Did you know the 31st October doesn’t only mark Halloween? It’s also ‘Reformation Day’.
Remembering the date that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the corruptions of medieval religion to the church doors in Wittenberg, Germany, kick-starting the reformation. When considered across the continent this movement was so much more than Henry VIII wanting a new wife, that’s why we asked Tom to tell us why the reformation is so important to remember and celebrate. This time next year it will be 500 years since that significant day. Semper Reformanda.
We live in a time of unparalleled access. To each other, to different viewpoints, to anything, really. After Christ, we also live in a time of unparalleled access to God, as a result of that one perfect sacrifice, signed sealed and delivered as a result of his glorious resurrection.
The Reformation is often seen as a historical anomaly - some uppity Germans (most of world history over the last hundred years involves the Germans begin uppity, if we are being honest!) making a bit of a fuss about minor technical things on the eve of the explosion of western 'Christian' society in colonising, war and science.
I think the reality is different. I think the reformation is all about access.
Access to truth.
Access to God.
Access to the Bible.
Access to Grace.
Access to the Church.
The Reformation was highly exclusive in its conclusions. And it was exclusive by being as inclusive as the Gospel allows.
In the Reformation, the whispers of grace in the Lords supper were turned into shouts of welcome. Once for all, the Gospel cries, in the face of a world gripped by individualism and works-righteousness.
In the Reformation, the wild lion of the Bible is unleashed in the popular languages of the day - not caged in towers of knowledge. Welcome, come and learn, come and think, come and question, the Reformation cried.
In the Reformation, the religious figure we call a Priest, sat or stood at an altar, was challenged by the radical idea of a priesthood of all believers, following the way of that great high priest whose name is love.
The Reformation is all about access. The Reformation is all about Grace. The Reformation is all about Jesus. Jesus, the great high Priest. Jesus, the one who stands over and above time, intervening and inviting regardless of our religion. Jesus, the Word of God, of and about whom the written word, the Bible, so freely and comprehensively speaks. Jesus, the one whose body is the church, not buildings or organisations, but rather the gathering into the loving arms of the Father a group of people called by the Holy Spirit.
What do you make of the Reformation? Dusty history or powerful movement of the Holy Spirit? Or something else entirely? Whatever you do this Reformation day, please consider the access you have to God and the freedom you have to worship. Don't wonder what might have been - ask questions about what God has done, is doing, and continues to do.
Want to find out more about the reformation, Tom’s offered us a special discount on this book: http://www.ivpbooks.com/product/why-the-reformation-still-matters/ Enter bridgerefo15 at the checkout to get 15% off.