Happy Reformation Day, October 31, 2007
490 years ago tomorrow, on Wednesday, October 31, 1517, the Augustinian monk Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church door of the Castle Church, in Wittenberg, Germany. By God's grace, Luther's courageous act of challenging the corruption and unBiblical practices of the Medieval Roman Catholic hierarchy (including the sale of indulgences) helped launched the Great Reformation.
Martin Luther said (watch video), "Unless I am convinced by Scripture or clear reasoning that I am in error - for popes and councils have often erred and contradicted themselves - I cannot recant, for I am subject to the Scriptures I have quoted; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. It is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against one's conscience. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. So help me God. Amen." (Luther 
The Reformation gave us the Bible – now freely available in our own languages. The Reformers fought for the principles that Scripture alone is our final authority, Christ alone is the head of the Church and justification is by God’s grace, on the basis of the finished work of Christ, received by grace alone, through faith alone.
Some of the other great blessings which we benefit from, as a result of the Reformation, include:
* The Bible available in our own language
* Scripture alone is our final authority
* Religious freedom.
* Liberty of conscience.
* Free enterprise.
* Lex Rex (the rule of law).
* Separation of powers.
* Constitutionally limited republics.
* The Lordship of Christ in all areas of life.
Why is Reformation Day important, and why should it be observed?
Martin Luther and his colleagues came to understand that if we sinners had to earn salvation by our own merits and good works, we would be lost and completely without hope. But through the working of the Holy Spirit, the reformers rediscovered the gospel -- the wonderful news that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again to redeem and justify us. What a wonderful opportunity to go over with our children the great "Solas" of the Reformation: by Scripture alone, by Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Faith alone, and to God be the glory alone! Here is a great piece on the 5 Solas from Pastor John Samson.
On Reformation Day, may we all (as we should) glorify God for what He accomplished in 16th century Germany through Martin Luther and the other reformers - the recovery of the gospel of salvation by grace through faith for Christ's sake. We should also earnestly pray that God would keep all of us faithful to the true gospel and help us to joyfully declare it to the world. As the great hymn encapsulates the theme of the Reformation:
By grace God's Son, our only Savior,
Came down to earth to bear our sin.
Was it because of thine own merit
That Jesus died thy soul to win?
Nay; it was grace, and grace alone,
That brought Him from His heav'nly throne.
(By Grace I'm Saved, Grace Free and Boundless, Christian L. Scheidt, 1742)
Pastor Tom Browning, The History of the Reformation (resources)
Reforming My Mind Blog - Reformation Day MP3 Sermons (great list!)
Al Mohler, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Christianity and the Dark Side - What About Halloween?
John MacArthur's Grace to You Ministries - Halloween
Tim Challies, Halloween - Trick or Retreat? (2007), and Halloween Fast Approaches (2006)
Hank Hanegraaff & Equip.org, Halloween
And don't forget the Reformation Polka!