There are certain times in life when it’s important to be committed, to not stop halfway. Like when you’re getting married or shaving your beard. Then there are other times when it’s important to have the freedom to change your mind, like when you’re about to jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet.
Or choose a new convocation theme.
This year, for our 2017 Light Bearers Convocation, we were planning to study through the Minor Prophets. However, partway through our preparation, we realized that 2017 marks the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which just so happens to be one of the most significant upheavals in history. Due to the magnitude of this event, it occurred to us that it might be a good idea to change our minds.
So we did.
The Spirit led us to set aside the works of the prophets in exchange for protesters, and in the process, we discovered a gold mine of living truth for today.
…grace and faith for salvation come from Christ alone.
Over five days, we traveled back in time and stepped into the world of monks and martyrs, indulgences and relics, biblical ignorance and religious superstition. We saw the sense of fear, depression, and futility that covered “Christendom” like a heavy fog because of the clergy’s abuse of power and money. We couldn’t help but be convicted by the work of men like Calvin and Luther, Wycliffe and Huss.
Most of all though, we saw the gospel’s fight for freedom and the competing human obsession to control others through a corrupt religious system.
We also saw the cracking open of Christendom and the emergence of five truths that turned the world upside down: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solo Christo, and Soli Deo Gloria. These Five Solas essentially say Scripture alone is our source of doctrine and truth. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone, and that grace and faith for salvation come from Christ alone. Lastly, God alone is glorified.
Though they’re pretty simple ideas, they produced seismic shifts in history.
Through the 17 presentations by Ty, James, David, Jeffrey, and Fred, we found that though these truths were discovered 500 years ago, they’re incredibly significant and meaningful right now. Session after session revealed that now, more than ever before, we must look to the Bible alone. We can’t even rely on our own faith, but only on the faith of Jesus. The reformation isn’t merely a historical event that took place centuries ago with a bunch of muumuu-wearing monks. Rather, it is an ongoing process in our hearts today.
Sending gospel literature to developing countries all over the world is our passion…
Not only did we talk about spiritual reformation, but healthy reformation as well. Risë Rafferty gave a series of talks that shed light on how interconnected the body is and inspired us to take wellness to a whole new level.
We are also especially excited about the offering that was taken up for the Light Bearers publishing work on Sabbath morning, which amounted to a grand total of $195,458.04! Sending gospel literature to developing countries all over the world is our passion and we are thrilled to use every penny of this money to continue the work.
The adults weren’t the only ones enjoying an engaging program though. The campus was basically crawling with children, from babies to teenagers. The Cradle Roll group enjoyed an engaging underwater-themed program and the Primary group was energetic as they played games, sang, and learned about the Bible. The Juniors also enjoyed an ocean-themed program where they memorized Scripture, made crafts, and even sang in the adult worship service.
The youth program was active as well. From relevant devotional thoughts and team-building challenges to a car wash that raised over $1500 for literature work and a Saturday night talent show—the activities kept the teenagers on their toes. The week culminated with an appeal for the youth to be modern-day reformers. Nearly all eighty teenagers responded.
Our campus is empty now. Tents, coolers, and children were packed up and driven away. But we’re happy because we know the Spirit worked and hearts were moved, moved by a knowledge that some things shouldn’t happen once every five hundred years, but every day.
Things like Reformation.