Never Forget October 31, 1517

Ramon Arias | October 26, 2015

There are undeniable historical events that changed the course of humanity for better and for worse. One of those impacting events was the 16th century Reformation in Germany, which became known as the Protestant Reformation. This shift sparked the transformation not only in the meaning of true Christianity, but also in the cultural effect in Europe, and later the ripple effect impacted much of the western world.

Martin Luther, the Augustinian monk and university lecturer in Wittenberg, sparked the flames of the Reformation, which started on October 31, 1517, with the publication of his Ninety-Five Theses posted on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

The Bible became the central focal point primarily to confront a corrupt church, and secondly, to apply it to all areas of politics and culture. The Reformation’s call was to purify the Roman Catholic Church from its corruption, but also to reject her religious traditions by applying the truth revealed in the Bible. It was proclaimed that the main theme be Sola Scriptura (only Scripture) as the only authority in all matters pertaining to life and eternity.   

Northern Europe benefited with the newfound freedom to pursue biblical knowledge and politics. The Protestant Reformation came with a great price including persecutions that lasted decades. The fierce persecutions and the Catholic Counter Reformation spilled much blood. One hundred years into the Reformation in Germany alone, with the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), it is estimated that there was a 40 percent population loss; it is a vivid reminder that Biblical Reformation is not without a cost.  

Without the Protestant Reformation there would be no fathers of modern science. The more those men of science studied the Bible, in Christian Europe, the more they concluded that the universe has order because God is the Creator of all things. When the scientific community denies creationism, history condemns them. Science means knowledge, and knowledge begins with the God of the Bible and the Scriptures. Naturalism and materialism are the scientific humanist doctrines that deny divine intervention and exalt and accept physical matter as the only reality.

Without the Protestant Reformation, there would not have been a perfecting of education, politics, economics, art, charity and other cultural areas. Luther’s challenge for a greater understanding of the Word of God found fertile ground in the hearts and minds of many Catholic priests and civil rulers.

On January 1, 1519, the priest Ulrich Zwingli from Zurich, Switzerland rejected church tradition and began to teach the Word of God in a revolutionary way that caused people to flock to his church. For the first time, the Swiss understood the relation between the Word of God and all areas of life. Thus, the spread of the Reformation began.

An undeniable truth is that without the Protestant Reformation there would be no United States of America.  We would never know this by looking at the deplorable cultural condition of our nation today. The effects of spiritual and moral decay are everywhere and that should speak volumes to us about the condition of the church. 

The lack of effective teaching of God’s moral absolutes has removed the moral compass; it has been replaced by other ideas. Humanism is one of those dominant ideas that have increasingly taken control of our culture; it is a sign of victory for them and their vision of making Christianity irrelevant by promoting their humanistic religion, which conforms to their ideology. 

Let us consider an example of the negligent church in America today and the fact that the overwhelming majority of the acting 114th Congress professes the Christian faith.  According to the Pew Research 491—out of the 535—say they are Christians and comprise 91.8%. If we break it down there are 306 Protestants (57.2%), and within this group there are Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans/Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Congregationalists, non-denomination Protestants, Pentecostals, Restorationists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Holiness, Reformed, Anabaptists, Friends/Quakers, Pietists, Unspecified/other; 164 are Catholics (30.7%); and 5 are Orthodox Christians (0.9%).

In the U.S. Senate there are 55 Protestants (55%), and 26 are Catholics (26%). [1]

No one, in either House, professes to be an atheist. Democrats and Republicans profess the Christian faith in the majority. You would think that we would have laws according to God's laws and that all issues and feuds should be settled by applying the biblical worldview to all areas. It is evident that the majority of those so-called Christians in the U.S. Congress does not consult or believe the whole Counsel of God, (Acts 20:27). And please, once and for all, stop believing the nonsense of “separation of church and state” and the “politically correct” garbage.

For the most part, Protestant or Evangelical churches define their beliefs in what they call a denominational statement of faith. The apostle Paul, in his first letter to the scripturally confused Corinthians, said, “For God is not a God of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Is the 21st-century Christian church on rock-solid biblical ground or on a foundation of sand? (Matthew 7:24-27) 

The following list is of just a few of the confusing doctrines dominating the Protestant/Evangelical church today:

Two views on Women in Ministry

Four views on the Lord’s Supper

Three views on Creation and Evolution

Four views on Divine Providence

Three views on marriage after divorce

Four views on the Book of Revelation

Three views on the Millennium and Beyond

Four views on: Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?

Three views on the Rapture

Four views on Church Government

Four views on Salvation

Five views on Biblical Inerrancy

Four views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World

Five views on Spiritual Baptism

Four views on Water Baptism

Five views on Law and Gospel

Four views on Hell

Six views on Exploring the Worship Spectrum

There are many more contradicting views on different biblical subjects. Are we to believe that every interpretation is according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit? That is far from the truth! God is not a promoter of confusion. Confusion is from a different source; do you remember Genesis 3?

You may ask, why does God allow so much confusion to go on by those who proclaim to be guided by the Holy Spirit in their interpretation of the Scriptures? The answer to that is, for the same reason he permitted Adam and Eve to make their own decisions on what to believe and whom to believe. The Word of God is not the problem, humans are.

With the explanation above, you can better understand the real problem in America and why there is no arrival at any real solutions. The dilemma is clear because we are not following the Designer’s manual in all areas of life according to God's purpose. The corruption in Protestant/Evangelical Christianity isn’t any different than 500 years ago in Catholic Europe.

There is only one solution for Christians in America; nothing short of a Biblical Reformation will suffice. We must practice the diligence of the Jews in Berea (Acts 17:11) two thousand years ago and examine the Scriptures on a daily basis to verify all the teachings, and with an open mind and heart to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to discern the truths of God versus the doctrines of men.

October 31st is not for Christians to celebrate the culture of darkness’ “Trick or treat!” or “Happy Halloween!” Rather, to see the nation under the light of the Biblical Reformation.

Those who fight against the whole counsel of God, do so at their own peril. Only the spiritually blind and enemies of the Truth of God can deny it and war against the Protestant Reformation legacy. True history is against all the enemies of Christ.

Martin Luther stood his ground. When asked to recant his Biblical belief at the Diet of Worms in1521, he answered: 

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me, Amen” [2]

Sola Scriptura (only Scripture) and nothing else will do. Never Forget October 31, 1517. The Biblical Reformation will continue with us, without us or in spite of us because God is in control. Our choice today, and until our dying breath in this world, is the answer we will give to our God and Savior and future generations in this nation and the world. The full responsibility is squarely on the shoulders of all believers in Christ in our generation. What will your answer be?