Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Belated Reformation Day to All!

So, I literally have 5 minutes, 5 MINUTES, to express some sort of profound love for what is known in huge circles as Halloween, but in choice circles as Reformation Day.  Yesterday is quite possibly my favorite holiday (aside from Christmas Eve, that will always remain #1 with a bullet).  We celebrate Luther nailing 95 thesis to Wittenberg's church door written against the works-based salvation through the system of indulgences that was proclaimed at one time in the RCC.

Luther was not the beginning of free-form thinking that went against the papacy, but he was at such a time that it became the most widespread revolt against it - what with the moveable press taking off, the German princes wanting to stand up for themselves, and well, the near bankruptcy of the RCC.  All of these added up to one massive revolution, that was intended to be a reformation. 

I must confess, I do not have any brilliant thoughts on the subject of the Reformation, just a few questions that I want you to ponder over.  First, let's all agree that for all its original intentions, the Reformation failed.  While, saying this, you might get a little squirmy in your seat, but it's true.  Luther wanted to reform the Roman Catholic Church, not start a new church.  While, his attempt failed, I whole-heartedly agree that Luther had every right to stand firm on the truth of the Gospel.  I wouldn't be here today if he didn't. 

If you google the question, "How many Christians are there in the world?" the typical response will be that there is somewhere in the ballpark of 2.1 billion*.  The asterisk is there, always, because it is hard to define what a Christian really is.  Yep, I kid you not, being a Christian is almost undefineable for the outsider.  If you google, "How many Muslims are there in the world?" there is no asterisk.  Just a straight number.  Now, I am not suggesting that this is the fault of Luther and Reformation Day.  But, it is something to think about.  Luther and the Reformers started the ability to question the authority, especially when the authority placed itself higher than the Word of God.  This, of course, is a great thing.  But, it is a scary thing that there is no certainty now in the world's ability to define what a Christian is.  There are so many denominations, so many different practices, so many theological debates - the outsider looking in is going to be confused, and happy to place * next to our name. 

Ponder that for a moment, or a day, or a week - and ask yourself what am I doing to help Christianity not be defined with a *?  Then ask yourself, what definition am I giving it?  If it is more than the simple Gospel, that we are saved by faith through Christ alone, then we have something more to ponder, yes? 

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