What you did not do is compare the dogma Rome churned out with the plumb line of God’s word. Even if you could read Latin, and did have access to a rare and expensive copy of the Bible, you still didn’t question the Pope’s teachings. This explains why monks and priests and cardinals and bishops who could read the Bible, still didn’t teach the truth contained in it.
When Martin Luther pounded the 95 Theses on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, the effects rippled throughout space and time, changing the world then and there, as well as here and now, 501 years later.
We may take for granted the impact that feisty monk’s actions had on Europe in 1517 and are still having on our lives this very day. We ought to be grateful to God for what he wrought in our lives with blunt instruments, Martin Luther, John Calvin, et al.
- If you read your Bible today in your own language that’s because of the Reformation.
Christians in 1517 did not have access to a Bible unless they had been schooled in Latin, a privilege reserved for the wealthy and the ecclesiastical order. So if you wanted to read the Bible you had to take a vow of celibacy, poverty, and obedience, and become a monk or priest. It was Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible into German that brought about the truth encapsulated (ironically in the Latin phrase…) Post Tenebras Lux—After Darkness Light.
So, if you read your Bible today, or a Tweet with a verse in it, or sang a hymn in your mother tongue, you can thank God for the Reformers.
- If you asked God for forgiveness without paying any money or doing something unpleasant, that’s because of the Reformation.
What the doctrine of Sola Fide (faith alone) reintroduced to Christianity was the reminder that your salvation comes through trusting in Jesus and NOT in good works or sacraments (like penance, confession, baptism, communion) dispensed by a priest.
In 1517 forgiveness from God was understood to be utterly inaccessible outside of the Catholic Church. And when the Pope said you needed to pay cash to purchase forgiveness for you or a departed loved one, then that is what you did.