Monday, October 29, 2007

christianity and october 31st

this will not be a post railing against the evil's of halloween and trick-or-treating. my son, too young to go door to door, will nonetheless be a "smashing" pumpkin for his first halloween. (yes, that was intentional...)

rather, i wanted to take this chance to again remind us about our heritage as christians, particularly protestant christians. if october 31st doesnt remind you of more than ghosts and goblins, then let this be the last year that is the case, and the first of a lifetime of writing "reformation day" on our calanders every october 31st.

[aside from this article, i also recommend a very short but informative book that every christian should own and read:
the reformation: how a monk and a mallet changed the world by stephen j. nichols]

from jim elliff's website- christian communications online

It was October 31st, 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany.
Martin grasped a hammer and a long piece of paper
coveredwith his writing. He walked out into
the street and straight overto the castle church door.
It was here that community messageswere often posted.

Martin nailed his 95 points of discussion on the door. He
onlywanted to lay out his newly discovered views of the
Bible to other church leaders in the Medieval Catholic church.
He thought he was free to do so even though his thoughts were
radical. After all, he was an Augustinian monk and a professor
of theology.

Martin called himself a “stinking bag of maggots,” and certainly
did not dream of being a leader in a revolution of thinking
in Germany and across Europe that shaped history in a
powerful way. But God had determined something far bigger
than the monk Martin Luther expected when he penned
those 95 Theses.

Without his knowledge someone printed his words on the
newly invented Gutenburg press, distributing it all over
Within a very few days, Martin found that he was the
subject of everyone’s thoughts. In the cathedrals and great
stone castles of his homeland, the pubs and peasant’s
cottageseveryone was talking about the views of Luther.
Withouta signal to announce it, the Protestant Reformation

Just what was the Protestant Reformation all about? What did
Luther and others protest?

The protesters were seeing something new about how a
personis accepted by God that is, new to them. They protested
that the church had been teaching the wrong view about the most
important issue of life. They discovered that the Bible says we
are not accepted on the basis of our religious deeds, or even
our good deeds along with our faith, but that we are accepted
before a holy God only through faith in Christ.

“Through faith alone in Christ alone” began to be heard all
over Europe. The people must transfer their confidence for
salvation in the church’s religious traditions to Christ alone.
The reformers wanted the people to return to the Bible’s plain
teaching on how to be a true Christian.
Because heaven andhell were at stake, the passions rose very high.
Many would be persecuted and some even killed for this truth.

But through it all, tens of thousands of people were converted to
Christ andwere assured of heaven.

We have been feeling the effects of the Protestant Reformation
ever since. Many of our churches have their historical roots in
the Reformation. Returning to the Bible as the source of understanding
about how we are to relate to God has shaped nations.
Perhaps no other religious period since the coming of Christ
has been so influential as this one.

But many people, and even many churches, have forgotten the
great lessons that were made so clear beginning on October 31, 1517.

What difference can this mean to you nearly 500 years
This passage from the Bible is a good place to start. It describes
God’s way to understand salvation:
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
andthat not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of
works, lest anyone should boast
. (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

Through these 500 years since the Protestant Reformation,
andthroughout time, men and women, youth and children have
come to Christ in this simple way through faith alone in
Christ alone. Placing our full confidence in Christ’s perfect life
and sacrificial death for sinful people is the only way to God.

It is not that good works are not important they are a result of
true faith in every believer’s life. But those works cannot save.
Salvation is a gift of grace, not a reward for trying to be good.

Like Martin Luther, you may come by faith alone to Christ
alone even now, all these years later. In fact, this is the very
way the first New Testament believers came to Him!

Copyright © 2002 Jim Elliff
Permission granted to copy in full
for non-profit use, including all
copyright information. Other uses require
written permission.

print out as many as you want for free here!

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