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Friday, October 31, 2008

Hammer, Nails, and Reformation

“Hier stehe ich!”

“Here I stand,” Martin Luther told those who accused him of heresy. He had studied Paul’s letter to the Romans and had embraced the doctrine of justification by faith. “Man only needs Jesus Christ” became his deep conviction.

Four hundred ninety-one years ago today, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. Those theses announced what he believed to be the abuses of the established church. His defiant act led to his arrest and trial.

One man’s act of courageous faith sparked the Protestant Reformation and to a revival of the teaching a strand of faithful believers had cherished from Pentecost to the early sixteenth century. Halloween, October 31, therefore, is a good time to recommit ourselves to the task of spreading the truth that God freely justifies all who believe on His Son (Romans 3:21-26).

Is the modern-day Church guilty of abuses? You decide, but one glaring abuse I see is the pushing aside of the gospel message so entertainment can take center stage. As I see it, we need to return to the rallying cries of the Reformation: sola scriptura and sola fide (by Scripture alone, by faith alone). I don’t plan to pick up a hammer and some nails and post a written complaint on a church door, but I do plan to pick up my Bible and hammer away at the all-important, timeless truth that God justifies sinners who believe on His Son as their Savior.

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