Whether you go trick-or-treating or not, tonight is a great opportunity to curl up with the kids in the den with some cozy blankets and hot chocolate and watch a movie or documentary about some of the great Reformers.
Several years ago I couldn’t have told you that there were Five Solas of the Reformation, much less what they were. I’d certainly never heard of Reformation Day, or that it was even something that Christians could, or should, celebrate.
Thankfully, through our family’s homeschooling journey, the Lord has been gracious in putting individuals in my life who have been able to teach me so much, enabling me to bring up my son with a far greater knowledge regarding theology and Biblical history than I had when I was growing up. I had never heard of anyone actually celebrating Martin Luther’s igniting of the flame of the Reformation, but in recent years, we began celebrating it in our own family.
Part of celebrating the Reformation, of course, is knowing and remembering what the contributions of the Reformers, by God’s Providential Hand, has meant, and continues to mean, for the Church.
It could be said that their various contributions over a span of several decades can be summed up in the Five Solas, which mark a return to the core tenets of the Christian faith that by the 16th century had become quite obscured, or corrupted altogether over many centuries by Roman authority and “church tradition.”
Although some might dismiss it as a lucky coincedence that Gutenberg’s original printing press was invented just a little more than a half a century before Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg in 1517, any Christian should clearly see God’s Providential Hand in the matter.
Could the Reformation have even happened were it not for the printing press?
Consider just the simple act of translating the Bible into the language of the common people. Rome deemed it a crime to translate the Latin Vulgate Bible into any other tongue. The pope was uneasy about allowing the Word of God to be in the hands of the people, as they might begin to develop ideas different from those wielded by Rome.
For example, when William Tyndale completed his first English translation of the Bible in 1535 (less than a century after the invention of the Gutenberg press), drawing from Greek and Hebrew texts (rather than simply translating from the Latin Vulgate as had been done in bits and pieces in earlier centuries), Rome branded him a heretic, put him on trial, and ultimately burned him at the stake. Continue reading “Gutenberg, Reformation and the Internet”
The mere phrase causes many to giggle, or perhaps just look at the self-identified “born again Christian” a little, well, differently. Sadly, this happens even within the Church at large.
Yes, the term “born again Christian” is often used, typically refering someone who, as an adult, or perhaps a teenager, came to understand and believe the Gospel message, repented of their sins and believed in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Others who have been raised in the Church their whole lives and yet have never had that “born again” experience might not feel that they need to be “born again,” as they feel as though they’ve been Christians their whole lives, that they’re in Church every Sunday, so being “born again” is just for sinners who repent and come to believe in Jesus. Continue reading “Did you decide to be “born again?””
In 2 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul is telling us about the “thorn” in his flesh, a messenger from Satan that would torment him to keep him from becoming conceited from the “surpassing greatness of the revelations” he was receiving from the Lord. He said:
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor 12:8-9)
One over-arching theme of the Reformation was a simple, but crucial, fact:
God’s grace is sufficient to save.
The teachings of the Roman Church at the time leading up to, and including the Reformation, greatly focused on works, treating the Christian faith much in the same way the Pharisees had treated their own ideas of righteousness and justification — as though it were some checklist to be completed. Continue reading “Reformation: The Sufficiency of God’s Grace”
Ghosts… Jack-o-Lanterns… Scream-fest movie marathons?
What about Martin Luther?
“Who?” you might say. “How does the Civil Rights movement fit in with Halloween?”
It doesn’t. But that would be a common response from so many Americans unfamiliar with history.
They hear Martin Luther and they immediately think of, “I had a dream….”
So many couldn’t identify an image of Martin Luther (not Martin Luther King, Jr.), much less say anything about who he was or the Reformation of which he played a pivotal role in sparking. Sadly, even large numbers of those identified as Christians in the United States would be at a loss to say much, if anything, about Luther.
It would be equally surprising to many that October 31st is the day in 1517 upon which the fire was hotly kindled to begin purifying the Church through the Protestant Reformation, when Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenburg, Germany.
This anecdote was posted as part of a casual thread on Facebook.
It all began with Pastor Bud Powell posting the following Scripture verse:
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor 4:3-4)
Although it might be difficult to believe, particularly considering all of the negative news that comes out of Mexico (regarding drug cartels, violence, immigration challenges, etc.), God is working mightily among His people there.
One ministry through which He has been doing amazing work is Vida Nueva Ministries, founded by Mike and Pam Richardson.
I conducted an interview with Mike Richardson and was blessed to learn of the work that God is enabling his ministry to accomplish in the midst of numerous challenges — from financial issues to health struggles. (Read more about this in this Vida Nueva Ministries Testimony Letter from 2005. Also, please see an update to the letter at the end of this interview.)