Thursday 19 October 2017

Remembering the Reformation in its 500th Anniversary Year

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; Psalm 78:1-7

It is remarkable how silent the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church are this year, regarding the anniversary of the 500th year of the Reformation. That is, since Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Saxony. There are five principles of the early Reformation which are called the five Solas meaning "alone" in Latin. There are that salvation is:

Scripture Alone
Faith Alone
Grace Alone
Christ Alone
To the Glory of God Alone

However, the further work of the Reformation in the succeeding generation was far more than that. John Calvin and others sought to work out the early implications of the Reformation, which then led to the church's worship, doctrine and church government being subjected to the scrutiny of the Word of God. Psalm 78 as cited above, exhorts us to pass on the history of the church as revealed in the Bible, to future generations. This also includes the history of the church from the last 2000 years.

One of the momentous events that was guided by the Holy Spirit, occurred 500 years ago. This Reformation has not led to the perfection of the church to bring in her into a perfect state in this world; that will have to wait until heaven. But, the gospel has been liberated and taken out of the hands of the Roman Catholic Church. Everyone who professes Jesus Christ, then needs to be guided by "Scripture Alone", and not simply holding a bunch of private interpretations. This was the purpose of the Westminster assembly, in order to pen down precise statements of doctrine, for the church to subscribe to uniform doctrine.

For those who may be interested, there are some very helpful talks/lectures on the Reformation from a recent UK based conference called Ref500. Here is the link to them:

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