Monday Musings for October 30, 2017
What is tomorrow? If you are an ordinary person, you will say it is Halloween. But if you are a Lutheran, or someone interested in church history, you will know that tomorrow is the 500th anniversary of the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany. Why should we care about that? We should care because that was the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
The United Methodist Church is one of many, many Protestant churches today. The Protestants split from the Catholics 500 years ago, at a time when the Catholic Church had lost its way. Catholics today will freely acknowledge that. There was a time when “Catholic-bashing” was common in Protestant churches. Thankfully those days are in the distant past. The Catholic Church is a great church today, and we Protestants should always regard it as our “Mother Church”. It gave birth to us. So we should look upon it with the greatest respect.
This might be a good opportunity to review the three “Protestant Principles”. (Ironically, most Catholics would agree today with all three, but not in 1517.)
1) Justification by faith alone. In other words, salvation is a gift of God, not something we earn by doing good works.
2) The priesthood of all believers. In others words, your priest (or pastor) is not your intermediary to God. Jesus Christ is our intermediary. That’s why we typically end of prayers with the words “through Jesus Christ”, or something similar. Through Jesus, all believers have direct access to God. Therefore, we all are equal before God.
3) The authority of the Bible. In other words, God’s truth is to be found in the Bible, not in what your priest or pastor tells you about the Bible. Significantly, Gutenberg developed his printing press and printed his first Bible in 1455. So finally, the common people could read for themselves what the Bible says, and reach their own conclusions.
Bibles are readily available today. Do you read it for yourself and reach your own conclusions?