The Reformation: 500 Years Ago Today

500 years ago today one man changed the course of history.  On October 31st, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses onto the doors of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany thus creating the Protestant Reformation.

A line was now drawn into the sand, and this action caused people to question the authority of the papacy, specifically the Pope.  Why was this important?  Martin Luther brought the most important Truth in humanity to the common man:  Salvation is through faith alone, and there’s nothing you can do to earn it.

Can I share with you some things that are stirring in my heart about this day?  There’s two thoughts that I’m pondering:

1) Martin Luther never expected to be Martin Luther

Long before Martin Luther changed history, he was just a man who was struggling through his own fears about death, expectations people had on him (namely his father), and navigating his world.

Martin Luther wasn’t looking to change history, he was just asking that discussion be opened about the things he was reading in Scripture.  In fact, documentary films would have us believe that when he nailed the theses to the door that it was a dramatic moment of rebellion surrounded by a large crowd.  In fact, this was not a radical moment at all, it was common among the scholars of the day to post theses on the board for public debate and discussion.  It was just one man, doing what he did:  He studied, he worked and he thought.

2) He wasn’t afraid of controversy.

For some people, going against the grain is natural.  For others, it feels as unnatural as stealing money from an elderly person:  An assault to morality.  Luther was a man who wasn’t afraid to question the ruling power of the day, thinking outside the box about everything he had been taught, and asking questions.  The irony here is that when he started diving into Scripture as the sole authority of his foundation, it took him further away from the religious institution and deeper into relationship with God.

I’ve been so excited for Reformation day.  Why? Maybe it’s because two years ago I started processing through difficult questions in my faith.  Do you know what I found?  So much more than I was expecting.  Difficult questions that ran against the grain of what I had been taught growing up proved to be one of the best things I’ve ever done for the life and breath of my faith. Scripture alone will always be the most solid foundation to build on.  Rather than finding a shallow, surface level Christianity, I found a well that is so much deeper than I ever imagined.


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