In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I have dedicated about three posts to remembering just what happened during that time. My plan was to delve a little deeper into it and expand–until I recognized a couple of things. First, most of my readers were generally uninterested in reading about the Reformation and so I was doing a ton of research and work for only a few. Which is fine, if not for the second thing I recognized: There are many good people who already did the research and wrote about it. And so, for those of you who are interested, I am going to provide some great places to go to learn more.
But before I do, I want to clarify why I was writing on the Reformation to begin with. My main purpose in writing this series is because the church in 2017 has walked far away from what took place 500 years ago. During the time of the Reformation, Five Solas were developed that took the church back to biblical theology and principles. They were–
Sola Scriptura(Scripture Alone)
Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Be Glory)
(You can read a little more about these Five Solas here.)
In practice, the modern day church has left many of these Solas covered in dust behind them. For example, in its efforts to toss tradition and be modern, the church is uniting with religions that require works for salvation and in its efforts to gratify a congregation that is obsessed with feelings, they are encouraging the people to believe that their personal experiences are the valid and authoritative words of God. And, yet, we can see that if we understand these Five Solas, so much of the confusion in the church today is clarified. It serves us well to reflect on church history as we navigate the current church waters. I found this wonderful article entitled Ten Reasons Why The Reformation is Not Over by Josh Buice over at Delivered by Grace that expounds this thought further. Here are ten reasons why he believes the Reformation isn’t over (and I agree!)–
- The Roman Catholic Church has not repented of their perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Preaching is not, in many evangelical circles, the central mark of the local church.
- The present state of the evangelical church is filled with a love for pragmatism and a distaste for robust theology.
- The holiness of God is barely referenced much less understood among many evangelical churches.
- Worship has become man-centered as opposed to God-centered.
- Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are often trivialized and minimized.
- Church discipline is a missing mark in most evangelical churches in our present day.
- Evangelism has been replaced by gimmickry and superficial methods that seek immediate results as opposed to genuine conversion.
- Holy living has been replaced by a loose antinomian approach to redeeming the culture.
- Church membership has become a shadow of indulgences — one’s ticket to heaven in many evangelical churches.
*pragmatism is doing what works (as opposed to what’s right)
*antinomianism is the belief that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law
(Read the rest of this article here.)
And so we can see that the Reformation will never be over. As long as sinners are at the helm of the church, there will be deception, chicanery, and corruption. While we should never expect a perfect church, we can and should stand and fight for the truth, as it is necessary. The Five Solas can help us understand exactly what is going on and where the church is going wrong. A study of the Reformation is very worth your time and I highly recommend it!
Here are the resources I promised (it is by no means an an exhaustive list, but it will get you started)–
*Please note that I have not read or listened to all of these. Please, as always, be a Berean and compare all you hear and read to the Bible.