Protestant Reformation

Date

Oct 7, 2017

Sermon Series

Reformation

The Reformation should not only be the believer’s past but also his/her present and future. “Return to Scripture” should be the cry of God’s follower as long as there is breath. May this be our challenge: conform not to the world, rather be transformed by the renewing of our mind as we engage with God’s Word. And as we are transformed, may our church be ever-reformed and reforming!

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This year is a special year for Christianity! Five hundred years ago this month Martin Luther nailed his infamous 95 Theses onto the Castle Church in Wittenberg,Germany. This one act created a domino effect that led to religious, intellectual and even political upheaval within Europe.The Church was to lose its monopoly over determining eternal destinies. Laypeople, along with clergy, could read and interpret the Word of God. “Righteousness by faith” and “sola scriptura” were the cries of these reformers. A movement would be started that claimed that it was NOT what you did that earned a place at God’s table, rather the grace extended by God’s loving arm. The culmination of this “reformation” was somewhere between the late 16th and early 17th centuries, yet the effects of this movement is felt to this day. 

Context: after the fall of the Roman Empire there was a vacuum of institutional power that the Roman Catholic Church gladly filled. This “new” institution followed with unrivaled dominance for over a millennium. Like the Roman Empire, the RCC had its hands in politics and international domination. This dominance was mostly supported by the hierarchy of the clergy over the laymen. Only the clergy could rightly interpret the Scriptures and traditions of the Church. And only the clergy could determine who was worthy of heaven. The eternal destinies of all people were determined by the Church. But unlike the Roman Empire, “taxes” were not collected. Instead other means of revenue were imposed. Along with the enforced tithes/offerings that were regularly taken, indulgences (eternal salvation could be expedited by worldly works, which often resulted in monetary payouts) and icons (a sacred art piece) were sold to insure a closer connection to holiness.

As one can see, things needed to change. God’s reputation was on the line and His people were being manipulated. It was time for the Spirit of the Lord to raise up a people to stand for His Word. The Protestant Reformation was the result. But the reformation was not the culmination of a Holy Spirit rising, rather the beginning of a movement that was to gain momentum till the return of Jesus. The Reformation should not only be the believer’s past but also his/her present and future. “Return to Scripture” should be the cry of God’s follower as long as there is breath. May this be our challenge: conform not to the world, rather be transformed by the renewing of our mind as we engage with God’s Word. And as we are transformed, may our church be ever-reformed and reforming!

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