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The Reformation: What It is and How It Has Changed the World

Hi everyone! It’s the 500th anniversary of the Reformation today, and, to commemorate the event, I’m going to post an article about what the Reformation is and how it changed the world. This is actually an article I wrote for my journalism class at my homeschool co-op, with my friend Rachel. I hope you enjoy it!

The Reformation: What It is and How It Has Changed the World

This October 31st is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. But after all this time, is the Reformation even relevant to us anymore? And what is the Reformation, anyway? The Reformation was a shift back to the Truth that is still relevant to us, even after 500 years. A German monk, Martin Luther, started a protest that exploded into a worldwide movement and is still affecting us today. Even though the church had overpowered Europe with unbiblical rules, Martin Luther persisted to say that “By grace we have been saved through faith.” His view on the Bible and on faith sparked the Reformation, which changed the world.

By 1517 A.D., Europe was a spiritual and theological mess. Ever since Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in 313 A.D., the church had gradually become more and more commercialized and watered down. But much worse, the church had also become a place of selfishness, idolatry, and greed. Even after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church, under leadership of the Pope, held much of Europe under its thumb. No one but the priests were allowed access to the Scriptures, and those who tried to translate the Bible to make it accessible to the public were burned alive. Priests were selling indulgences, which were ways to buy your soul or the soul of your loved one out of purgatory. Many of the practices of the Roman Catholic church were unbiblical at best and brutal at worst. It was high time for some major changes.

On October 31st, 1517, a middle-aged monk named Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Church in Germany. The 95 theses listed problem after problem with the Roman Catholic Church, but five rose above the rest as the most important issues. Martin Luther insisted that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, based on the authority of Scripture alone. These were known as the Five Solas, based on their Latin names. It was with these five truths, from which the Roman Catholic Church had long since strayed, that the Reformation began. Over the years, many men and women carried on the Legacy left by Martin Luther, two of the most famous being John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli. In reality, though, the Reformation had been brewing for years before these men, with several Bible translators, such as John Wycliffe and William Tyndale, setting the stage for the Reformation long before Luther’s time. All of these people stood together in the struggle to uphold the truth of the gospel, without compromise, and this is what has been called the Reformation.

The Reformation may have happened five centuries ago, but it is still important to Christians today. The doctrines that were integral to the Reformation–those of salvation by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, and to the glory of God alone–are still the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. As a result, October 31st, 1517 A.D., was one of the most significant turning points in church history. It was a transformation from heresy back to truth. God, though the Reformation, shone a light on the good news of the gospel, that salvation comes through faith alone, when it was desperately needed and changed the church in a miraculous way.

I hope you liked it! Let me know in the comments below. 🙂


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