A Historic Day: 500 Years Since the Start of the Reformation
500 years ago today, Martin Luther nailed a scholarly work entitled “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences," or widely known as the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
The Roman Catholic Church had been selling certificates of forgiveness, or indulgences. Basically, the church was claiming that they could transfer some of the good deeds the saints had done in the past to the sinner, granting them forgiveness. Ultimately, Luther was asking the pope and the leaders of the church to repent because of what Luther had read and understood to be true from Scripture.
Luther's these launched the Reformation era, where the Roman Catholic Church was split (in many ways) and the beliefs many evangelical Christians hold today became the forefront. From this movement, we have the five Reformation solas:
- Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
- Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
- Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
- Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
- Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
(Definitions from this article)
500 years ago, a man took a stand against the powers that be, asking for them to return to Scripture and be moved and shaped by it, and that moment of obedience to the Holy Spirit has changed what the Church looks like today. Through reading Scripture, we know that through faith in Jesus alone by the grace of God, Jesus becomes our Savior, rescuing us from sin and death and giving us the Holy Spirit to help us live for the glory of God alone. May God continue to reform our hearts and actions to His Word.
Today, every decision I make is made on the belief that these things are true: That everything Scripture teaches is true; that all roads don't lead to salvation, but there is only salvation through faith in Jesus because of God's great grace that He showed by sending Him to earth; that each moment should be governed by a desire to honor God with our lives. Luther may have nailed his thoughts to the door of a church so that the pope would be sure to read it, but it holds weight today, 500 years later.
Here are a couple great articles about the Reformation:
Luther’s Ninety-five Theses: What You May Not Know and Why They Matter Today
The Gospel Coalition Reformation 500 Statement
4 Ways the Reformation Changed the Church
Reformation 500: Top 10 Articles