The sixteenth century Reformation was caused by a variety of factors, but none was greater than the perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ by the Roman Catholic Church. The Bible clearly teaches justification by faith alone in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins. The Roman Catholic Church labored to silence the Scriptures in order to peddle their cheap gospel. God awakened men such as Martin Luther and John Calvin and many others who would give their lives for the sake of the gospel.
Out of the Reformation came five doctrinal statements known today as the five solas of the Reformation.
- Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)
- Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
- Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
- Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
- Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone Be Glory)
Yesterday marked the 499th anniversary of the day when Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the Castle door in Wittenberg in order to protest the perversion of the true gospel of Christ. As we look back at the 499 years of church history and explore the present state of the evangelical church, an honest evaluation would reveal that the Reformation is not over. Below are ten reasons why the Reformation is not over 499 years after it began.
- The Roman Catholic Church has not repented of their perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Preaching is not, in many evangelical circles, the central mark of the local church.
- The present state of the evangelical church is filled with a love for pragmatism and a distaste for robust theology.
- The holiness of God is barely referenced much less understood among many evangelical churches.
- Worship has become man-centered as opposed to God-centered.
- Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are often trivialized and minimized.
- Church discipline is a missing mark in most evangelical churches in our present day.
- Evangelism has been replaced by gimmickry and superficial methods that seek immediate results as opposed to genuine conversion.
- Holy living has been replaced by a loose antinomian approach to redeeming the culture.
- Church membership has become a shadow of indulgences — one’s ticket to heaven in many evangelical churches.
Until Christ returns, the spirit of the Reformation will not be complete. The purity of the church and the exaltation of an unadulterated gospel will be the desire of those who continue to stand upon the shoulders of the Reformers of church history. May we labor with love and take the torch light of the gospel and continue the work of the Reformation.
As we reflect upon the Reformation of church history, we must consider the present Reformation and what’s needed to make the church treasure Christ more than anything else this world has to offer. We must refuse to recant and stand boldly upon the true gospel of Jesus Christ for the glory of God.