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Protestants celebrate Reformation Day, 31 Oct

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#1
Today, 31 October, is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's nailing his 95 theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, that started the Protestant Reformation.

Doors of the Castle Church

The 'theses' were 'a list of questions and propositions for debate' (source).

Committed to the idea that salvation could be reached through faith and by divine grace only, Luther vigorously objected to the corrupt practice of selling indulgences. Acting on this belief, he wrote the “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” also known as “The 95 Theses,” a list of questions and propositions for debate. Popular legend has it that on October 31, 1517 Luther defiantly nailed a copy of his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. The reality was probably not so dramatic; Luther more likely hung the document on the door of the church matter-of-factly to announce the ensuing academic discussion around it that he was organizing.

The 95 Theses, which would later become the foundation of the Protestant Reformation, were written in a remarkably humble and academic tone, questioning rather than accusing. The overall thrust of the document was nonetheless quite provocative. The first two of the theses contained Luther’s central idea, that God intended believers to seek repentance and that faith alone, and not deeds, would lead to salvation. The other 93 theses, a number of them directly criticizing the practice of indulgences, supported these first two (source).​

Out of the Reformation grew 5 solas (alone):

  1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
  2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
  4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
  5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
On 30 October 2017, Dr Albert Mohler Jr, write this penetrating article on one of the famous statements by Luther: 'Here we stand'.

Discussion of the 5 solas is designed for the Theology Forum on CFnet.

On 31 October 1517, there was a momentous turn in the emphases of the theology of the church. I'm a sceptic when it comes to obtaining accurate figures of church numbers. They are too difficult to obtain worldwide. One loose estimate is that there are 2. Today there are ca. 2.4 billion Christians in the world and of these, ca 900 million are Protestant.

Dr Mohler drew attention to one of Luther's most well known and important quotes:

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves–I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.” (source)

To those words were added: “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me.”​

I pray that the Lord will help us in understanding the importance these doctrines that Luther challenged in his 95 theses.


Blessings in Christ,
Oz
 
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#3
  1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
  2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
  4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
  5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
Amen to the Big Five up there.
And Amen to that magnificent hymn in post 2, too.
 
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#4
Today, 31 October, is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's nailing his 95 theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, that started the Protestant Reformation.

The 'theses' were 'a list of questions and propositions for debate' (source).

Committed to the idea that salvation could be reached through faith and by divine grace only, Luther vigorously objected to the corrupt practice of selling indulgences. Acting on this belief, he wrote the “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” also known as “The 95 Theses,” a list of questions and propositions for debate. Popular legend has it that on October 31, 1517 Luther defiantly nailed a copy of his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. The reality was probably not so dramatic; Luther more likely hung the document on the door of the church matter-of-factly to announce the ensuing academic discussion around it that he was organizing.

The 95 Theses, which would later become the foundation of the Protestant Reformation, were written in a remarkably humble and academic tone, questioning rather than accusing. The overall thrust of the document was nonetheless quite provocative. The first two of the theses contained Luther’s central idea, that God intended believers to seek repentance and that faith alone, and not deeds, would lead to salvation. The other 93 theses, a number of them directly criticizing the practice of indulgences, supported these first two (source).​

Out of the Reformation grew 5 solas (alone):
  1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
  2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
  4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
  5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
Blessings in Christ,
Oz
Yes, the 95 theses had to do with the selling of indulgences.

And there have been very unfortunate outgrowths of the "5Gs."

"Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority." has had the unfortunate outcome whereby every individual seems to imagine that he/she is an automatic doctor of theology because they have a basic command of the English language and the HOLYghost so they can't be wrong.
(Note: The "Bible", the "Sola Scriptura", to which Luther referred included the apocrypha.)

It has also led to the unfortunate outcome of Seminaries and Bible colleges neglecting the contributions of the early church fathers (since none of them were reformed Protestants) which, in turn, resulted in the modern, western Church having only a meager concept of its history. (The average Protestant would probably be astounded at the extent to which they are in complete agreement with Roman Catholic, scholastic, theology while thinking that they had "fixed all that".)

"Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ." has encouraged the misunderstanding that simply believing that Jesus died for our sins is sufficient to acquire a ticket to paradise and that one may neglect the entirety of Jesus' commands to live like we believe. Those poor souls are in for a significant disappointment at the judgment due to accepting the heretical teaching of antinomian preachers and teachers.

"Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone." has had the same result of encouraging believers to neglect the good works for which we were created in Christ Jesus that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10) and to ignore the many times that the "Sola Scriptura" tells us that we will be judged according to our works. (Mat 25:31-46; Jhn 3:36; 5:28-29; 8:51; Ro 6:2-10; 8:12-14; 2Cor 5:10; 1 Pet 1:17; 1 John 2:17; Rev 20:12-13; 22:12-14)

"Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King
." can not be anything but the absolute truth. Any deviation from that truth can be eternally fatal.

"Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
" does not receive nearly enough of the emphasis which it is due.

So, when I look at the tens of thousands of splinters of the body of Christ which have grown out of the protesting and reforming, I cannot bring myself to applaud. Rather, I ask, "Is Christ divided?" and I long for a time when Christians might in truth and in fact say, "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity."

The devil was obviously listening when Jesus said that a kingdom divided against itself will not stand and we can observe that Europe is a post-Christian, materialist society which will soon become predominantly Muslim with the USA following suit. (THough I have no doubt that God still has His 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal.)

So, rather than celebrating the fracturing of the kingdom of God into tens of thousands of squabbling splinters and the slow death of Christendom in the west, it seems to me that a day of mourning would be much more appropriate.


iakov the fool
 
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#5
Yes, the 95 theses had to do with the selling of indulgences.

And there have been very unfortunate outgrowths of the "5Gs."

"Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority." has had the unfortunate outcome whereby every individual seems to imagine that he/she is an automatic doctor of theology because they have a basic command of the English language and the HOLYghost so they can't be wrong.
(Note: The "Bible", the "Sola Scriptura", to which Luther referred included the apocrypha.)

It has also led to the unfortunate outcome of Seminaries and Bible colleges neglecting the contributions of the early church fathers (since none of them were reformed Protestants) which, in turn, resulted in the modern, western Church having only a meager concept of its history. (The average Protestant would probably be astounded at the extent to which they are in complete agreement with Roman Catholic, scholastic, theology while thinking that they had "fixed all that".)

"Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ." has encouraged the misunderstanding that simply believing that Jesus died for our sins is sufficient to acquire a ticket to paradise and that one may neglect the entirety of Jesus' commands to live like we believe. Those poor souls are in for a significant disappointment at the judgment due to accepting the heretical teaching of antinomian preachers and teachers.

"Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone." has had the same result of encouraging believers to neglect the good works for which we were created in Christ Jesus that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10) and to ignore the many times that the "Sola Scriptura" tells us that we will be judged according to our works. (Mat 25:31-46; Jhn 3:36; 5:28-29; 8:51; Ro 6:2-10; 8:12-14; 2Cor 5:10; 1 Pet 1:17; 1 John 2:17; Rev 20:12-13; 22:12-14)

"Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King
." can not be anything but the absolute truth. Any deviation from that truth can be eternally fatal.

"Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
" does not receive nearly enough of the emphasis which it is due.

So, when I look at the tens of thousands of splinters of the body of Christ which have grown out of the protesting and reforming, I cannot bring myself to applaud. Rather, I ask, "Is Christ divided?" and I long for a time when Christians might in truth and in fact say, "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity."

The devil was obviously listening when Jesus said that a kingdom divided against itself will not stand and we can observe that Europe is a post-Christian, materialist society which will soon become predominantly Muslim with the USA following suit. (THough I have no doubt that God still has His 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal.)

So, rather than celebrating the fracturing of the kingdom of God into tens of thousands of squabbling splinters and the slow death of Christendom in the west, it seems to me that a day of mourning would be much more appropriate.

iakov the fool
Yes, Jim, a fair number of the theses had to do with the selling of indulgences, but the word, indulgences, appears for the first time in thesis 21 of the 95 theses. There are some other theses that do not deal with indulgences.

You have highlighted some of the unfortunate developments from the 5 Solas. But it doesn't matter which doctrine we pursue, there will be some unfortunate outgrowths. We've seen it with doctrines such as the Trinity, baptismal regeneration, cessationism, the gifts of the Spirit, propitiation, substitutionary atonement, hell, soul sleep, etc.

Just because there are aberrations/heresies associated with certain Christian doctrines does not cause us to stop pursuing the truth for that doctrine.

You state:
It has also led to the unfortunate outcome of Seminaries and Bible colleges neglecting the contributions of the early church fathers (since none of them were reformed Protestants) which, in turn, resulted in the modern, western Church having only a meager concept of its history.
That depends on the major one takes. I have a BA in Biblical Literature and NT Greek from Northwest University, Kirkland WA. In Biblical Literature I studied Bible Books, the Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha, the Church Fathers, OT and NT culture. A visit to the Middle East, including Israel, was available for one practicum. I agree that many of the Protestant churches are not strong on knowledge of the Apocrypha and the early church fathers, but neither are they strong on biblical doctrines. Some of the de-emphasis on Apocrypha and ECF is related to the fact that they don't regard this literature as coming with the authority of Scripture.

You state: 'the "Sola Scriptura", to which Luther referred included the apocrypha'. Even Luther could get some of his theology wrong!


Oz
 

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We had a group from our church watch Luther the movie last Friday in reflection on Reformation Day.

Something that our pastor partially joked about after the movie was over was that someone now needs to make a movie about John Calvin, John Knox, etc....
 

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Yes, the 95 theses had to do with the selling of indulgences.

And there have been very unfortunate outgrowths of the "5Gs."

"Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority." has had the unfortunate outcome whereby every individual seems to imagine that he/she is an automatic doctor of theology because they have a basic command of the English language and the HOLYghost so they can't be wrong.
(Note: The "Bible", the "Sola Scriptura", to which Luther referred included the apocrypha.)

It has also led to the unfortunate outcome of Seminaries and Bible colleges neglecting the contributions of the early church fathers (since none of them were reformed Protestants) which, in turn, resulted in the modern, western Church having only a meager concept of its history. (The average Protestant would probably be astounded at the extent to which they are in complete agreement with Roman Catholic, scholastic, theology while thinking that they had "fixed all that".)

"Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ." has encouraged the misunderstanding that simply believing that Jesus died for our sins is sufficient to acquire a ticket to paradise and that one may neglect the entirety of Jesus' commands to live like we believe. Those poor souls are in for a significant disappointment at the judgment due to accepting the heretical teaching of antinomian preachers and teachers.

"Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone." has had the same result of encouraging believers to neglect the good works for which we were created in Christ Jesus that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10) and to ignore the many times that the "Sola Scriptura" tells us that we will be judged according to our works. (Mat 25:31-46; Jhn 3:36; 5:28-29; 8:51; Ro 6:2-10; 8:12-14; 2Cor 5:10; 1 Pet 1:17; 1 John 2:17; Rev 20:12-13; 22:12-14)

"Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King
." can not be anything but the absolute truth. Any deviation from that truth can be eternally fatal.

"Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
" does not receive nearly enough of the emphasis which it is due.

So, when I look at the tens of thousands of splinters of the body of Christ which have grown out of the protesting and reforming, I cannot bring myself to applaud. Rather, I ask, "Is Christ divided?" and I long for a time when Christians might in truth and in fact say, "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity."

The devil was obviously listening when Jesus said that a kingdom divided against itself will not stand and we can observe that Europe is a post-Christian, materialist society which will soon become predominantly Muslim with the USA following suit. (THough I have no doubt that God still has His 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal.)

So, rather than celebrating the fracturing of the kingdom of God into tens of thousands of squabbling splinters and the slow death of Christendom in the west, it seems to me that a day of mourning would be much more appropriate.


iakov the fool
When it comes to Sola Gratia, there may be less of a focus on works as it really is not works that secure our salvation, but it is good works that become a testimony of our salvation and faith in Christ. It is a reaction to something already obtained, not a requirement of something we may, or may not, achieve.

While I do appreciate the idea that we should not be celebrating what can be considered the catalyst of major rift in the Universal Church, but rather than mourne for it, I would suggest we use it as a motivation for unifying the church in the face of the growing evil threat that is every other religion. The most predominate, currently, being Islam.
 
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#8
We had a group from our church watch Luther the movie last Friday in reflection on Reformation Day.

Something that our pastor partially joked about after the movie was over was that someone now needs to make a movie about John Calvin, John Knox, etc....
Include Jacobus Arminius and John Wesley in that list.
 
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#11

Are you confusing yourself, or trying to confuse us? Cuz, the statue in the pic you shared says "John Wesley."
both lived in pre revolutionary war america and remained Britons. Their church is nearby and faces this statue . Charles wesley was pastor and elder to John Wesley. That's in chippewa park ,in savannah, ga. When they mention John they include charles as well.
 

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#12


both lived in pre revolutionary war america and remained Britons. Their church is nearby and faces this statue . Charles wesley was pastor and elder to John Wesley. That's in chippewa park ,in savannah, ga. When they mention John they include charles as well.
Ah. That explains it. Though I wonder why there is no statue of Charles, then.
 
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#14
I'm 64 and only about 40 of that as witness to Jesus .. I don't care what any church scholar said for the last how ever long .. Only what the Word says . Jesus is my head, not any church .. Church either lines up with Jesus or not, when it does that's great, when a Christian brother lines up that's great too .. The Son of God has made me free and I am free indeed .. Jesus is the author of my salvation and many Christians have helped me because of Jesus in them, I accept no thanks from anyone I have lead to Jesus or have helped in Jesus name .. I give all the glory to the Lord Jesus, he will repay me as he sees fit .. If it were not for Jesus I probably would have never cared to begin with .. I will not be taken captive by any organization but willingly contribute and love in Jesus name .. Jesus will judge every man by his standard , not mans .. From the things I've seen from some churches man made authority I'd be frightened to continue to fall at their feet as so many do .. Or to give adoration to a man made saint ? I don't know enough about anyone for that until judgment day .. Jus sayin ..
 
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#15
I am glad that Luther woke up the sleeping church and was used by God to
break off of opression and control from the RCC.....

However to make him an Idol and not to include his serious flaws and transgressions of his character
is not being truthful.....

The Bible would tell both the good and bad of all saints as follows:
Abraham
Jacob
David
 
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Yes, Jim, a fair number of the theses had to do with the selling of indulgences, but the word, indulgences, appears for the first time in thesis 21 of the 95 theses. There are some other theses that do not deal with indulgences.
Oz
My primary reason not to celebrate the "Protestant reformation" is that it's major contribution to Christianity has been to shatter the body of Christ into tens of thousands of splinters.

Is it not the duty of Christians to do the will of the God as best they can?

John 17:22-23
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them,
that they may be one just as We are one:
I in them, and You in Me;
that they may be made perfect in one,
and that the world may know that You have sent Me,
and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Does the existence tens of thousands (and growing) factions, sects, denominations, independents, etc. tend to fulfill that desire of our LORD Jesus or to rebel against His desire?

Are we being made perfect in one?

We are not.

Do the thousands of divisions teach the world that the Father has sent the Son and that the Father loves them as He loves the son?

They do not.

But the fracturing of the Church into tens of thousands of splinters in direct rebellion against the will of Christ is to be celebrated.

I think not.

It seems to me that repentance in sackcloth and ashes with many tears would be the proper way to mark the anniversary of this great rebellion.

but that's just me

blessings
jim
 
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#18
Does the existence tens of thousands (and growing) factions, sects, denominations, independents, etc. tend to fulfill that desire of our LORD Jesus or to rebel against His desire?
That might work if you believe that the 'First Street Baptist Church' really is a different sect than the '2nd Street Baptist Church'. Personally I am still trying to figure out which is the one true church: The Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox or the Roman Catholic churches since they all lay claim to the same title.
 
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#19
My primary reason not to celebrate the "Protestant reformation" is that it's major contribution to Christianity has been to shatter the body of Christ into tens of thousands of splinters.

Is it not the duty of Christians to do the will of the God as best they can?

John 17:22-23
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them,
that they may be one just as We are one:
I in them, and You in Me;
that they may be made perfect in one,
and that the world may know that You have sent Me,
and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Does the existence tens of thousands (and growing) factions, sects, denominations, independents, etc. tend to fulfill that desire of our LORD Jesus or to rebel against His desire?

Are we being made perfect in one?

We are not.

Do the thousands of divisions teach the world that the Father has sent the Son and that the Father loves them as He loves the son?

They do not.

But the fracturing of the Church into tens of thousands of splinters in direct rebellion against the will of Christ is to be celebrated.

I think not.

It seems to me that repentance in sackcloth and ashes with many tears would be the proper way to mark the anniversary of this great rebellion.

but that's just me

blessings
jim
Was the roman catholic church ever really the church of God?
 
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#20
When it comes to Sola Gratia, there may be less of a focus on works as it really is not works that secure our salvation, but it is good works that become a testimony of our salvation and faith in Christ. It is a reaction to something already obtained, not a requirement of something we may, or may not, achieve.
Not a requirement?
If good works are not a requirement, how would one answer the following question posed by our LORD:
... why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46)

And what do you think James meant when he said:
"... be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (Jas 1:22)

If good works are not any kind of requirement, why would Jesus say:
... the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth
those who have done good, to the resurrection of life,
and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
(John 5:28-29)

There has been an overwhelming effort to teach that good works have nothing to do with salvation.
That is a half truth.
By Christ's death and resurrection, all of mankind has been saved from the grave and all of mankind (believer and not) will be raised immortal and incorruptible. (1Cor 15:52ff) No good work on anyone's part has anything to do with being saved from the wages of sin which is the death and destruction of the body.

But that says absolutely nothing about the attaining of eternal life as compared to the second death.
To be given eternal life you MUST do the good works for which God created you in Christ Jesus to do according to Eph 2:10.
(Mat 25:31-46; Jhn 3:36; 5:28-29; 8:51; Ro 6:2-10; 8:12-14; 2Cor 5:10; 1 Pet 1:17; 1 John 2:17; Rev 20:12-13; 22:12-14)

So, yes, it is by God's grace (the power which He exerts to save mankind) that we are saved and are given eternal life.
But that grace does remove negate God's command that we do what He says to do which is:
to Love God and your neighbor (Luk 10:27)
to love one another (Jhn 13:34, 15:12, 17)
to love your enemy (Mat 5:43)
How one demonstrates that Love is described in some detail at Mat 25:31-46.

Neither does God's grace negate God's will that our manner of life be one of continuous and consistent good works. (Eph 2:10 again)

Nor does it negate Jesus' command; “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Mat 5:16)

IMHO, the "No Works Necessary for Eternal Life" teaching is a lie from the pit of hell with the express purposes of depriving people of eternal life and negating the witness of the Church.

If Jesus is our LORD then we need to do as He tells us to do.

Do you mean the avatar?
It is a reliquary in a monastery where the bones of the departed faithful are kept.
They are a reminder of the fact that we will one day being in the same condition and to make the most of our time "laying up treasures in heaven."

iakov the fool
 

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