Protestants celebrate Reformation

By User: Cethegus (Own work) [Public domain, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses is celebrated on Reformation Day.

Though the date of October 31 is most widely known as the celebration of Halloween with children dressed as ghouls, ghosts and goblins, the day is actually significant for another lesser known historical event. October 31 is renowned in church history as Reformation Day. While it is doubtful that you will see any children walking from door to door in Martin Luther garb on this particular night, he along with other fundamental reformers made an extensive impact on the manner in which evangelical Christians comprehend Scripture.

As the Protestant Reformation developed over the course of many years and with the assistance and persistence of numerous people, it didn’t come into the focus of mainstream society until a monk named Martin Luther hung his world renowned 95 Theses to the door of the All Saint’s Church in Wittenberg back in 1517.

The Catholic priest did so in a desperate effort to spread knowledge of the corruption that was occurring within his beloved Ecclesiarch. One of the most famous of these charges consisted of the sale of “indulgences” which guaranteed access to heaven through the forgiveness of sins for their departed loved ones.

Unfortunately, these outrageous corrupt practices were arising outside of Germany and across Europe. With Luther’s proclamation, similar protests began moving across the board led by other famous reformists such as John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli and John Knox. Aside from their dissent for the corruption within the church, developing Protestant movements were challenging a vast array of theological traditions from the Roman Catholic Church as a whole.

As Reformers firmly believed that Scripture was the only true authority for Christians in opposition to the widely held belief in human traditions and the verdicts of the church, salvation was becoming better known as a free gift from God which could only be earned through the performance of good deeds. With widespread publication and distribution of the Holy Bible, the entirety of the public ranging from the poor to the wealthy were able to freely learn the Scriptures which became the founding legacy of the Reformation movement that has endured for centuries since.

The hundred years which followed the Protestant Reformation may have been a time of chaos and violence. However, the Reformation managed to survive and is now the basis of all Protestant denominations. As a whole, Protestants owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the reformers who fought so hard and risked so very much to rebuild the church. Non-Protestant Christians alike can also value the efforts of these reformers who confronted corruption head on. So take the time on this holiday best known for candy and costumes to appreciate and consider the sacrifices which were made to bring us our religious freedom and eliminate historically atrocious religious corruption within our beloved churches. 

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