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A SUGGESTED TOPIC
Evangelicals around the world owe a debt of gratitude to those who stood up for the Priesthood of the believer. and the fight to get the Bible into the hand of the people, in their language. The Reformation was much more than this but, for me, these are two significant subjects that we stand on to today.
Much has been written on this subject and I do not, and cannot, add to what has been said well already. What I am going to do is share snippets from another website on this subject for you to read, and hopefully enjoy the dynamics of this thing called... The Reformation.
What is the Protestant Reformation (click on the title to go to carm.org website)
by Luke Wayne
The Protestant Reformation is a movement that began in the 16th century in Europe as a response to a variety of unbiblical traditions that had developed in medieval Roman Catholicism. It is a call to return to the authority of Scripture and to the biblical gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone. It also dawned as a renouncement of various unbiblical beliefs and practices such as transubstantiation, the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice, the supremacy of the papacy, prayers to dead saints, and the veneration of images. Everywhere that the Reformation took hold also led quickly to the translation of the Bible into the common languages of the region and generally to great increases in literacy as priority was given to teaching Christians to read and study the word of God for themselves.
While reformation efforts sprung up in various places and came to some differing conclusions on secondary issues, the teachings that united them into what we collectively call the Protestant Reformation are:
- Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) - Protestants affirm that Scripture is the sole, infallible rule of faith. The Bible is the ultimate authority in the Christian life and in the Church. Other authorities exist as established by Scripture (parents, pastors, civil governments, etc.) but these are not infallible nor ultimate in their authority. They are answerable to the final authority, the revealed and unchanging word of God. This is why protestants put such emphasis on literacy and Bible translation, and also why they were careful to distinguish between the true Scriptures and the apocryphal works which some in their time erroneously accepted as Scripture. (It is worth noting that even the Roman Catholic church did not formally define the Apocrypha as part of their Canon of Scripture until after the Protestant Reformation. When the Reformation began, even many prominent Roman Catholics also rejected the Apocrypha).
- Sola Christus (Christ Alone) - Protestants affirm that salvation is found in Christ alone. His sacrifice is complete, perfect, and wholly sufficient. Salvation cannot be attained in any other way or through any other means. Further, nothing must be, nor indeed can be, added to the sacrifice of Christ to attain salvation; not one's own works nor the merits of saints, Mary, angels, pilgrimages to sacred sites, nor indulgences of grace from the Pope. From beginning to end, salvation is found in Christ alone.
- Sola Gratia (Grace Alone) - Protestants affirm that salvation is not something that a Christian ever merits or deserves. Forgiveness of sin, regeneration, justification, sanctification, and our future hope of eternal life are all given to us solely by the grace of God on the basis of His benevolence. Salvation is a gift of God's mercy and not a wage based on our worthiness or merit. Salvation, therefore, is a testimony to God's goodness over against our sinfulness and total inability and is never a grounds for human boasting in our selves or our efforts.
- Sola Fide (Faith Alone) - Protestants affirm that we receive God's grace and salvation through faith alone, apart from any work or merit. We do not come into God's grace through our own deeds of righteousness nor through rites, rituals, or ordinances. We receive God's grace solely through believing on Jesus Christ and the sufficiency of His perfect Sacrifice. Such faith then leads us into good works, worship, and even the ritual life of the local church, but these things are results of having saving faith and do not contribute to our justification before God. They are the fruit of our salvation, not a part of its cause.
- Sola Deo Gloria (Glory of God Alone) - Protestants affirm that our salvation since it is entirely by God's grace and based solely on the merits of Christ's finished sacrifice, is to the eternal Glory of God alone.
* More on this subject later in the week.
WHAT I DO IS NOT A JOB
One of my favorite books, written by man, is Brother, we are not Professionals" by John Piper. The premise of the book is to remind all Pastors that what we do is not to be a CEO of a company or an organization but to fulfill a calling, placed upon us by Jehovah God. The calling we have is of more importance than the job any CEO of any size company on the planet. We are called to reach people who do not want to be reached... train people who do not want to be trained... correct people when they don't want to be corrected... weep with people who are hurting... rejoice with people who are glad. Do you notice the common denominator in those statements? It is "people".
I am going to share with you, over the next few letters, the things from my journey as a Pastor that thrill me and those things that bring me heartache. Why would I do this? After almost 40 years of ministry, I have come to the conclusion that most church going people really do not know the intricacies of a Pastor's heart. What I am going to share may not be true of all Pastors but it is true of this one... and a few others I know.
WHAT THRILLS THE PASTOR
- Knowing what we are called to do is designed to impact people. Most Pastor's, I believe, want to make a difference in the lives of others.
- Sharing the gospel and seeing lost people saved. This should excite all Christians, as it never gets boring or old.
- Studying for sermons. There is a lot of things that can get in the way of this but for Pastor's, this is the most precious time during the week.
- Preaching. Whether or not I have the skills other preachers have is not the concern but to share what God has laid upon my heart to the people I am called to lead... there is nothing like it.
- People who love the church and I can count on them to participate in her ministries. Life is busy... things are demanding... those who I know I can count on to help in the journey are priceless.
- Church members who come to realize that church is not about them. This is not meant to be taken as a negative but a positive. It thrills this Pastor when God's people begin to see they have a role in God's plan and it circles around God, not any individual. Oh, all the things that can be done when God's people get out of God's way.
- A shared testimony. I shout for joy inside, every time one of my people share with me How God is speaking to them and how they are so excited to be used by God for His greater purposes.
The list can go on but I will end it there. Tomorrow (or Wednesday)... The things that bring me heartache.
What is the significance of the linen belt?