Don't Celebrate Reformation Day Until You Know These 10 Things
Bethany Blankley | ReligionToday.com Contributor
One man, Martin Luther, stood alone against an empire. His motivation was spiritual, but the outcome of his conviction was spiritual and political, leaving a global legacy 500 years later and celebrated this October 31st.
Unbeknownst to even himself, Luther completely upended the current religious system. He initially sought to clarify church doctrine and reform it from within. Despite attempts on his life and retaliation and persecution, his persistence led to one of the most significant events in history that quite literally changed political and religious institutions forever.
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1. At the time of the Reformation, the Church ruled all.
The Roman Catholic Church/Empire waged war against numerous countries for thousands of years. Its popes initiated seven out of the nine Crusades, one of which was solely against the Byzantine Empire, which subsequently hastened its catastrophic end in AD 1453. The Roman Catholic Church imposed taxes on everyone except its clergy. Its bishops ruled with an iron scepter, collecting taxes, and torturing and imprisoning those who couldn't pay. The church regulated nearly all areas of life, including literacy. Its edicts were in Latin; no bibles existed in anyone's native language.
Reeling from watching starving peasants buy indulgences for their salvation from his wealthy colleagues, Martin Luther delved deeper into the New Testament book of Romans. Un-coincidentally, the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians living under the same empire as Luther roughly 1,500 years before. His discovery led to repeated questioning and challenges about the political and religious system imposed by the church, an agonizing realization that he could no longer dedicate his life to what he had previously, and a new found faith in salvation through Christ alone.
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2. One verse helped shape the Reformation.
3. His motivation was spiritual, but the outcome was political -- which reverberated worldwide.
4. "Sola Scriptura" means 3 things:
5. "Sola Fide" and "Sola Gratia" are about faith and grace.
6. "Sola Christus" means that saving faith in Christ is enough.
7. Martin Luther argued for "the theology of the cross."
8. Luther also argued that no distinction between secular or sacred vocations could exist (Soli Deo Gloria)
9. You can have immediate access to God, personally serve God, and intercede for others.
10. The legacy of singing in church traces back to Luther.