Happy 500th Anniversary!
It’s Halloween tonight, but if you were in church on Sunday, you might have noticed that we talked a lot about the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation which is also today.
Martin Luther began lecturing on Romans in the year 1515. As he prepared these lectures, he began to notice problems with the church that he hadn’t seen before. As he began to let Paul’s words live within him, he began to see that the Church had to change. On this fateful day in 1517, he nailed what is now called the “95 Theses” to the Wittenberg door and, thus, the Protestant Reformation was begun.
We talked about how it was important for us for a few reasons: 1) Martin Luther thought it was important for people like us to be able to read scripture; 2) Martin Luther let scripture speak to him as God’s word; and 3) in the 95th thesis, Luther claimed that it was more intentions were more important than correctness.
Of course, there is more to it than that, but there is always time to learn more about our Church history. But in the United Methodist Church’s history, our paths diverge from Roman Catholic roots a bit differently from the Lutheran Church.
Methodism grew out of the Anglican Church, that is the Church of England that was founded in 1534, seventeen years after Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Wittenberg door. Henry VIII wanted another annulment from another failed marriage and the Pope said “no.” Further, he also believed that the Church should be aligned to the government of the nation in which it operates. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was an Anglican priest and never stopped being one. He was also a big fan of Luther.
Two-hundred years after Luther’s reformation, John Wesley was sitting in a Bible Study, reading Luther’s introduction to Romans. As they read, he felt his heart “strangely warmed,” and he began to realize that we could truly know that we are loved by God, he noticed that the Church was really good at intellectual religion, but not so good at heart religion, and, as a result, our Methodist Church’s roots began to grow in him.
On this 500th Reformation Day, may God plant a tiny revolution within you.