It’s not every year you get to celebrate a 500th birthday. This year, on October 31, we commemorate that day centuries ago when Martin Luther launched the Reformation.
But why mark the big 5-oh-oh? After all, John Hus lived 100 years before Luther and spoke out against corruption and legalism in the Church. Before Luther, John Wycliffe had begun a translation of the Bible in the people’s language, saying “Englishmen learn Christ’s law best in English.” And Ulrich Zwingli fought dead ritual in Switzerland with zeal equal to that of Luther. All of these Reformers were driven by a passion to live and even die for a Scripture understandable to every person—girls as well as boys, lay people as well as clergy.
Luther, the 95 Theses, and the 5 Solas
Luther’s act of nailing the “95 Theses” on the door of his town church on October 31, 1517, we now mark as the birth of Protestantism. Luther wanted to dispute the practice of indulgences by the Catholic Church—an act he believed was unbiblical. Posting this now famous list was a turning point in the Reformation and pushed the movement forward, throughout all of Europe.
As a result, the Reformers went on to teach the essentials of the gospel, specifically the “5 Solas.” They taught that people…