As you know, Martin Luther nailed his “95 thesis” on the Wittenberg Chapel door on October 31, 1517 marking the symbolic beginning of the Reformation … we owe a great debt to the Reformers.
For many centuries the world was bound by a man-centered, godless religion. The ‘Dark Ages’ were a time of true spiritual darkness, yet God was clearly working his purposes even during that time. We believe that even then there remained a vibrant remnant of believers who faithfully kept the faith! In God’s good providence the technology was developed whereby the Bible and other God-honoring literature could be printed for the people. God used “means,” that is, He used technology (the printing press) and the desire of the reformers to create a great literacy movement that changed the world!
As men and women had the opportunity to read and study the Word for themselves they began to question the religious hierarchy of the day. The most significant questions were about the nature of salvation: “Does man initiate or earn salvation through his/her own effort? Is Jesus ‘waiting’ for us to do our part before granting us grace? Or is God truly sovereign even over our salvation?” As the people read and understood the scriptures, and as the Lord gave them spiritual understanding, they rejected the man-centered theology that had kept them captive for so long.
By the mercy of God they were no longer bound to an endless treadmill of trying to be good enough to please God and the bondage of ‘purchasing’ salvation through a system built by the traditions of men … their consciences were now held captive to the revealed and objective Word of God: the Holy Bible.
The current situation is in many ways similar – our culture has forgotten the reformers, embraced weak sentimentality, and elevated ‘experience’ above the written Word. Many find themselves in churches where the Word is neither preached nor read. They are in need of a modern reformation bringing hearts and minds under submission to the Word!
The advent of Christ was undoubtedly the most significant event of history. I believe the Reformation was the second most important event. We never want to presume upon the mercy of God – we should pray and work for this new reformation while at all times giving thanks to the Father, from whom all light proceeds.