Last night I scrolled through my The Outspoken TULIP Facebook page as well as my personal Facebook page. On both pages, I had asked if people had thoughts about Reformation Day. Nobody responded.
I understand why many people on my personal page ignored my question. Those who are Catholic probably consider the Reformation to be a negative event, and I’d expect them to hold that perspective. My friends and family members who don’t really attend church or live according to Scriptural principles were more interested in Halloween, which again didn’t surprise me.
The silence of my Charismatic and evangelical friends shouldn’t have surprised me. Until three or four years ago, I remained indifferent to the Reformation myself. The churches I attended never said much about it.
That void left me with vague memories of discussing it in the political science class I took as a college freshman. Since I went to a college largely affiliated with the Catholic Church, of course, my professor (unashamedly a devout Catholic) didn’t exactly present the narrative in favorable terms. He seemed to believe that Martin Luther’s chronic struggle with constipation warped him into such a malcontent that he rebelled against Rome simply out of response to his discomfort. Amusing theory, perhaps, but certainly dismissive of a major event in history!
Thankfully, in recent years the Lord has drawn me into Reformed Theology, as well as into a church that includes Church History in its Adult Sunday School program. He’s graciously used that Sunday School class and a variety of blogs, podcasts and YouTube videos to help me understand the theological stakes of the Reformation and Reformed Theology.
It’s not a result of a German monk’s bowel problems, folks.
Yesterday marked 499 years since Luther tacked his 95 Theses to the door of Whittenburg Castle Church, an act commonly regarded as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. It may help if we think of it as analogous to America’s Declaration of Independence (although Luther never intended to break from the Roman Catholic Church). If, therefore, we call yesterday the 499th birthday of the Reformation, we’ve now entered the 500th year.
The Outspoken TULIP will be focusing on the Reformation and the Reformers a little more during this coming year than it has in the past (I dropped the ball last year and never did write about John Calvin). Yes, I know most people find history boring, so please pray for me to present this stuff in an engaging way. It’s important to understand the Reformation in order to appreciate the doctrines of Biblical Christianity because the Reformation restored those doctrines to us. And Jude commands that we fight to preserve sound doctrine.
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. ~~Jude 3 (ESV)