On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed ninety-five theses to the Wittenburg Castle Church door to engage discussion of the Roman Catholic doctrine and practice of selling indulgences. Historians point to that nail as the spark that ignited the protestant reformation. Today many churches within the reformed tradition celebrate “Reformation Sunday” on the last Sunday of October.
A few years ago I mentioned that we, at Lakeshore Baptist Church, were celebrating reformation day and someone said, “I thought ya’ll were Southern Baptist.” We are. To read a short history of the reformation influence within our Southern Baptist heritage see Tom Ascol’s article, “From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention: What Hath Geneva To Do with Nashville?” In conclusion he writes:
Obviously, much more could be said. But the evidence which has been presented demonstrates that Southern Baptists come from Reformation stock. For all of our important distinctives which separate us from the leading Protestant Reformers, Baptists owe a debt of gratitude to God for those faithful leaders of the sixteenth century. With all of their shortcomings, they were nevertheless used of God to return to the Scripture alone for their authority. By doing so they rediscovered the blessed gospel of God–that gospel that reveals salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and brings glory to God alone. To this, surely, every Southern Baptist can say, “Amen!”
For a much fuller treatment get Dr. Tom Nettles work, By His Grace and For His Glory: A Historical, Theological, and Practical Study of the Doctrines Of Grace in Baptist Life.
Tonight our church will gather for an informal evening and watch God’s Outlaw – The Story of William Tyndale. The English reformer translated and published the first English Bible under great persecution. We will discuss his contribution and the doctrine of sola scriptura. I’m making a big pot of gumbo and folks are bringing potato salad and desserts for our fellowship meal.