When I went to get a sandwich for lunch today I was greeted by an employee at the shop with, “Happy Halloween!”
I immediately responded to her with, “HAPPY REFORMATION DAY!” to which I received a quizzical look akin to “who is this lunatic who just came into my restaurant?”
So I queried, “Do you know what that is?” and received the expected, “No” and a tentative, “what is it?”
“It’s when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses (topics for debate) on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg that led to the reformation of the church — and that happened 500 years ago today! It’s a really important and historical day!”
At that point another employee who had been listening in said, “Wait a minute…” and went to a backroom and came back 15 seconds later with another employee. “That was so cool! Say that again. I’ve never heard that before. Tell it again so that K can hear it also!”
So I had three minutes (no one else was in line for a sandwich at noon!) to explain the Reformation and the gospel to four employees and they all listened and were interested. None of them expressed a trust in Christ, but I rejoiced as I left, grateful for the Reformation and grateful for a providential opportunity to point people away from silly costumes and chocolate to the all-satisfying Savior. And I was grateful in a new way for the Reformation; we know that the Reformation was about the Gospel and keeping it biblically Christ-centered and not man-centered, but the Reformation was also about the bold declaration of that Gospel. The Reformation renewed in us the necessity of speaking the good news of salvation that comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. And I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak of that gospel and our Christ again today!
I’ve been thinking much about the Reformation in the past few weeks in preparation for my preaching series on the Reformation, “Here We Stand,” so I was able to synthesize the key events and people into a few sentences that could be uttered in a couple of minutes. Perhaps you are still a little confused about the Reformation and what it was about. There are many excellent resources on the Reformation, many of them free. You might consider some of the following:
- “Here We Stand,” an excellent 31-part series on key people of the Reformation, from Desiring God.
- Fifty years ago, Martyn Lloyd-Jones reflected on Luther and the Reformation on the 450th anniversary of October 31, 1517. The audio is at the MLJ Trust.
- Grace Community Church, like a number of other churches, is doing a sermon series on The Five Solas. They also recently hosted Steve Lawson for a conference entitled, “Men Who Rocked the World,” focusing on the English Reformers who died at the hand of Queen Mary.
- Timothy George is one of the better historians of our day; there are a series of lectures he has given on the Reformation at The Gospel Coalition.
- Four audio books of your choosing on the Reformation for $15, from Christian Audio.
- Zondervan’s five-book series, “The Five Solas” is on sale in Kindle format for $4.99 per volume. I have read one of the volumes and have dipped into the others and have found it to be an excellent series, and I commend it to you.
- Last Sunday I provided a list of Reformation resources as part of my sermon, “Martin Luther, the Reformation, and You.” I include the resources here, and the sermon manuscript here.