Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Reformation

Posted by Christine Pack (a short paper written by my oldest son)

After Christ's death and resurrection, the true church was driven underground by fierce persecution. During the Middle Ages, Satan's counterfeit church (the Roman Catholic church) began to gain control over the citizens of Europe. This happened because of the deceit of the Catholic church and its leaders. Many lies spread by the Catholic church served to keep the people in spiritual bondage. One lie was that the priests could pray to help deceased loved ones enter into heaven. The church was “selling” these prayers for money. Another lie of the false church was that dying people should deed their properties to the priests. This lie also served to enrich the Catholic church. Unsurprisingly, at this time, the Catholic church grew in power and control over the people.

The printing press
The beginning of the Reformation was, surprisingly, the printing press. Who would have thought such a humble invention would bring about such great things? Soon, the Bible and other books were being spread throughout Europe. Yet, there was another problem. The Bible had not been translated into the common languages of the people of Europe. Only priests and trained scholars could read the Bible, and they weren't exactly about to spread the Good News of how man was reconciled to God. They were too entrenched in their luxurious lifestyles. This is why the printing press did not bring about dramatic changes at first; that is, until a certain man came along. This man was Martin Luther. Martin Luther was a scholar born into a highly educated family, whose father desired for him to become a lawyer. At one point in his life, being afraid of a fierce storm, Martin Luther prayed and vowed that he would be God's servant if God would deliver him from the storm. God spared his life and Luther became a monk. But Luther became angry at the Catholic church because he read in the Bible that salvation was through grace alone by faith alone in Christ's atoning death – and this was radically different from what the priests taught the people.

Martin Luther acted boldly to free the people from spiritual bondage. He wrote ninety-five points (or theses, as they came to be known) that directly challenged the teachings of the Catholic church, and which explained to the citizens the treachery of the church leaders. He then nailed these Ninety-Five Theses on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany! This act was the spark that ignited what came to be known as The Reformation. Martin Luther, along with others, worked to translate the Bible into the languages of the people. Those who fought for truth, and against the teachings of the Catholic church, were called “Protest-ants,” (because they were protesting against Rome) and eventually became known as Protestants, a designation still used today. The Reformation was the way that God brought the light of truth into the darkness that characterized most of the known world during the Middle Ages. To God be the glory!

 Additional Resources 

After The Darkness, Light (another short paper written by my youngest son)