Christian Living- Happy Reformation Day!
Halloween (October 31) is a very popular event in our country. Many greet each other with a “Happy Halloween.” This is a day where a lot of kids dress up as their favorite character, or something they view as scary, and go house to house in their neighborhood saying, “trick or treat.” Churches and businesses join in the holiday by hosting “Fall Festivals” and “Trunk or Treats” to draw people for a safe and friendly environment. The candy industry finds this holiday as very profitable. In fact, they make a lot of money off this one evening event. Bags and Bags of candy have been bought with expectation for this holiday.
Some Christians recently, including Christian historians and theologians, have emphasized the greeting, “Happy Reformation Day.” It most certainly is not a recent event, but the greeting is used to remind people of the important event that happened many years ago.
What is Reformation Day?
Writing for Ligonier Ministries, Robert Rothwell says, “On October 31, much of the culture will be focused on candy and things that go bump in the night. Protestants, however, have something far more significant to celebrate on October 31. It’s Reformation day, which commemorates what was perhaps the greatest move of God’s Spirit since the days of the Apostles.”
October 31, 1517 is etched in history as the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Martin Luther had become disgusted by the abuses he saw from the Church of Rome. For example, the selling of indulgences, which is, papal authority to forgive people’s sins, (past, present, and future) because they paid a price or donated money to the church. These kinds of things upset Luther greatly.
Due to his anger, Stephen Nichols says, “Martin Luther, a scholar, took quill in hand, dipped it in his inkwell and penned his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. These were intended to spark a debate, to stir some soul-searching among his fellow brothers in the church. The 95 Theses sparked far more than a debate. The 95 Theses also revealed the church was far beyond rehabilitation. It needed a reformation. The church, and the world, would never be the same.” Inevitably, Christianity would be affected by this great event and by great men like Luther who stood up for Christ and against the theological errors of his day. He had a passion for God and for truth. In doing so, it paved the way for others after him to fight for truth. Moreover, the Bible was printed and put into the hands of the people and missionary endeavors increased over time.
What is Reformation Day and why is it important? Nichols answers, ” It is the day the light of the gospel broke forth out of darkness. It was the day that began the Protestant Reformation. It was a day that led to Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and may other Reformers helping the church find its way back to God’s Word as the only authority for faith and life and leading the church back to the glorious doctrines of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It kindled the fires of missionary endeavors, it led to hymn writing and congregational singing, and it led to the centrality of the sermon and preaching for the people of God. It is the celebration of a theological, ecclesiastical, and cultural transformation.”
May we remember the theological battles fought and the blessings we have because of it.
What Is Reformation Day All About? By Robert Rothwell.
What Is Reformation Day? By Stephen Nicols