Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Let's Celebrate for the Right Reasons
Most people who are celebrating the last day of October are doing it because it's Halloween.
I prefer to celebrate for a reason which has much more eternal value. October 31st, 1517 is the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. This was one of the first acts in the Protestant Reformation.
What would our lives be like if not for God's move in the hearts of certain men 500 years ago? We should thank the Lord for raising up the Reformers. Some we should be thankful for include:
Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk, defied the church by rejecting the practice of indulgences. His 95 theses was just one of the first reforms he tried to put in place. Luther was a key figure in pointing to scripture as our primary source of authority. He proclaimed that salvation comes through the grace of God alone. He rejected most Catholic sacraments. Luther wrote many important documents including the On the Bondage of the Will. He also translated the bible into German.
John Calvin, the French Reformer, was the greatest theologian of the 1500's. Calvin wrote volumes on almost every book of the bible. His Institutes of the Christian Religion formed the first Protestant systematic theology. This work has great impact on the way we view theology even today.
William Tyndale, an Englishman, was a key figure for those of us who speak English. Tyndale was the first man to translate and then print the New Testament in the English language. His version had a great impact on the KJV. For his work, Tyndale was "rewarded" by being strangled and then burned at the stake.
Although the above three men stand out to me, there were certainly many others who at least deserve mention: John Wycliffe, John Huss, Ulrich Zwingli, Balthasar Hubmaier, Menno Simons, and John Knox.
We owe God great thanks for turning us back to His Word, at least in part, through the Reformers.