This coming Sunday, October 26, is Reformation Day. What was the Reformation? On October 31st, 1517, the German monk and professor Martin Luther posted a list of 95 theses that sought to reform the beliefs and practices of the medieval Catholic Church according to the teachings of the Bible. Luther’s ideas for reforming the church encouraged Christians all over Europe to seek major revival and purification of the church from traditions that distorted and corrupted the faith and pattern of life passed on to the church by Jesus through his apostles. Reformation Day is a holiday celebrated on October 31st or the last weekend in October in remembrance of the Protestant Reformation.
The Protestant Reformers taught that the Bible alone is the only infallible authority for the Christian church’s belief and life, and all human traditions in the church are subject to ongoing critique and correction by the word of God. Salvation from sin and death is given to us as a gift of God’s grace and not as a reward for the merit of human good works of obedience. We can be forgiven of our sin and guilt and have a right standing with God only because we are united to Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit through a living faith that trusts Christ alone to save us. All who are united to Jesus in this way are justified (declared to be not guilty and right with God) by sharing Jesus’ right standing with God, which is given to those who believe only as a gift of God’s favor. Those who are united to Christ and justified by his grace alone are therefore called, liberated, and empowered by God to love, serve, and honor him faithfully in every area of life, including all of our various vocations.
Protestants rejected the authority of the Roman Catholic pope and bishops to define and rule the universal church because these roles of the Catholic bishops had no adequate foundation in biblical teaching. Reformed Christians organized the leadership of the church government according to the three New Testament offices of pastors, elders, and deacons. They also sought especially to purify the church’s worship by restoring Christ-centered theology and the active participation of the whole church in worship. Reformed worship emphasizes the preaching of the whole Bible; instruction in sound biblical teaching by creeds, confessions, and catechisms; frequent celebration of the Lord’s Supper by the whole church following the pattern Jesus established in the New Testament; and corporate prayers, often through the congregational singing of psalms and hymns.
Central Presbyterian Church gladly stands within the Reformed tradition of the Protestant Reformation, and we pray that you can see and experience all of these biblical beliefs and practices in the worship of Central Presbyterian Church and in all of our life and ministry. Together we are seek to be a Reformed church that is always reforming according to the word of God for the glory of God and the mission of God.