Today the Christian Church celebrates the Festival of the Reformation of the Church. What does that mean?
The effect of the Lutheran Reformation of the church on the history of the world can hardly be overstated. Quite simply, it caused one of the most profound sea-changes in history. In fact, when US News and World Report ranked the most important events of the last 1000 years, the Lutheran Reformation placed second, right behind Gutenberg’s moveable type printing press. Now consider that for a moment… That means that they considered the Lutheran Reformation to be of greater significance than the discovery of the New World (North America), which was number three.
But why? Who was this Luther guy? He was a monk, a priest, and a professor at a little university in Wittenberg, Germany. Why would a guy like that be listed as the third most influential person of the last 1000 years (1000 Years and 1000 People, Gottlieb and Bowers). More important than Einstein, Edison, or George Washington?
Why? During the dark days of the Middle Ages, the truth of God’s Word was hidden away in monasteries. The Church of that day was not teaching that we are saved by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Instead, people were told that they needed to try and earn their way to heaven—or worse, that they had to buy their way to heaven. The truth of God’s Word was rejected, and the traditions of men put in its place.
Dr. Luther changed all of that on October 31st, 1517, when he nailed 95 Statements for Debate on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. He said that the Bible should be our only source of teaching, not man-made traditions. He showed that God saved us by grace alone, by faith alone. He returned the Bible into the hands of the people and quite literally changed the world.
Today, we are not here to celebrate a man, but what God did through a man. We’re here to celebrate the grace of a God who reformed his Church, and brought back the pure and simple teaching that had been lost: Jesus died and rose for me, so I will be in heaven forever. Period.
By Grace Alone. By Faith Alone. By Scripture Alone.