Happy Reformation Day! – The Reformation 500 Celebration

Reformation 500 Celebration

Happy Reformation Day, TD!

If you’re asking, “Reformation? Reformation Day? What?,” then this post is for you.  500 years ago today, October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his now famed 95 Theses that sparked the flame that spread throughout Europe and eventually … the world.

All over the world today, there have been celebrations, tributes, TV programs, articles written, video productions broadcast, and more to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  We invite you to watch a re-broadcast of Ligonier Ministries’ Reformation 500 Celebration to not only get a better theological and historical perspective of the Reformation, why God ordained it, it’s impact and need today, but also for needed reformation in our own lives.

In this celebration, you’ll get an animated history of the life of Martin Luther, new choral music written for the church (by RC Sproul and Jeff Lippencott), as well as terrific mini- messages (18 mins) addressing essential Reformation issues for our lives and our times.

Click above for the entire celebration or click below to watch the specific messages.  I encourage you to honor the Lord and what He did in the Reformation by watching at least one of the following videos. – Arthur

 

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Happy Reformation Day!

Hey TD!

Hallelujah! It’s October 31! Of course you too are excited to celebrate … Reformation Day … right? Yup, you know it’s that time of year again, where we look back and commemorate a single event on a single day that changed the world … 499 years ago.

If you need brushing up on this day the world celebrates, then thanks to Dr. Stephen Nichols and Ligonier Ministries, I encourage you to read, listen, and prayerfully ask God for another reformation in our world, and then live out your life with Reformation courage and compassion in the name of the Reformer our world needs, Jesus Christ. – Arthur

What Is Reformation Day?

FROM Oct 31, 2016 Category: Articles

A single event on a single day changed the world. It was October 31, 1517. Brother Martin, a monk and a scholar, had struggled for years with his church, the church in Rome. He had been greatly disturbed by an unprecedented indulgence sale. The story has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster. Let’s meet the cast.

First, there is the young bishop—too young by church laws—Albert of Mainz. Not only was he bishop over two bishoprics, he desired an additional archbishopric over Mainz. This too was against church laws. So Albert appealed to the Pope in Rome, Leo X. From the De Medici family, Leo X greedily allowed his tastes to exceed his financial resources. Enter the artists and sculptors, Raphael and Michelangelo.

When Albert of Mainz appealed for a papal dispensation, Leo X was ready to deal. Albert, with the papal blessing, would sell indulgences for past, present, and future sins. All of this sickened the monk, Martin Luther. Can we buy our way into heaven? Luther had to speak out.

But why October 31? November 1 held a special place in the church calendar as All Soul’s Day. On November 1, 1517, a massive exhibit of newly acquired relics would be on display at Wittenberg, Luther’s home city. Pilgrims would come from all over, genuflect before the relics, and take hundreds, if not thousands, of years off time in purgatory. Luther’s soul grew even more vexed. None of this seemed right.

Martin Luther, a scholar, took quill in hand, dipped it in his inkwell and penned his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. These were intended to spark a debate, to stir some soul-searching among his fellow brothers in the church. The 95 Theses sparked far more than a debate. The 95 Theses also revealed the church was far beyond rehabilitation. It needed a reformation. The church, and the world, would never be the same.

Tweet thisTHE CHURCH’S TRUE TREASURE IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.

One of Luther’s 95 Theses simply declares, “The Church’s true treasure is the gospel of Jesus Christ.” That alone is the meaning of Reformation Day. The church had lost sight of the gospel because it had long ago papered over the pages of God’s Word with layer upon layer of tradition. Tradition always brings about systems of works, of earning your way back to God. It was true of the Pharisees, and it was true of medieval Roman Catholicism. Didn’t Christ Himself say, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light?” Reformation Day celebrates the joyful beauty of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ.

What is Reformation Day? It is the day the light of the gospel broke forth out of darkness. It was the day that began the Protestant Reformation. It was a day that led to Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and may other Reformers helping the church find its way back to God’s Word as the only authority for faith and life and leading the church back to the glorious doctrines of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It kindled the fires of missionary endeavors, it led to hymn writing and congregational singing, and it led to the centrality of the sermon and preaching for the people of God. It is the celebration of a theological, ecclesiastical, and cultural transformation.

So we celebrate Reformation Day. This day reminds us to be thankful for our past and to the Monk turned Reformer. What’s more, this day reminds us of our duty, our obligation, to keep the light of the gospel at the center of all we do.

Click here to learn more about Reformation Day in Stephen Nichols’ special episode of 5 Minutes in Church History.

Dr. Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries, and teaches on the podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.

Would You Want a “Christian Harvard?”

Well, you seniors are now well into the college app process.  I’ve encouraged you to really think through this process and not just go with the prevailing cultural frenzy produced by the cultural air you breathe.  Please thoroughly pray through it, sincerely seeking GOD’s will.  Don’t just ask Him for a stamp of approval on YOUR will.  And … once again, I ask you to research solid Christian colleges as well and at least apply to one … even if just to support their efforts to train Christians for the world.  It may not be for you, but at least give God the opportunity to have the final say.

RC Sproul, Jr. gives us some solid food for thought with respect to how Christians should really look at their education.  Please read and resolve to follow Him … no matter what. – Arthur

Is It Your Hope That Reformation Bible College Will Become a New “Christian Harvard?”

Not only is that not my hope, but I actively hope and pray against such a conception. Christian, yes, Harvard, no. What, I wonder, do we actually mean when we are hoping for a “Christian Harvard?” A judgment of charity would assume we all agree on the “Christian” part. What we mean is an institution that is faithful to all that the Bible teaches. What Christian wouldn’t want that?

I believe we can also agree on part of what I believe people mean by “Harvard” in this context. I am in favor of academic rigor and am confident that Reformation Bible College not only will have such in the future, but enjoys such already. I am certain my students would agree. Our calling is to love God with all our minds. Deep, challenging thought and study on His Word is of course a good thing, a great thing.

What then is the objection? The trouble with this aspiration isn’t Christian and isn’t rigor. It is instead reputation. I fear that what we mean by “Christian Harvard” is that we want a school to be Christian the way we like it, and to be considered elite by the world around us. We want to be distinct and set apart from the world, and to be honored and respected by the world.

It is an old bit of wisdom that defines an evangelical as a fundamentalist who says to the liberal, “I will call you ‘brother,’ if you will call me ‘scholar.’” We all hunger for the respect of the world. We all desire to see our high academic standards recognized and affirmed by the world. We all want our studies to pave the way for all the honor and success the world has to offer. These desires, however, while eminently understandable, are not only not healthy, but are deadly to the long-term well being of any academic institution. They are the very engine of institutional apostasy.

We have forgotten our own theology once we come to believe that the world can give a sober, honest, accurate assessment of our credentials. To think that if our academic standards match theirs they will judge us as their equals is to forget that they are by nature the enemies of God, and His people. They reject us not because our GRE scores are too low, but because our moral standards are too high. Look at how creation scientists are treated. Consider how belief in a biblical view of marriage is now outside the bounds of the respectable. Affirming the conviction that the Bible is true is sufficient to destroy our credibility with the world. Which means we cannot have both a conviction that the Bible is true, and credibility with the world.

They don’t, of course, care what we think, so long as we keep it to ourselves, so long as we leave our faith on the coat rack before entering the groves of academe. We live in the midst of what CS Lewis warned us about more than a generation ago—“They’ll tell you that you can have your religion in private, and then they’ll make sure you’re never alone.” The solution is not to work harder to gain their approval. The solution isn’t to aspire to respectability. The solution is to embrace the scandal of the cross. The solution is to die to self, to lay aside the perks and prerogatives that they dole out to those whom they approve. The solution is to account our academic reputations as naught for the kingdom of God. The solution is to rejoice in the glorious truth that it is better to be a custodian in the university of the Lord than to be seated among lords of academia. When we seek the world’s approval, we lose it. And when we give it up, we will find His approval. Jesus said so.

Is It Your Hope That Reformation Bible College Will Become a New “Christian Harvard?” was originally published at RCSproulJr.com