A mighty Fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing

Different ways of looking at Martin Luther, the Reformation

October 31, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany and the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. This event, plus the fact that I was raised in a Lutheran Church and family, led me to accept that the Christian church is comprised of two primary groups; Protestant and Catholic. I carried this view, without giving it a great deal of thought, until after I entered ministry. (Incidentally, I have never pastored a reformation church. Both the Baptist and the Evangelical Free denominations in which I have served, are considered “stepchildren of the Reformation”, for these movements, though strongly impacted by the Reformation, emerged later).

A lot can happen in 500 years and even in five years, for it is about that length of time into my pastoral endeavours that I began to rethink the matter for myself. I can’t remember exactly when, for it was a gradual process rather than a precise point in time.

The culmination of my reflection on the nature of the Christian church led me to a new way of viewing Christendom. Rather than thinking of Christianity as Protestant and Catholic, I divided the church into evangelical/Bible believing (which happens to be my view) and non-evangelical/non-Bible believing (evangelical means to believe in Jesus and His gospel and its teachings – Bible believing means taking the Bible as literally and fully true). This view of Christianity allows for a more equitable, nonjudgmental and sensitive analysis of where individuals stand in their relationship to God, rather than judging them by their denominational label.

From this perspective I have discovered, sometimes to my delight and occasionally to my dismay, that there are people who are evangelical/Bible believing on both sides of the traditional lines of Protestant and Catholic. This in no way presumes full agreement, but it does suggest theological harmony with respect to Jesus being the answer and the Bible being true – both precepts are of course enormously important.

Some churches have a Reformation Sunday service commemorating the Reformation. The Catholic Church, in recent times and in some places, has sent representatives to these services in a spirit of ecumenism.

I have not and probably will not engage in a Reformation Sunday service, but I have on occasion taken time to teach and explain the “Five Solas”, a great five point foundational framework of biblical principles adhered to and taught by the reformers (theopedia.com/five-solas).

“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing: For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.” Martin Luther

Just Posted

Stettler Parent Link works to strengthen families

Programs run the gamut from Super Dads, Super Kids to Bringing Baby Home

Hike for Hospice runs May 5th at West Stettler Park

Make sure to register before April 26th

Alberta’s 47 legislature newbies meet under the dome for orientation day

Most new members are with the United Conservatives, who won a majority government

Easter visit!

Easter Bunny makes a visit to Points West Living

OPINION: Jason Kenney won by portraying himself as the Guardian of Alberta

How did Kenney do it? He never considered himself an opposition leader and didn’t pretend to be one.

Canada privacy watchdog taking Facebook to court

If the court application is successful, it could lead to modest fines and an order for Facebook to revamp its privacy

Be wary of robot emotions; ‘simulated love is never love’

Research has shown that people have a tendency to project human traits onto robots

‘What if, what if, what if:’ inquiry hears details about Alberta Mountie’s death

David Wynn, 42, was gunned down by Shaun Rehn, 34, a career criminal wanted on warrants

Calgary woman killed in B.C. highway crash

Crash closed highway for hours

Assessment says Alberta woman facing animal abuse charges fit to stand trial

April Dawn Irving, 59, is charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

Provinces, Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Oil and gas company confirms death of one of its employees in Yoho avalanche

Dana Coffield died when he was skiing in the Rocky Mountains

Most Read