Dearly beloved,

Before the 80’s, the Protestant Reformation was a vital piece of Church history that I knew very little about. Thank God that it was in Calvary BP Church Sunset Gospel Hour that these questions of what, where, why and how in regard to the 16th Century Protestant Reformation were expounded more perfectly.

Many Christians today are in a sad situation that I once was in, to be ignorant of the past. Much can be learned from the Bible of how God dealt with sinners but one of the most important lessons in Church history is seen only in the Protestant Reformation. Romans 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.”

It was the Holy Spirit who brought Martin Luther into this verse that changed him and in turn he changed the whole world. With the Holy Spirit’s help, he identified the wrong teachings and man’s traditions in the Church of Rome and guided the people in spiritual darkness back to the authority of the Holy Scriptures. We, who are Bible-Presbyterians, reformed in theology are children of the Protestant Reformation. The Bible is the foundation of our faith and practice. To pursue God’s word is the right thing because it shows us how we can live in a way that truly pleases God. The motto of our lives should be lined with Psalm 119:97, “O how love I Thy law! It is my mediation all the day.” And our duty is to understand and to love God’s word supremely. God’s word is being attacked since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. It did not begin with Martin Luther to urge the people to love and to hold God’s word in high regard. It was God who had raised up in every age and passing generation of godly men to speak for Him. From Noah who stood by God’s word as the preacher of righteousness to Abraham, Moses, King David, the Prophets, the Apostles to the Reformers of the 16th century were all fighting the same spiritual battle with the same weapon, God’s Word. The Bible is absolutely and objectively the Word of God and in it is revealed His singular plan of redemption through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. One of the principles of Reformation is “Sola Scriptura” or “Scripture Alone.” The Bible is the yardstick to measure all aspects of life and the test of the believer of what is right and true.

Today, we live in the end times where false religions continue to mislead people; moral and ethical values are on the lowest ebb and Christian worship is changed into easy-believism of a gospel without repentance. The Reformation was the greatest revival of all times that was brought about by the powerful preaching of the Gospel and sinners turning to God by genuine repentance. In today’s climate of Christianity, many easy-believing Christians are ready to receive Christ as their Saviour for His imputed righteousness but not His Lordship. They say, “Lord, save me to go to heaven but please do not tell how to live my earthly life!” We must live our lives under the examination of Scripture and God’s standard to be our standard and foundation.

In order to be consistent and true to the spirit of the reformers of the Protestant Reformation :

1. We need to know what God says in the Bible on what it means and how it applies to our lives.

2. We need to reflect on God’s Word that our attitudes and actions would honour God at all times.

3. We need to submit, physically, mentally and spiritually to do God’s Word and will.

Praise the Lord that the Protestant Reformation directed the people back to the Scripture and to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Word. And by Christ alone are sinners delivered from the curse and bondage of sin, only when they believe in Him alone and truly repent from their sins.

Elder Douglas Ho

What Is Reformation Sunday?

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:17

Many Protestant churches commemorate the 16th-Century Reformation on the last Sunday of the month of October. The word “reformation” literally means to form again. During the 16th century, the people of God were deprived of God’s Word, and many of them were not assured of their salvation because of the wrong teachings of the Roman Catholic church. The Protestant Reformation moved to change all that.

As we commemorate Reformation Sunday today, we will be considering how the Reformation began, and what it has given us. Let us learn the roots of our rich Protestant heritage, and be thankful to the LORD for it!

The Protestant Reformation began with Martin Luther in Germany. On 31st October 1517, Luther nailed his nine-five theses (statements) on the castle door of Wittenberg Church to challenge certain practices of the Roman Catholic church. At that time, the pope, who was the leader of the Roman Catholic church, wanted to reconstruct St Peter’s Basilica. In order to renovate this huge building, a lot of money was needed. Therefore, to raise fund for this ambitious project, he promoted the sale of indulgences. Indulgences are tickets issued by the Roman Catholic church for the forgiveness of sins.

Luther protested against the sale of indulgences. He knew that only God can forgive sins, not the church! He was convinced that this (sale of indulgences) was against the Word of God. The salvation of a soul is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone! The Bible says, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). This protest of Luther sparked off a chain of reactions throughout Europe which later became known as the Reformation.

Before the Reformation, the Word of God was kept from the people by the Roman Catholic church. The people of God were not allowed to read the Bible and had to rely on the priests to teach them spiritual truths. But many of their teachings were not biblical! An example would be the teaching on salvation. Roman Catholics teach that salvation is by works, not by faith. The people of God could not be assured of their faith and lived in constant fear of losing their salvation. They were walking in darkness without light from God’s truth.

The Reformation brought again the correct doctrine of salvation to the people of God. It also gave us the Word of God in our own languages. Luther translated the Bible into the German language while William Tyndale translated it into English.

The King James Bible which you hold in your hands comes as a result of Tyndale’s translation. We would not have had a Bible in our own language without the Reformation. Are you thankful to the Lord for the 16th-Century Protestant Reformation? You should be!

Written by Pr. Kelvin Lim Sunday, 31 October 2010