“On October 31, 1517, Jesus, through a little-known German priest/professor named Martin Luther, came quite literally knocking on the Wittenberg door of the Roman Catholic Church.
Unrestrained corruption of power and wealth was a sin-cancer that had metastasized in the Roman Catholic Church and spread to many of her leaders and, through them, into her doctrines and practices. This cancer was killing the church. She too had grown very prosperous and yet did not realize how wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked she had become. She had not listened sufficiently to Jesus’s authoritative voice in the Scriptures, or to the prophetic voices of warning that he had repeatedly sent to her. The Lord was at the end of his patience.
But because he loved his sin-diseased church whose idolatry put her in grave spiritual danger, he sent an unlikely messenger from an unlikely town — so very like the Lord — with a hard word of loving discipline. Professor Luther walked up to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg with a hammer, a few nails, and a parchment listing 95 stinging indictments against the Roman Catholic Church. Unlike what the Laodiceans received, Luther’s theses were not inerrant Scripture. In fact, later Luther knew a number of them did not go far enough. But still, they were a largely biblical call to zealous repentance, as the first thesis so clearly captures:
When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Matthew 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
In the pounding of Martin’s hammer, Jesus came knocking. And his knocking set off a chain-reaction that exploded into the Protestant Reformation, a gospel detonation that is still shaking the world nearly 500 years later.
As a result of October 31, 1517, hundreds of millions of Christians all over the world have submitted to God’s word as their highest authority (Sola Scriptura) and his teaching that salvation is a gift given by God’s grace alone (Sola Gratia) through the instrument of faith alone (Sola Fide) in the death and resurrection of their one savior and mediator, Jesus Christ (Sola Christus), so that all glory would always redound to the Triune God alone (Sola Deo Gloria).”
On Sunday, October 29th, we will celebrate the 500th year anniversary of Luther nailing the 95 Thesis to the doors at Wittneburg and officially starting the Protestant Reformation. To prepare your heart for this Sunday and the celebration of the 500 anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, take some time to read through the following resources: