This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Pastor Brent Whitefield, Northpoint’s Pastor of Missions and Outreach.
A Quincentennial Celebration
On October 31, we will remember the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. This is a big deal; quincentennial anniversaries don’t come around very often. Most things simply don’t have that kind of longevity. It certainly wasn’t clear in the early days of the Reformation that the movement it spawned would last for so long. Indeed, many factors made it a miracle that the Protestant movement survived at all. The forces of religious authority and hundreds of years of tradition stood in the way of the kind of substantive reforms that were necessary. The changes that the reformers proposed struck at the very heart of powerful systems and ways of thinking. The Protestant Reformation is also credited with being a necessary precursor to many other movements including religious liberty, democracy, capitalism, and the scientific and industrial revolutions. This was one of those rare events that truly changed the world. So dramatic was its impact, in fact, that it is nearly impossible for us to imagine what life was like before the Reformation: no Bibles that the common man could read, superstitious belief that relics, indulgences, and pilgrimages could endear you to God, the belief that the rich could purchase their way into heaven, corrupt priests who held people’s very souls in their hands, massive cathedrals that showcased the wealth that this corruption created, just to name a few. So far had the church deviated from its intended beliefs and purpose, that one Reformation-era scholar, Thomas Linacre, upon reading the uncorrupted Word of God for the first time, exclaimed: “Either these are not the Gospels, or we are not Christians.” The Reformation went a long way towards recapturing good theology and good practice. That’s why it is appropriate that we celebrate the foresight and courage of the reformers.
Here at Northpoint, we have two events coming up that will help us focus on the achievements of the Reformation and what they mean for us today. On Friday night, October 27, at 7:00 p.m., in Heritage Hall, we will offer a screening of the newly released documentary film, Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer. This work is narrated by Barry Cooper, who spoke at our Mission Week last year. You will no doubt learn much about Luther and the Reformation that you did not already know. We will have a discussion after the film so that we can consider together how the Reformation legacy is still relevant for us today.
On Sunday night, October 29, we will gather in the Worship Center, at 6:30 p.m., for our Reformation Celebration. This will include songs with our choir as well as lessons from our pastors on different aspects of the Reformation legacy. We will study, for example, how the Reformation restored God’s Word to its proper place. We will consider how it saved us from the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church of the day, and we will learn how it restored a proper understanding of how we are saved, freeing us from the tyranny of “good works” soteriology.
I would encourage you to take some time to do some reading and study up on the Reformation. You will be encouraged and blessed if you do. You will also be better able to understand that God is continuing to shape us as his people and what is meant when we say “ecclesia reformata semper reformanda” —the church reformed and always reforming.