It is October 2017. 500 years ago this month Martin Luther wrote 95 theses against the abuse of indulgences in the Western church. We have traced the Reformation to this date for a long time but as you and I have discussed before, in earlier episodes of Office Hours, the Reformation began before 1517 and it certainly did not end there. Decades later, Luther would say that, in 1517, he was still a “right roaring papist.” He would not come to understand salvation through faith alone (sola fide) until 1519 and he did not articulate the principle of sola scriptura until a month before the Diet of Worms in April, 1521.
We remember and celebrate the Reformation not out of tribal loyalties, because these are “our people,” but because the Reformation brought us back to the sufficiency of God’s Word for worship and the Christian life (sola Scriptura), back to the gospel, and back to the sufficiency of Christ’s person and work for our salvation. Reformation Day comes not a moment too soon. According to a recent survey, only about 30% of American Protestants are able to identify the Reformation principle of salvation through faith alone (sola fide) and Scripture alone (or sola Scriptura). About 30% of American Protestants believe in the Romanist doctrine of purgatory.
In the last episode, we noted that one of the first and most powerful forces to oppose the Reformation was the Romanist counter-Reformation. There was a second great opponent of the Reformation: rationalism in the form of Socinianism.
Here is the episode.
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