This is not a day a man saw the need for change it is the day a man decided there had to be action to begin change. Oct 31st 1517 Martin Luther took action! He saw the state of the church and the indulgences that were freely given out. He saw that no one wanted to live a holy life separated and set apart for God, but that they had determined their own way to be self-righteous. The very fact that they gave absolution for indulgences showed that they knew the indulgence was wrong. But there was more to it than the rich just having their way and paying for their sin. He saw it was a leadership problem, it was a doctrinal problem, and a theological problem that caused the state of the nation to be the way it was. Not only did Martin Luther nail his 95 thesis to the door, but he also attached a letter that is now called “Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences.” This letter though seldom read is the real basis for the actions that he took.
In His letter he was not confronting the church directly, but coming from a scholar’s point of view. His perception to church practices and his tone of writing was in accordance with a searching out more than a doctrinal perspective. The way Martin Luther wrote his letter had a challenge with it, to look at the attached points and engage in discussion. The 95 points of discussion he attached with this letter was not looked upon from the church as a perspective of discussion, but of accusation. Luther desired in his letter that open dialogue would be given and for those wishing to discuss they could even write by letter if they could not attend in person. He stated that: “Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter. In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.” Little did Luther know his desire for change would cost him greatly. He would be ridiculed, defamed, considered a heretic, and be excommunicated. But all of this was Gods plan to birth many of the modern day church movements we have.
What we are needing is true reformers to come forth in the spirit of Martin Luther. Not attacking, but openly discussing the doctrinal points, allowing for all to give explanation of why they believe what they believe and how it aligns with the word of God. The truth of Gods word will always stand above men’s opinions. This is what Luther knew. With the Bible as the final judge, being the foundation for all belief systems, we must return back to it in its totality and not deviate from the principles that it is laid out for us. I do not believe we are in the same state of the day of Martin Luther, but we are in other ways in need of reform. With over 450 denomination setting in place with their own private interpretations of Scripture, it is no wonder that many unbelievers are confused about what to truly believe. What many do not understand, is that it took years afterwards before the transformation truly occurred.Many of the things Martin Luther desired to see happen occurred after he was dead.
What Luther saw was the social issues of the day needing to be addressed, and he knew they had to be addressed through the religious structure that was present. Not only did he point out where doctrine was flawed, but also the interpretation of that doctrine. Today we see the state the church is in, and for the most part what all are complaining about is how the church is functioning. Much like Martin Luther’s day the function is coming out of the wrong doctrine being expressed. I believe we are coming to the point of saying seeing some radical voices standing up addressing the issues within own camp first before we truly see Reformation in society. I believe we will need to see some churches closed and maybe even denounced publicly as they are more cultic in nature than biblical based. For other churches they will have to shift out of man-made traditions that have been established for years and more of a kingdom expression that frees the people in their function.
Today Reformation Day is still a national holiday five states in Germany. In these locations, banks, stores, schools, and business are closed. It is actually called all Saints day and many churches celebrate Reformation Sunday following October 31. It is a day to remember the state from which we came from and the price that was paid so others could experience freedom to a larger degree. This is setting back in order the things that had been misplaced and privately interpreted, to a more pure correct doctrine. It also established a level field that all are sinners and all suffer the same consequences of their sin.