Happy 500th Reformation Day! The Reformation did not begin with Luther. Rather it can be traced back as far as 1200 A.D. with Peter Waldo (who was forced to live in hiding), then John Wycliff (labeled a heretic), and John Hus (who was burned at the stake). All these men realized the Roman Catholic Church teachings were contrary to Scripture, and worked to put Scripture in the hands of common people… which Rome feared would undermine their influence and authority.
After Darkness. Light.
500 years ago Martin Luther posted the Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, also known as the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle. Although Luther intended to debate these issues and wanted to reform the already divided Catholic Church, it resulted in the Protestant split from Rome. Thanks to new technology, the Guternberg press, Luther’s writings were widely distributed. Although I wouldn’t agree with much of Luther’s ideas, I would agree with him on the main issue of the Reformation about how men can be justified before God. The Roman Catholic Church erred by teaching that justification is by faith plus doing good works. That is, that salvation and standing before God is not entirely dependent on God’s work, but by God’s work plus our works. As a result of that unbiblical teaching you get many of the other issues surrounding the reformation (such as indulgences), but the central theme is how man can be saved. Luther taught from his understanding of scripture that salvation is by faith alone. There is no good work a sinful man can do to be saved, but rather it is God who saves man by His grace. There is nothing one can do to improve their standing with God. Even the best of our good works are tainted in sin, worthless to God.
Rather, our salvation relies on Christ who died on the cross to take the penalty for our sins, and by faith, believing in that work that Christ did, sinful people can be justified before a holy and righteous God. The glory for our salvation does not belong to us even partly; but solely to God.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
This October 31st, 2016, is the 499th Reformation Day, alongside All Hallow’s Eve (or Halloween).
We owe much to the reformers. Many were involved, most notably Ulrich Zwingli and later John Calvin, but Martin Luther is said to have started the Reformation by posting the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. He intended to start a discussion, but the Church did not take it too kindly.
Martin Luther believed through his study of Scripture, especially Romans, that forgiveness of sins was a gift that God alone could give, and those that taught people could receive forgiveness from the Pope through indulgences (which were used to fund massive projects for the Roman Catholic Church) were in error.
Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money? — Martin Luther, The 95 Theses
Luther hoped he could change (reform) the Roman Catholic Church, but instead he was labeled a heretic and excommunicated. The Church wrote him a letter saying he did not have their permission to go to heaven which Luther later burned publicly.
I admire Luther the most for the doctrine of Sola Scriptura–that the Scripture is the supreme authority. It does not mean we don’t have others in authority over us–but all authorities are subject and corrected by the Word of God.
Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen. — Martin Luther, at the Diet of Worms
Here’s some Reformation Day Trivia… feel free to print it out or borrow from it for your Reformation Day Party.
1. The Reformation was started by:
A. Martin Luther B. Martin Luther King, Jr. C. John Calvin D. John Bunyan
2. The Reformation started in ___
A. 1571 B. 1517 C. 1715 D. 1751
3. The reformation is said to start when Martin Luther published
A. The Diet of Worms B. 95 Theses C. A Treatise on Good Works D. An Open Letter to Christian Nobility
4. Martin Luther was an….
A. Austrian Monk B. Augsburg Monk C. Austere Monk D. Augustinian Monk
5. In 1521, Luther was summoned before ____
A. The Diet of Worms B. Johann Eck C. Rome D. Frederick of Saxony
6. Emperor Charles V Commanded Luther to appear in order to….
A. Defend and Debate his ideas. B. Murder him during passage to the trial C. Force him to recant D. Repent of his Heresy
7. What belief was NOT part of Luther’s theology?
A. The Pope has no special relationship to God B. Scripture is the sole source of authority for Christians. C. The bread and wine used during Communion only symbolically represents the flesh and the blood of Christ. D. Salvation is by Faith Alone.
8. The 95 theses were widely distributed thanks to….
A. The Internet B. The Printing Press C. The Telegram D. Lots of Facebook Likes
9. 95 is a prime number.
A. True B. False
10. What is NOT true about the 95 theses?
A. The 95 Theses are largely concerned with the sale of indulgences B. The 95 Theses was originally written in German C. The 95 Theses was a point of argument in a scholarly debate D. 95 Theses questioned the Pope’s motives E. 95 Theses were widely distributed thanks to the printing press
11. The NLCS and ALCS series always occur on Reformation Month. They are…
A. Rivaling Lutheran Synods B. Where the Arminian Lutherean Christian Synergists and the National Lutheran Calvinist Soteriology groups get together to debate theology. C. A conference of two groups: the Advent Libertarian Catholic Supralapsarianists and the Nicene Liturgist Creed Semi-Pelagianists where they get together and enjoy food, fellowship, and try to understand each other and resolve their differences. D. Have nothing to do with the Reformation
12. What’s another name for the 95 theses?
A. Disputation Against Scholastic Theology B. Disputation on the Power of Indulgences C. On the Papacy in Rome Against The Most Celebrated Romanist in Leipzig D. The Misuse of the Mass
13. What was an Indulgence?
A. A way to reduce the duration or amount of punishment one has to pay for their sins. B. Self-gratification through wealth, food, sex, or social status. C. The Catholic luxurious churches D. Over-tolerance of others that makes Christians passive toward sin
14. Fill in the Blank. “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from _______ springs” – Johann Tetzel
A. Hades B. Purgatory C. Hell D. The Nether
15. Luther was excommunicated by the Pope for:
A. Marrying a Nun which was not allowed for monks (or nuns). B. Calling the Pope an “Antichrist” C. False Teaching D. Condemning Infant Baptism
16. In 1515, Pope Leo X granted a plenary indulgence which would:
A. Allow people to suffer less in Hades who bought it B. Pay for the emperor to send runners to the mountain to get snow for ice cream C. Reduce the number of worms people have to eat in Hell D. Finance the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
17. At Leipzig, Johann Tetzel was asked by a nobleman if he could buy an indulgence for a future sin. Tetzel agreed as long as the nobleman paid at once. What pre-paid sin did that nobleman later commit?
A. Murder B. Adultery C. Eating worms D. When Tetzel left Leipzig the nobleman attacked him along the way, gave him a beating, and sent him back to Leipzig empty handed.
18. Which of the following is NOT one of the 5 Solas? (pick two)
A. Sola scriptura – Scripture Alone B. Sola ecclesia – Church Alone C. Sola fide – Faith Alone D. Sola gratia – Grace Alone E. Sola caritas – Love Alone F. Solus Christus – Christ Alone G. Soli Deo gloria – Glory to God Alone
19. Which Famous Hymn did Luther write?
A. A Mighty Fortress is Our God B. Amazon Grace C. How Great Thou Art D. When I survey the Wondrous Cross
20. When Luther Went into Hiding, how long did it take him to translate the NT into German?
A. 10 days B. 10 weeks C. 10 months D. 10 years
21. What is something Luther loved to eat?
A. A Diet of Worms B. Waldorf Salad C. Meat Pies D. Jibaritos
22. Who did Martin Luther Marry?
A. Sarah Pierpont B. Katharina von Bora C. Idelette Storder de Bure D. Fanny Crosby
23. What Reformation Anniversary is it?
A. 50th B. 99th C. 499th D. 500th
24. Was Luther Poor or Rich?
A. Poor as a youth and rich later in life B. Poor later in life and rich as a youth C. Poor D. Rich
25. How Old was Luther when he died?
A. 59 B. 60 C. 61 D. 62
26. Which Book is NOT a book Luther tried to remove from the Canon?
A. Philemon B. Hebrews C. James D. Jude E. Revelation
27. Name all 95 theses….
(answer on the door)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. — Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV
A. Martin Luther
B. 95 Theses
D. Augustinian Monk
A. The Diet of Worms
A. Defend and Debate his ideas.
C. The bread and wine used during Communion only symboically represents the flesh and blood of Christ.
B. The Printing Press.
B. The 95 Theses was originally written in German
D. Have nothing to do with the Reformation.
B. Disputation on the Power of Indulgences
A way to reduce the duration or amount of punishment one has to pay for their sins.
C. False Teaching
D. Finance the constructoion of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
D. When Tetzel left Leipzig the nobleman attacked him along the way, gave him a beating, and sent him back to Leipzig empty handed.