Happy Reformation Day! Throughout history, when the people of God lose their way, he steps in with the truth and revival takes place. Webster's dictionary defines reform as: To form again or to become formed again. The Lord began to reform his church before the 16th century, which led to the split between the Roman Catholic Church and those who would be called the Protestant Church.
In 383 A.D. Jerome translated the scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. With diversity of language throughout the empire, no other translations were made for almost a thousand years. The Roman Catholic Church was the source of all scriptural knowledge and the Word of God was kept from those outside the clergy.
With this knowledge came the power to rule and control. Unfortunately, those who held the "keys to the kingdom" abused their authority. Any dissidence towards the church was met with crushing blows and extermination in some cases. The people of Europe wanted to separate from the iron fist of the Church.
The exquisite timing of the Lord never fails to amaze me. Although Martin Luther is credited with igniting the fires that lead to reformation, because of the doctrinal errors discovered in the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit was already moving in many hearts in Europe. From the Puritan and Waldensian movements in France 1170 A.D. to the inspiration of John Wycliffe to translate the Old and New Testaments into English 1380, seems the whole known world was hungry for the Word of God.
The Renaissance age, 14th through 16th century, brought with it a season of culture and enlightenment, even commoners were learning to read. While many scholars fled the Eastern Church in the 15th century, with the rise of Islam over the Christian dominated regions, many ancient documents came with them. With the invention of the printing press in 1456, this set the stage for the end of papal authority and rise of reformation.
It was October 31st, 1517, when a monk named Martin Luther nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, 95 errors of the Roman Catholic Church in doctrine and in practices according to the scriptures. This fire which began in Germany quickly engulfed Europe. Tried as it may, the Roman Catholic Church did not prevail in their attempts to extinguish this fire.
The scriptures were being translated and read in the language of the people. The Word of God began to change lives and revival began in the hearts of the people. Many leaders arose out of this movement, reformers like Zwingli in Switzerland (1522), John Calvin in France (1536), William Tyndale in England (1535), and John Knox in Scotland (1559). Many others joined the reformation fever, but for lack of conviction returned to the Catholic tradition.
From this reformation came many of the denominations of the body of Christ, which sprung up different regions of Europe that are prevalent today; Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and several sub-denominations of each.
I remember the words of Jesus, “Upon this rock I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18 NLT). It's a statement that the Lord is in control, protecting, guiding and leading his church on earth until the final chapter.
We, as the body of Christ, may have different religious upbringing, but it is our responsibility to read the Word of God and obey it. Just as the holy fire ignited Europe in the 16th century, may the Holy Spirit once again renew our hearts and minds to the truth!!
“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT)
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