Back in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous protest letter to the door of Wittenburg Church, so launching the Protestant Reformation. Like him, and the Reformers who followed, we are convinced that:
1. We are saved by Grace Alone. It’s God’s generosity, and not our own pale attempts to be good or religious or impressive that bring us into his family.
2. We respond by faith alone. Our response is to rely on the sacrifice of Jesus (his death on the cross), and to keep relying on him to the end. That’s all. He does the saving, we do the trusting. That’s faith.
3. Our leader and mediator is Christ alone. No Pope, Priest, or Pastor is going to stand between us and God the Father, because Jesus is the perfect mediator, and the full and complete sacrifice for our sin. That’s why we’re led by ordinary people who are appointed from the church as elders, some who are well trained as Bible teachers (see below). None of our leaders are super spiritual, and none of them will ever pretend to stand between you and God. Just go straight to Jesus instead.
4. We are guided by Scripture alone. Not that the Bible tells us how to fix the car or tells us what’s on TV this week, but that when it comes to knowing the mind of God, we don’t depend on visions or feelings or traditions or even human reason – but God’s revelation of himself in his Word. That’s why we keep pushing the idea of clear, Christ centred Bible teaching.
5. The glory belongs to God alone. Which follows from all the above. We thank God for saving us, and live out that gratitude.
Listen to the Bible Talk on this topic (mp3 format)
Download the Podcast (m4a format)
Resources and Links
Read Luther’s original “95 Theses” here.
Read a simplified modern translation here.
Read the Wikipedia article on “The Five Solas“.
Westminster Confession of Faith
The reformation in Scotland saw the formation of the Presbyterian Church (which literally means ‘ruled by Presbyters, or ‘elders.’) The basic doctrines of the church were summarised in The Westminster Confession of Faith. Elders and Ministers in the Presbyterian Church are required to state their willingness to ‘assert, maintain and defend the Westminster confession read in the light of the Declaratory Statement of 1901.’ The Declaratory Statement allows some liberty of opinion on some clauses of the Confession, and was the mechanism by which the various Australian states churches were able to come to agreement on the doctrinal basis of the national denomination in 1901. The Declaratory statement has six clauses. Among other things, these clauses require the Church to:
1. be grounded on the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation,
2. accept the events of the incarnation, life, death resurrection and ascension of Jesus and the events at Pentecost as real supernatural events,
3. be eager to preach the gospel to all
4. hold out the moral law of God as binding on all people
5. affirm the freedom of the Church from all civil headship and control,
6. allow liberty of opinion on matters in the subordinate standard not essential to the doctrine it teaches so long as this liberty is not abused to the injury of the unity and peace of the Church.
Reformation History – A Video
Take a look at this video documentary on the Reformation:
Reformation Video Part 2:
Here’s an interesting article from The Times, with Pope Benedict said to be ‘rehabilitating Martin Luther.’ Spokesman Cardinal Kasper says:
“We have much to learn from Luther, beginning with the importance he attached to the word of God.” It was time for a “more positive” view of Luther, whose reforms had aroused papal ire at the time but could now be seen as having “anticipated aspects of reform which the Church has adopted over time”.