John Huss was the spark. Martin Luther lit the torch. Men like Ulrich
Zwingli and John Calvin fanned the flames of the Protestant Reformation,
which this month will celebrate its 500th year anniversary!
Isn’t that remarkable? This magnificent movement of the gospel swept
across Europe more than five hundred years ago. You may not know all these
men, but without them you would not know many of the freedoms we take for
granted, like reading the Bible in our own language, hearing a sermon based
solely on Scriptures, and embracing the sweet message of grace after
faltering in sin.
Prior to the Reformation, spiritual ignorance shrouded the world and
corruption darkened the established church. John Wycliffe lit the flame of
truth when he protested the fact that the Scriptures, chained to the
pulpit and written in the dead language of Latin, were not accessible to
In 1382, Wycliffe finished translating the Latin Vulgate into
English. Though John Huss knew that the church had stripped Wycliffe of his
position at Oxford, forbade him to preach, and burned his exhumed body
after his death, Huss continued to fan Wycliffe’s flame by exposing
hypocrisy in the church and elevating the truth of Scripture. Huss’s
words were silenced when he was covered in tar and oil and set on fire . .
. but his message was reignited a century later through the voice of Martin
Luther, who had himself discovered that the only way to receive forgiveness
for sin was to accept it as a free gift from God, refused to stand by and
watch the religious charlatans of his day extort the people. So, at noon on
October 31, 1517, he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the subject
of indulgences to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany,
unaware of the great influence his bold convictions would have on other
European Reformers like Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin as well as on
generations to follow.
In carrying out such fervent, faith-based beliefs,
the Reformers started a blaze that would burn throughout Europe and
radically change Christian practices and beliefs for centuries to come.
As we celebrate this momentous anniversary of our spiritual heritage,
let’s join in a chorus of thanksgiving and praise to God for His
immense faithfulness in bringing about this monumental and
life-transforming Reformation. And may we pledge together to carry the
torch of freedom into all generations to come.
Written by Insight for Living Ministries staff members.
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