In the evening of October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a paper with “95 Theses” to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. His intention was to initiate an academic debate over abuses and errors in the church at that time. However, his words sparked not only a debate, but an entire movement aimed at reforming the whole church. While some embraced the Reformation, others resisted it. In the end, the Roman Catholic Church split, and our Lutheran Church became a separate organization. Along with the Lutheran Church, a number of “Protestant” Churches were formed on Reformation principles. Also, the Reformation moved even its enemies in the Roman Catholic Church to effect some of their own reforms (although to our minds there are still some fundamental errors which need to be corrected).
The Reformation called people to leave behind their unfounded ideas and their human traditions about God, and to return to Biblical principles. The Reformation emphasized that God saves us purely out of love (not because of our works), through faith in Jesus Christ. The slogans of the Reformation continue in our Lutheran Church today: Sola Scriptura (“the Scriptures alone”), Sola Gratia (“by grace alone”), and Sola Fide (“by faith alone”).
Today we celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of this Reformation. We give thanks to God for having renewed His Church, and we ask that He reform our hearts so that we may follow Him as faithfully as our forefathers in the faith.
– from the introduction to Reformation Day Worship by Rev. Richard Schlak of the Lutheran Hispanic Missionary Institute
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