Loving people with the heart of Christ in the heart of Wabash.

Philippians 2:3-5

A Milestone Worth Celebrating

On a recent trip to Walmart, I noticed something surprising. With mere weeks to go before a major milestone, there is literally zero attention being paid in the store. This is so unlike Walmart, after all school supplies have been available since the day after school let out, and Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations will probably be on the shelves next week.

Sadly, I found no decorations, no special recipes, no party hats to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation: October 31st, 1517, “a date that will live in infamy.”

But before you roll your eyes all the way back, I want to commend to your remembrance this event. It’s a much bigger deal than we might realize. The Reformation is a major turning point in human history. And not just because a monk in Wittenberg filled out a comment card with 95 “suggestions,” and then posted it on the door of Castle Church. The world of the 16th Century was pulsating with possibility, and ready to emerge from a very dark age.

Now among the many cultural, scientific, and religious changes that took place were:

  • The Heliocentric understanding of our solar system.
  • The development of the modern university system.
  • Invention of the Guttenberg Printing Press.
  • Translation of the Bible from the Latin into the common tongue, German. Not only did it foster literacy, but it was the first time that people were able to read the Bible for themselves. Luther’s Translation of the Bible was also the standard for modern German language.

But at the heart of the Reformation was a renewal of the Church’s central mission: to proclaim Jesus Christ above all. Individuals like Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin sought to draw the Church back to her original purpose by stripping away layers and layers of religious “stuff” that had built up over the years, obscuring the precious gem of the Gospel.

Among the many significant steps towards greater clarity are five bold affirmations that emerged—we know them as the five solas. They provide the razor-sharp focus of what this movement was all about.

Sola gratia “By grace alone.” We rely on God’s grace alone for our righteousness.

Sola fide“By faith alone.” Nothing we do can win the righteousness we need before God, it’s only by faith.

Solus Christus“Christ alone” is our Savior.

Sola Scriptura“Scripture alone” is our authority and instruction for faith and life.

Soli Deo Gloria“To God alone be glory.” God has made all things and controls them all in divine love. God alone is to be praised and honored.

These five core affirmations give us our central focus, one that Protestant Christians for nearly half of a millennia have shared. And as the recipients of this focused, uncluttered, and hopeful message of faith and salvation, we have a chance this October to join Christians all over the world in recommitting our lives to Christ alone, through faith alone, by grace alone, by the mediation of scripture alone.

Who knows, maybe before then maybe even Walmart will take notice.

Soli Deo GloriaJonathan signature updated transparent


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