The end of the month is usually an exciting time for many. It is the time when most working people get their hard earned pay and experience a fleeting moment of happiness. It may also be a time of new beginnings. However, the end of this month, October 31, 2017, will mark the end of 500 years of Protestant Reformation for most Christians and the resolution to continue the Protestant Reformation for Seventh-day Adventists. While other churches seem to welcome this end to the protest, the Seventh Day Adventist church has not come to this consensus that there should be actually be an end. The burning question on your mind may be, Why does this even matter? This article will explore how imperative this issue is to Christendom and more specifically to you.
What is Protestantism?
Protestantism may be described as a major division of the Christian religion. Protestantism traditionally includes all churches, excepting the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church traditions. Protestant churches support the principles of the Protestant Reformation initiated by Martin Luther’s 95 Theses written in 1517. These 95 Theses are known as the Disputation of Power and Efficacy of Indulgences. The purpose of Luther’s theses was not plan the start a Protestant church, he simply wanted his church, the Catholic church, to change non-biblical beliefs and practices. Luther was against the corruption and impure doctrines of the church as outlined in his theses. However, the church did not welcome these bible based truths and the Protestant Reformation began. Protestants were first given that name because they “protested” against the papacy and Roman rule within the Church.
What Are We Protesting?
One might ask though, what was so wrong about the doctrines of the then known church that necessitated a protest. The Protestant faith has been represented by the Five Solas: Sola Fide (faith alone), Solaus Christus (Christ alone), Sola Gratia (grace alone), Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (God’s glory alone).
The Five Solas emphasize the following three doctrinal points: First, Protestants hold the Holy Bible as the only authority regarding matters of faith, doctrine and practice. In contrast, the Orthodox Church recognizes sacred traditions as equally authoritative as the Bible. The Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand, includes sacred tradition and the authority of the Pope as authority for its faith. The Reformers expressed this distinction with the term sola scriptura (“Scripture alone”).
Secondly, Protestants believe in faith alone as a medium for salvation, separate and apart from works. While the Roman Catholic Church’s view requires the keeping of seven sacraments and often refers to works as part of a person’s salvation. However, the protestant’s belief is clearly supported by Ephesians 2:8–9-:“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Thirdly, Protestants believe in living for God’s glory alone. Although Roman Catholic teaching claims this belief, it is often expressed in addition to faithful obedience to the Church and its leaders. In contrast, Protestants teach the priesthood of every believer, as stated in 1 Peter 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Thus Protestants reject the Catholic priesthood system, pledging allegiance to God alone
and His glory.
As an Individual, Where Do You Fall in All of This?
Seeing that the Protestant goes directly to the Word of God for instruction, and to the throne of grace in his devotions; whilst the Roman Catholic consults the teaching of his church, it is impossible to be on both sides of such a vastly differing spectrum. Thus at this time of decision making we all, collectively and individually, must carefully weigh our stance because we must answer to both our Creator and our conscience. If in these last days the traditional way of worship could be seen as acceptable to God then the first angel of Revelation fourteen would not need to call the inhabitants of the earth to return to true worship (“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” – Revelation 14:6, 7). Therefore, the Protestant Reformation is very important as God desires for us to hold fast to solid biblical doctrines and most importantly to live by them.
While we ponder these essential truths let us be resolute in our devotion to God as was Peter and the apostles. “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29 (KJV).
- Encyclopedia Britannica. (2017). Protestantism | Christianity. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Protestantism [Accessed 24 Oct. 2017].
- Newadvent.org. (2017). CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Protestantism. [online] Available at: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12495a.htm [Accessed 24 Oct. 2017]. GotQuestions.org. (2017). What is Protestantism?. [online] Available at: https://www.gotquestions.org/Protestantism.html [Accessed 24 Oct. 2017].
- Stackelroth, J. (2017). The protest is over. [online] Record.adventistchurch.com. Available at: https://record.adventistchurch.com/2017/10/12/the-protest- is-over/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2017].