They Wanted Reformation, NOT Revolution

The Protestant Reformation is officially recognized as beginning with Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses on the church door at Wittenburg, on October 31, 1517. That is why we and many other Christians celebrated the 500th anniversary in 2017.

 

However, any time the church has been revived by a faithful servant pointing us back to God’s Word, the Reformation has truly been alive. That said, the New Testament Authors, Paul, Peter, John, and the writer of Hebrews were all “Pre-Reformers” for the wayward early church and our contemporaries like Albert MohlerJeff Vanderstelt, Matt Chandler, David Platt, Sam Storms,  John Piper, and the late R.C. Sproul, are Reformation voices for the church today.  

But, back now to the 16th century…  

Roused to action by the corruption and abuses they saw in the Roman Catholic church, pastors and theologians like Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale, Heinrich Bullinger and John Calvin spearheaded a movement that sought to bring Christianity back to its biblical and historical roots.

The Reformers were guided by the conviction that the church of their day had drifted away from the essential, original teachings of Christianity, especially in regard to what it was teaching about salvation—how people can be forgiven of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and receive eternal life with God. The Reformation sought to "reform" Christianity to its original teaching and practice.

The 5 Solas

The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Reformation to summarize  the essentials of Christianity. We affirm them as a church and maintain their continued relevance in the present day.

Grace Alone
(Sola Gratia)

In salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our un-regenerated human nature.

Faith Alone
(Sola Fide)

Our justification, which frees us from the penalty from God for our sin, is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification, Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice. We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us.

Christ Alone
(Solus Christus)

Our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.

We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ's substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.

Scripture Alone
(Sola Scriptura)

The inerrant Scripture is to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience. We deny that the Holy Spirit speaks contrary to what is set forth in the Bible.

To the Glory of God Alone (Soli Deo Gloria)

Since salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God's glory alone. We find out joy as we glorify Him above all else. We live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone. This means that we are designed to Glorify God, not only in our times of Church gatherings, but also as we scatter into the world. Whether we teach, or manage households, or weld, or work on a factory floor, an operating room, or an office — or anything else, anywhere else, with anyone else — we do all things as unto the Lord.

The Doctrines of Grace

Standing with the Five Solas in the Reformation are the Doctrines of Grace. These five key teachings found in the Bible were written down as articles by the Synod of Dort in 1610. They underline the vitally important truth that God is in control of all things, not us; that God is the source of salvation; and that we can do nothing to save ourselves. The Doctrines of Grace glorify God, not man, and emphasize our total dependence as guilty sinners on the mercy and grace of God for salvation.

Radical Depravity

Because of the fall, we are unable—of ourself—to savingly believe the gospel. At the root of who we are BEFORE Christ gives us grace, the sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; our hearts are deceitful and desperately corrupt. Our will is not actually free, in that our will is in bondage to sin. Therefore, we will not — indeed we cannot — choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ — it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift of salvation— it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.

This Doctrine in the Bible: 1 Cor. 2:14; Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12; 2 Cor. 1:9; Eph. 2:1-3, 12; Jer. 13:23; Ps. 51:5; John 3:3; Rom. 3:10-12; Job 14:4; 1 Cor. 1:18; John 5:21; Matt. 11:25; John 14:16; John 3:19

Sovereign Election

God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. Our faith, repentance, etc., are the result, not the cause God’s choice. So, our election was not determined by, or conditioned upon, any virtuous quality or act foreseen in us. Those whom God sovereignly elected, He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God’s choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

This Doctrine in the Bible: Eph. 1:4-5; Rom. 8:29-30, 33; Rom. 9:11-23; John 15:16; Psalm 65:4; 105;6; Mark 13:20; 2 Thess. 2:13; Matt. 24:24, 31; 1 Thess. 1:4; Rom. 11:7; 1 Tim. 5:21; Rom. 11:5; 2 Tim. 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1; 2:9; 5:13; 1 Thess. 5:9; Acts 13:48; John 6:37, 65; 13:18; 15:16; 17:9

Definite Atonement

Jesus’ redeeming work was intended to save his elect people and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in our place. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ’s redemption secured everything necessary for our salvation, including faith which unites us to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, therefore guaranteeing their salvation

This Doctrine in the Bible: Matt. 1:21; 20:28; 26:28; John 6:37-40; 10:11, 15, 26; 17:9; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25-27; Isaiah 53:12; Rom. 8:32-33; 1 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 5:9; 9:28; 10:14

Irresistible Call

In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God’s grace. therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.

This Doctrine in the Bible: Isa. 55:5, 6, 10-12; Psa. 65:4; John 6:37, 44, 45, 64-66; 8:43, 47; 10:26-27; 12:32; Acts 16:14-15; Rom. 8:14, 28, 30; 9:19; 11:29; 1 Cor. 1:9; 12:3; Phil. 1:29; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:11-14; 2 Tim. 1:9

Preserving of the Saints

All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end.

This Doctrine in the Bible: John 6:37, 39, 40; 10:28-29; 15:16; Rom. 8:1, 33-35, 38-39; 11:29; 1 Cor. 1:4-9; Eph. 1:14; Phil. 1:6; Heb 6:13, 17-19; 1 John 2:19

To get a good, easy to read overview of the reformation, buy this book...

“The word reformation comes from the Latin verb reformo, which means ‘to form again, mold anew, or revive.’ The Reformers did not see themselves as inventors, discoverers, or creators. Instead they saw their efforts as rediscovery. They weren’t making something from scratch but were reviving what had become dead. They looked back to the Bible and to the apostolic era, as well as to early church fathers such as Augustine (354–430) for the mold by which they could shape the church and re-form it. The Reformers had a saying, “Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda,” meaning “the church reformed, always reforming.” ~ Stephen J. Nichols. (The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World {Kindle Locations 210-213}. Crossway Books) 

REFORMATIONlinks: We've Compiled Hours of Helpful FREE Resources for you to study up on the Reformation

From the Gospel Coalition:

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the 95 Theses Were and Were Not:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/luther-ninety-five-theses-what-you-may-not-know-why-they-matter-today

 

Five Reasons to Teach Your Kids About the Reformation (with helpful links, books and tools included):

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-reasons-to-teach-your-kids-about-reformation

Why the Reformation Matters Today (Video):

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/keller-piper-and-carson-on-why-reformation-matters-today

After Darkness, Light:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/reformation-rescued-the-gospel

Why Didn’t the Reformers Unite?

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-didnt-the-reformers-unite

Is the Reformation Over?

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/is-the-reformation-over-a-statement-of-evangelical-convictions

The Big Hang-ups that keep us from uniting with the Roman Catholic church:

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2014/10/31/is-the-reformation-over-2/

The Reformation idea that Scripture Alone guides our faith and life also includes the idea that we take ALL of Scripture as our guide instead of simply grabbing verses out of context to get what we want instead of what God wills. With that in mind, we see in the following article, how the Protestant Reformation also Protests against the false teaching, not only of the Roman Catholic Church, but also of the “Prosperity Gospel” teachings.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-errors-of-the-prosperity-gospel

The Reformation and Your Church: 9Marks Journal — Fall 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This site (also downloadable to your mobile device) is loaded with great articles for pastors and members of the church! https://www.9marks.org/journal/the-reformation-and-your-church/

From the Sola 13 Conference (Videos):

Introduction video above

Watch the rest of the messages and Panel Discussions at: 

http://sola13.com/

From Grace To You: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Are There So Many Denominations?

https://www.gty.org/resources/articles/A356/Why-So-Many-Denominations

Gospel Unity Connecting Many Denominations

https://www.gty.org/resources/articles/A323/Unity-Across-Denominational-Lines

 

From Together for the Gospel:

What we Believe  and Deny as Reformed Churches across Denominational Lines

http://t4g.org/about/affirmations-and-denials/

We Are PROTESTant (Series of Video and Audio Teachings)

http://t4g.org/t4g-year/2016/

From Ligonier Ministries:

The Next 500 Years: 2017 National Conference

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/conferences/next-500-years-2017-national-conference/

The Doctrines of Grace in John by Steven Lawson (We have a copy of this teaching on CD for you to check out from the Church Library, or you can order a CD, DVD, or Download of  it online)

http://www.ligonier.org/store/the-doctrines-of-grace-in-john-dvd/

Doctrine Divides

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/doctrine-divides/

Warsaw Baptist Church

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