Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Protestant Reformation At 500: So Much Recovered, So Much More To Reform

Happy Reformation Day!

So many others have written far more comprehensively and eloquently about the significance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation that I don't feel the need to embarrass myself by rewriting more poorly what others have already written. What I mostly am today is thankful.

Thankful that I have the Bible translated and readily available in my own language (which coincidentally is not 17th century Olde English). Thankful that because of that I can know that I don't need to impress God with my own self-serving and feeble attempts to be righteous. Thankful that I know the church is the community of the redeemed being equipped for the work of ministry, not a dispenser and controller of "grace". Thankful that no human being has the right or authority to stand between me and my Lord. Thankful that salvation is freely offered to all and is not something to be purchased by the rich. Thankful that the Lord Himself is allowed to be the head of His own church.

It was an imperfect, incomplete Reformation led by imperfect and often deeply flawed men but then again the apostles were flawed men as well. There was so much accomplished and recovered and renewed by the Reformers, Magisterial and Radical alike, but there remains much work to be done before the Lord returns and nowhere is that more true than in the church. It is the task of every believer, and especially the brethren, to continue to reform the church to restore her to a family of God that is ready for the harsh days which are to come.

We must never lose sight of what was once almost lost and what was recovered at such great cost during the Reformation and never trade that for a false ecumenical unity or abandon it at the demand of the world. Far from being irrelevant today, the principles of the Reformation are every bit as desperately needed today as they were in Wittenberg 500 years ago.

Sola Gratia 

Sola Fide 

Solus Christus

Sola Scriptura  

Soli Deo Gloria

Let that be our battle cry. By grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone under the authority of the Scriptures alone for the glory of God alone.

Thank you Lord for that obscure monk Martin Luther who five hundred years ago took a bold if unwitting step and in doing so changed the world forever. May we who are in our own ways his successors live lives worthy of the sacrifice of Luther and so many others to hold fast to the truth of the Gospel over this half millennium.

Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda

"the reformed church must always be reformed"

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