We should all teach our children and remind ourselves of our Christian heritage. October 31, 1513 is when Martin Luther tried to call the church back to the Bible. His simple act of protest plus the invention of the printing press led to revivals across Europe as people began to read the Bible in their own language. A cry to reform the worship and practice within the church rose as hearts were stirred when they began to understand the Bible’s teaching of justification by faith ALONE. This struggle continued all through the 1500’s until by the middle of the 1600’s the Protestants were able to declare their understanding of the Bible’s clear teaching on faith, worship, and the Christian life. Several similar statements of faith were published: The Baptist Statement of Faith, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Savoy Confession. This was the REFORMATION which was so important to Western Civilization as to be a major division in every secular history book.
What difference does it make now? Martin Luther should be honored for his courage and sacrifice in standing on the plain teaching of scripture: “for by grace are you saved through faith…” and “The just shall live by faith…” John Calvin, a pastor in Switzerland, should be remembered for his faithful verse-by-verse explanation and application of the scripture. His ability to apply the teaching of the Bible to the heart and everyday life led to many revivals of true religion and to many publications in English, German, and French. He was very influencial on the British Puritans and their Scottish and American “friends.”
To be “REFORMED” today, means to be reforming all the time in this same tradition of revering the scriptures as God’s word to us — seeking to worship and live in ways that please God, using the Confessions of Faith as a guide to what the Bible says, and holding on to salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus alone. Hearts have been stirred and lives changed, families strengthened and nations built on these reformed traditions. It could happen again!
Try getting your 8-12 year old to read biographies of these men or their wives. Having the four year old dress like Calvin instead of a pirate might not be the best idea! Luther was known for his love of children and his ability to engage them in conversation; he could probably think of a way to teach this history lesson.