31 October 2010

Happy Reformation Day!

It's October 31...what are you and your family commemorating today? Will you paint the kids' faces, load up the car and head over to the local church's "harvest party"? Will your kids go from car to car doing "trunk or treat" as Christians once again attempt to Christianize a pagan celebration? I'll pause here and say that, if I had children, I honestly don't know how I'd handle Halloween. There's nothing innately wrong with dressing your kid up like Superman and sending him around the neighborhood to beg sugar off of your neighbors. What bothers me is the church, recognizing that Halloween is a celebration of death, gore, and Satan, still feels like they need to honor the day! Here's a thought--instead of holding your "harvest party" on October 31, why not hold it the week after, and completely ignore the day of Halloween? Instead, all of these harvest parties are one step away from those who claim that yoga can be Christian simply by breathing the names of Jesus while you're sitting in a position worshipping the Hindu sun god.

I wonder if any churches recognize October 31 as being "Reformation Day," a day to remember Martin Luther's boldness as he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517? Or are we too busy teaching our children that if you slap a Christian name on something--even something pagan--it is suddenly Christian? I would challenge you today to talk to your kids about what Martin Luther did on this day all those centuries ago. Perhaps you could choose a couple of his 95 points to discuss and explain. I will post some of Luther's theses below, but if you'd like to see the 95 Theses in their entirety, you can visit this site. Was Martin Luther perfect? Nope. Were any of the Reformers? Nope. Are you? Nope. Am I? Nope. But without Luther's courage and voice, we could very well all be sitting around, praying to Mary, paying indulgences, and worshipping statues and the pope instead of the One True God. So as far as I'm concerned, we owe Martin Luther a great deal. And we ought to remember the roots of the Reformation today, rather than the roots of satan and evil.
1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent," He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
2. The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
3. Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one's heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.
4. As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward repentance) the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven.
32. All those who believe themselves certain of their own salvation by means of letters of indulgence, will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.
33. We should be most carefully on our guard against those who say that the papal indulgences are an inestimable divine gift, and that a man is reconciled to God by them.
35. It is not in accordance with Christian doctrines to preach and teach that those who buy off souls, or purchase confessional licenses, have no need to repent of their own sins.
36. Any Christian whatsoever, who is truly repentant, enjoys plenary remission from penalty and guilt, and this is given him without letters of indulgence.
40. A truly contrite sinner seeks out, and loves to pay, the penalties of his sins; whereas the very multitude of indulgences dulls men's consciences, and tends to make them hate the penalties.
94. Christians should be exhorted to be zealous to follow Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hells.
95. And let them thus be more confident of entering heaven through many tribulations rather than through a false assurance of peace. 

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