Faith without works is dead” has had lasting effects on the Protestant world.
A Changed Christianity
Why there is a need for a future reformation