Yay It’s Halloween…I Mean Reformation Day !
Today is October 31. And we all know what that means. It is the day before All Hallows Day, which the Roman Catholic Church instituted in place of the Gaelic “Samhain” celebration. All Hallows Day is more commonly referred today to as “All Saints Day.” Most of us do not know the history behind this day, but we all know the result: Halloween. A day when children dress up and go “trick or treating,” carve Jack o’ lanterns, and go to bed on a sugar high.
But what gets overlooked by most protestant Christians is that October 31st really has great significance for us. It was on this day in 1517, Martin Luther wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting against the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” which later came to be more commonly known as The 95 Theses. While this is widely considered the official beginning of the European Reformation, the wheels were already turning for reformation in Europe long before Luther picked up a hammer and nailed his 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Chapel door. 143 years earlier, in 1374, John Wycliffe denounced the sale of indulgences and verbally attacked the Pope. Forty years after his death in 1384, the Roman Church declared Wycliffe a heretic and dug up his bones and had them burnt. After John Wycliffe, Jan Hus (John Huss) is considered the first Church reformer living prior to the “great” reformers Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. Hus was burnt at the stake in 1414 for his opposition to the Church at Rome.
During the reformation of the 1500’s there was a profound turning from the heretical Romanist views and a return to preaching and teaching the pure gospel. The reformation focused on mission work within the Roman Catholic areas of the world, and many people were martyred for bringing the pure Word of God. The beautiful thing is that reformation is still happening. God is still moving and working in the world today. For instance there is a reformation happening in Brazil right now, as many people turn from the health& wealth and prosperity “gospel” to the true gospel of Christ. In many countries around the world today, The Reformation continues. It isalso estimated that 5-6 million Muslims convert to Biblical Christianity every year and according to GCTS an average of 159,960 Christians worldwide are martyred for their faith each year.
God is still equipping saints to preach the gospel of Christ; the Holy Spirit is still working faith in unrepentant hearts. It is Reformation Day. Let’s pray that God would continue to reform and build the church. The reformation is not just history. The reformation is happening right now. Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!