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Blog-Why-do-we-celebrate-the-reformation-10.31.17Happy Reformation 500 Day!

Five hundred years ago today Martin Luther (1483-1546) started whats known as the Reformation on October 31, 1517, when he posted his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. I’ve written more about Luther and the Reformation here and here.

Why should Baptist care?

Over this past month several people have asked me why they should care about or celebrate the reformation since many Baptists would say that they were not part of the reformation. Great question.

Historical Context

Luther was not the first one to protest against the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Many preceded him in this protest and were also persecuted.[1] However, Luther started a reformation that would sweep through the entire continent by God’s grace.

Could he have done more? Sure.
Was some of his theology much different than Baptist theology? Yes.
Did he and other Reformers stand by when some Anabaptist were persecuted both verbally and physically?  Sadly yes.
In fact, many of the Reformers had incredible character flaws.

In what do we celebrate?

We must be clear though in what we celebrate. We do not celebrate a man or a group of men, although we may certainly appreciate their place in history. The only man we celebrate is the God-man Jesus Christ.  However, we rejoice in the outcome by God’s grace of this man, Luther, and many others including the Anabaptists who moved us closer to the faithful proclamation of God’s Word.  Whereas they were not the only voices in their day, beginning with Luther and following with many other Reformers, the voices became much louder for the faith.

I agree with Scott Hubbard who wrote, “Through these Reformers, God opposed proud rulers, unmasked depraved priests, and recovered for the world the happy news that God justifies sinners by grace alone, on the basis of Christ’s righteousness alone, through faith alone, for the glory of God alone, as taught with decisive authority in Scripture alone.”

Enjoy the 500th Anniversary Celebration!

We celebrate the person and gospel of Jesus Christ.
We celebrate the power of the Scriptures to engage hearts in the past and today.
We celebrate the Word of God is for the people.
We celebrate the faithfulness of men and women over the centuries.
We celebrate that grace alone is at the heart of the Christian life.
We celebrate that faith alone saves.
We celebrate that Scripture alone exclusively maintains authority.
We celebrate that Jesus Christ alone provides salvation.
We celebrate that God deserves the glory alone.

[1] The Anabaptist Story by W.R. Estep

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