Five hundred years ago on October 31, 1517, a German theologian named Martin Luther nailed a protest (with 95 bullet points!) on the door of a local church. Luther’s bold and controversial action spawned a movement that would change the church and the world. This act of “protest” (where we get the term Protestant) was not the first nor was Luther the only voice calling for reform in the church, but his nailing of the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Church door became a rallying point for reform-minded Christians.
For Gospel City Network the Reformation emphasis informs much of what we are about: going back to the gospel, going into the growing and changing cities of the world, and growing intentional churches.
Going Forward by Going Back
During Luther’s time the church had become a powerful institution but had stopped emphasizing the essence of the Christian faith. Luther, himself, had been plagued by overwhelming guilt before a holy God who called for perfection. As Luther went back to the Holy Scriptures he read Romans 1:16-17 and was overwhelmed by the knowledge that salvation was not up to him. Salvation was from God through sending his Son to take our guilt and shame to the grave and then overcame death itself to give us life.
The mantra of the Reformation became encapsulated by what has become known as the Five Solas (Sola meaning only in Latin):
Sola Scriptura- “Scripture alone”
Sola Fide- “Faith alone”
Sola Gratia- “Grace alone”
Solus Christus- “Christ alone”
Soli Deo Gloria- “To the glory of God alone”