500th Anniversary of the Reformation
October 31st, 2017 is Halloween, or as it officially stated “All Hallows’ Eve”, the day before the Great Feast Day of the church on November 1st, “All Saints’ Day”. 500 years ago on October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, nailed a list of theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral. This list of ideas stated that the Roman Catholic Church needed to reform. That act at the cathedral would mark the beginning of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. This Halloween, October 31st, 2017, is the 500th anniversary of the start of the movement to reform the church.
Besides Martin Luther, who would go on to form the Lutheran Church, John Calvin also began to bring reform to the church in France and Switzerland. Calvin was a great theologian and his writings and teachings became the foundation for Reformed Theology. Reformed theology was spread by a disciple of Calvin, John Knox, who took it back to his native Scotland, and began the Presbyterian Kirk (Church).
Our congregation Faith Presbyterian Church of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church is descended from Calvin and Knox, as are all Presbyterian and Reformed churches in North America. Five major beliefs came out of the Reformation:
1. Sola fide – Faith alone
How are we saved? By faith alone.
2. Sola gratia – Grace alone
By what means are we saved? By God’s grace alone.
3. Solus Christus – Christ alone
Who has reconciled us to God? Jesus Christ has reconciled us by his atoning blood and death on the cross.
4. Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone
What is the ultimate basis of authority for our spiritual lives? The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.
5. Soli Deo Gloria – To God alone be the glory
What is the purpose of life, the church and all creation? To give God alone the glory!
These are some of the most important beliefs that the Reformation wrought. It is a reminder to us all that we are saved by faith through grace from Christ according to the Word for the glory of God. Let us celebrate this 500th anniversary of Reformation and all those who led the church in renewing and reforming!
To God alone be the glory,
Pastor Greg Darden