What Is Reformation Day?

As mentioned in the blog post about “What Do We Believe About Halloween?” I mentioned that some people choose to celebrate Reformation Day instead of Halloween each year. What is Reformation Day & why do some people choose to celebrate this day instead of Halloween on the 31 October?

In the 1400’s, 1500’s and the centuries preceding it, the Catholic Church was overflowing with false doctrine that was not Biblical. The Catholic Church & its authorities were teaching such views as purgatory & salvation through good works. They were also overrun with corruption in the selling of indulgences to people who wanted to ensure that their loved ones would spend fewer years in purgatory. The average Christians were often illiterate, unknowledgeable of the Bible, or unable to read Latin which meant that they relied upon the minister to teach them the Bible. Having trusted the Catholic authorities, average Catholics found themselves performing many rituals and good works & uncertain if they had been good enough for God. It is detestable that the Catholic authorities were persuading the poor to give money for these indulgences which were just a piece of paper.

It was in this context that a German monk lived. His name was Martin Luther. He was living in a monastery when he read: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17). These verses would change the life of Martin Luther forever.

Martin Luther had challenged the Catholic view of salvation by good works, suggesting that salvation was by grace through faith. Luther also challenged the Catholic view of indulgences. Martin Luther worked diligently to preach that the death of Jesus is what justifies a person & not their own good works.

In response & challenge to the Catholic Church, Martin Luther decided to write “Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum” which is “The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” in English. Today it has been shortened down to just “The 95 Theses.” It was on 31 October 1517 that Martin Luther, with hammer, nail, and 95 Theses in hand, walked over to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and nailed the 95 Theses for all to see.

Lots of people believe that this act would be the start of what was known as the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther was the encouragement for many other men to come forth affirm Biblical truth (such as the 5 Solas). Some of the men to follow in Luther’s footsteps were John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, and Jonathan Edwards.

The effects of the Protestant Reformation are still felt today with preachers like John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Matt ChandlerTimothy Keller, & J.I. Packer. Some Protestants celebrate each 31 October as the day which revolutionized Christianity forever. This was the start of a divide between Catholics & Protestants.

Reformation Day is a day to celebrate the reformation of the Protestant Church from the Catholic Church. Because it lands on the same day as Halloween, maybe you choose to celebrate by dressing up as your favourite Reformer. Most importantly though, may we remember to stand with Martin Luther for Biblical truth.

God Bless,
Tyson Bradley