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Lincoln Herald | Lincolnton, NC

home : religion : religion August 15, 2018

10/15/2017 12:14:00 AM
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.'
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

Did you know that 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation? Some of you reading this will know what I’m talking about, and others may be thinking “What is the Reformation?” That’s a good question and I’m glad you asked!

The Reformation was a 16th century religious movement led by a man named Martin Luther who was a Catholic German professor of theology, a composer, priest, and a monk. He boldly rejected key teachings of the all-powerful Roman Catholic Church. He questioned the idea that freedom from God’s punishment for sin could be purchased by paying the church money known as “indulgences” which were certificates believed to reduce the temporal punishment for sins committed by the purchasers, or their loved ones in purgatory. He believed this was a corrupt practice that was making the church rich while discouraging Christians from giving to the poor.

Martin Luther wrote his famous “95 Theses” and tacked them to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg Germany in 1517, asking that the Catholic church debate his 95 proposals for reform in the church.

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Martin Luther challenged the authority of the Pope by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge from God, and that salvation is the free gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Up to that point, the Bible was only available in Latin to Catholic church leaders and could not be read by the general public. He translated the Bible into German and made it available to ordinary people for the first time. This had a tremendous impact on the church and German culture.

His refusal to renounce all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 resulted in his excommunication and condemnation as an outlaw by the Emperor. Little did he know that his courageous acts would split the Catholic church in what is now known as the Reformation and lead to the Protestant church movement that so many of us are a part of today.

His hymns influenced the development of singing in Protestant churches, and his marriage to a former nun set a precedent for clerical marriage.

If you are a member of a Protestant church, if you carry a bible that you can read and understand yourself, if your relationship with Christ is your path to salvation, if you sing hymns in church, and if your pastor is married – you can thank Martin Luther and the Reformation for these things and many more reforms that we take for granted in the traditions we follow in our churches today.

Would you like to know more about how Martin Luther changed the world? Emanuel Reformed Church will be showing a two-part PBS film series as our kick off to celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Part One “Driven to Defiance” will show on October 23 at 7:00pm and October 26 at 12:30pm. Part Two “The Reluctant Revolutionary” will show on October 30 at 7:00pm or November 2 at 12:30pm. The films are approximately 53 minutes each and will be shown in the sanctuary of the church.

Emanuel Reformed Church is the beautiful church downtown across the street from the post office. Please join us in our celebration of the Reformation and how it changed the Christian faith.

Rev. Susan Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church

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