Friday October 31, 2008

So today… is Reformation Day!! Although much of the world around us celebrates darkness, evil, and worldliness today (or sugar-coats & dumbs it down in some fashion so their children “don’t feel left out” — which is actually just as bad), today we celebrate light, transformation, Scripture, and cry out semper reformanda!!

Reformation Day commemorates Dr. Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31st, 1517. This is the act that triggered the domino-effect movement in Church and world history known as the Reformation. Many churches –whether they celebrate on October 31st or not– incorporate some sort of observance of Reformation Day on the last Sunday in October. Did your church happen to sing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” last Sunday?? Betcha that’s why! 🙂 That hymn, written by Martin Luther and based on Psalm 46, is known as the Battle Hymn of the Reformation. Read the text. It’s wonderful.

A mighty Fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.

Tonight we are having a small dessert party & time of singing in honor of this wonderful day of remembrance. I have (for the first time in my life) a bowl of candy sitting by the front door. On it is a sign that says “Happy Reformation Day” as well as the Five Solas of the Reformation (see below). These Five Solas are also taped on the mirrors in the bathrooms, as reminders of what we are to look toward.
You can go to this link (below) to find an exposition about the Five Solas, or just read the Scripture texts here below for a summary.

SOLA FIDE (FAITH ALONE) – People are saved only through trusting Christ, not by good works.

  • “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28)
  • “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5)

SOLUS CHRISTUS (CHRIST ALONE)People are saved only through Christ and do not need to go through a priest or anyone else.

  • “ Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
  • “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)

SOLA SCRIPTURA (SCRIPTURE ALONE) – The Bible is God’s written Word, and it alone, not human tradition or the church, is the final, perfect, authority for what we believe and do.

  • “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)

SOLA GRATIA (GRACE ALONE) – People are saved only by God’s grace.  Salvation is a gift that cannot be deserved, bought, or earned. 

  • “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24)

SOLI DEO GLORIA (FOR GOD’S GLORY ALONE) – God alone will receive all glory, including for man’s salvation.  Man cannot boast in God’s sight, but must honor God as supremely important and valuable.

  • For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)
  • Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

The battle cry of Semper Reformanda is our theme, as it is the Latin phrase meaning “Always Reforming.” The Protestant Reformation had three distinct phases: 1) the return to the Holy Scriptures as the sole authority for life, faith, and doctrine; 2) the Biblical doctrine of Salvation; and 3) the desire to see Scripture shape every aspect of life. These are things that we –even now in 2008– need to reinforce again and again! In our families, our churches, our communities, and our nation. Please Lord, let it be. Cause us to be ever & always reforming! Shape and mold us according to Your Will and Your Scriptures. Our challenge as Christians is to be constantly reformed by the Word of God and His Holy Spirit. And to seek out this reformation. May the Reformation not only be a day commemorated in history, but something which never ceases! So join us in crying out –in the presence of God, His people, and His enemies– semper reformanda!!

Although we invited over fifty people to our home tonight, I think there are less than twenty coming… which will be a much comfier fit in our family room. 🙂 It will be so much fun to share desserts and sing together. There are three small boys that are coming, so I bought some knight’s shields at the dollar store for them to onto. Yay for shields made of color-able foam rubber and washable markers!! 🙂 They are also going to play color their own Coat of ArmsPin The 95 Theses On The Wittenberg Door, which will be fun. I have foam rubber swords for their prizes. 🙂 I just wish Gabriel were old enough to play along. 🙂 I also have coloring pages for the kiddos: the Luther Rose and a sketch of Martin Luther.

For my contribution to the dessert table, I made Maple Crisp Cookies and Pumpkin Sweet Potato Bars. Mmm! And did I mention that I printed out Luther’s 95 Theses, tea-stained the paper, and have it hanging on our front door?? I’m pretty excited about that little detail. 😉

In case you are interested in looking at some of the sources from which I pulled, go here (my 3 top choices):

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