“The Protestant Reformation was the 16th-century religious, political, intellectual and cultural upheaval that splintered Catholic Europe.”
That’s how the History Channel website defines the Protestant Reformation—as an historical event that “was,” something that happened a long time ago. What I’d like to suggest is that the Reformation is still under way, right now, and that you and I can be part of helping to move it forward to completion.
First, according to Scripture, God is in the process of bringing about the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21). So think of history in general as a restoration project that God is guiding forward until everything is back the way it’s supposed to be, back to the place where evil is banished from existence and all relationships are defined by faithful love.
Secondly, the Protestant Reformation is only one part of this restoration process, beginning in the fourteenth century with the bold move of John Wycliffe to openly suggest that (1) each individual has direct access to God and should obey conscience before any human intuition, and (2) that salvation is the free gift of God’s grace to be received by faith alone in Christ. After Wycliffe came John Huss, who lost his life to be true to the protest. Then Martin Luther burst upon the stage of history like a lightning bolt, so powerfully articulate that none could refute his gospel-logic. When he nailed his 95 Theses to that church door, it was certain that Rome would no longer dominate the minds and lives of human beings unchallenged. In tandem with Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli and many others courageously stood up to the most powerful and corrupt empire the world has ever known to assert individual liberty before God.
…it was certain that Rome would no longer dominate the minds and lives of human beings unchallenged.
Thirdly, the Reformation launched a revolution that must continue until the whole world is illuminated with the true light of God’s character, chiefly enshrined within the twine truths of individual liberty of conscience before God and the unmerited grace of God by which alone we are saved. The question is, will you and I join the movement? Will we use our influence and resources to advance the continuing Reformation forward to completion?
As the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation approaches this October, I’ve written 95 Theses for the Continuing Reformation. The goal with this item is to stimulate discussion in churches, homes and Bible study groups regarding what the continuing Reformation might look like. Check it out here and consider how you might use this powerful resource in your home, church, and community.