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Discipling and the Protestant Reformation

How special it is for us to be alive 500 years after the Protestant Reformation began in Wittenberg! This is an excellent time to thank God for what He did during those years to revolutionize peoples’ understanding of His Word, transform their hearts, and move them from uncertainty and fear through the church to confidence and freedom through Christ.

 

The core outcome of the Reformation was the revolution in scriptural understanding and worship by parishioners through direct access to God and His Word. As people across Western Europe read and studied the Bible themselves—in their own language rather than Latin, which very few understood—God gradually opened their eyes to uncluttered truth. It generated a paradigm-changing upheaval in faith and practice that is comparable to a magnitude 9.9 earthquake.

 

Especially the truth about salvation. Beginning with his “tower experience” and study of Romans 1:16–17, Martin Luther and then others realized this: According to the Scriptures alone, we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for God’s glory alone. They essentially zero-based their traditional doctrine of salvation and rebuilt it using only God’s Word.

 

This enlightenment exposed various unscriptural church practices, starting with the church’s abuse of indulgences by selling them to raise money for building a big cathedral. It grew to protests against several traditions that cluttered or countered the truth of God’s Word. It led also to the development of Protestant churches and networks.

 

What does all this have to do with discipling today?  First – The best way we can celebrate the Reformation is to personally re-embrace these realities—and their implications—and then lead those we influence/disciple to do the same: According to the Scriptures alone, we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for God’s glory alone.

 

Second – Let’s ask each other a question: If we zero-base our understanding of what it means to disciple ourselves and others, and then rebuild our understanding Sola Scriptura, how will our strategy, our “discipleship program,” differ from what it is right now? I have an idea on that; I’ll share it for your consideration in my next post.

 

Prayer: “Almighty God and loving Father, we thank You for Your deep love and amazing grace! Through Your Spirit in us, please help us care so much about these realities that we will personally re-embrace them and rest in their reality. And please help us share this re-commitment with at least one or two others around us. In Jesus’ name and for Your glory alone, amen.”

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