Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Reformation and Creation

As most Christians are aware, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, so don't be surprised when you see a whole passel of articles, sermons, and so forth all over the web. While major movements begin suddenly and have various events leading up to them, October 31 is considered the "official" date when Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg. Then things really took off. No, not because of the apparent vandalism, because that was the form of social media back then. Instead, things really took off because of what Luther had written.

Like Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, creationists are calling for a reformation as well: authority of Scripture
Luther nailing 95 theses, Ferdinand Pauwels, 1872 / Wikimedia Commons
Luther emphasized the solae ("alone"): Scripture, faith, and grace. In later years, "Christ alone" and "glory to God alone" were added. The religious authority of the Roman Catholic Church had usurped its authority, focusing on tradition and selling of papal indulgences. Luther also wanted the Bible available in the language of the people. A common thread is the authority of Scripture.

Biblical creationists have also spurring along a Reformation as well. Evolution is not simply a discussion for academics and scientists, but has ramifications in civil life as well, such as eugenics. Many professing Christians have compromised on the authority of Scripture in favor of atheistic interpretations of ever-changing whims of science. While creationists present evidence that refutes evolution and affirms special creation, we also emphasize upholding the authority of Scripture. Like the Reformation of 1517, many creationists are attempting to call Christians out of secularism and humanism, and back to the Word of God — beginning in Genesis. If we can't trust what God says in the first eleven chapters of the Bible, it should be no surprise that people doubt what God says about sin, repentance, and salvation!
Posting such topics for debate on church doors was the social media of the time. And like incendiary topics in today’s social media, Luther’s “post” soon went viral, setting off a long-lasting firestorm of political and theological conflict across Europe. In the world of that time, royalty and religion, princes and popes, were thoroughly entwined, so such a declaration not only rocked the foundation for church authority, it also destabilized the political structure of the day. The ensuing Reformation, replete with its heroes and villains—their identity often depending on which side of the aisle you occupied—was a turbulent time that turned theology as well as European papal and political power on its head. But apart from strictly historical aspects of the movement, what is the take-home message of the Reformation for today’s Christian?
To read the entire article, click on "The Relevance of the Reformation".
 

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