500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation: what was it about and why does it matter?


Tomorrow marks the 500th anniversary of the protestant reformation.  Perhaps you are unfamiliar with Reformation Day, or wonder why it is significant.  For my immediate audience, I offer this short synopsis:

In the 1500’s Martin Luther, a German monk, was struggling with his church; the Roman Catholic Church. The issue was the RC practice of indulgences.  Stephen Nichols wrote a superb essay on this which you can find here.  Luther had been reading the Bible for himself, and was astonished to find a gospel that was at odds with what he had been taught by the RC church.  Roman Catholicism teaches that salvation is earned by good works.  The Bible teaches that salvation is by faith alone, a gift from God, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Luther’s objective wasn’t to separate from the Roman Catholic Church.  Rather, he was hoping to bring the church back under the authority of Scripture, and rid it of unbibilical practices like selling indulgences and superstition.  The RC Church refused the truth which resulted in the divide we now know as the Protestant Reformation.  Luther wasn’t divisive, the Roman Catholic Church was.  None of this is surprising, however, as the Bible warns us that this is the nature of truth (Romans 16:17-18; Luke 12:49-53).

People who are in the Roman Catholic Church need to hear the gospel, just as atheist’s, Latter Day Saints, Muslims, and Jehovah’s Witnesses do.  I know people in every one of these categories.  I care about all of them, and want them to come to a saving knowledge of the Truth.  That is why I write this blog, and share it on my social media. 

We thank the Lord for working through fallible people like Martin Luther to bring the masses out of the darkness and into the light.  Because of the reformers, the average person has access to the Bible and can read it for themselves.  The Reformation truly is a wonderful day to celebrate!   

  • Sola Fide, by faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.



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