500 YEARS OF REFORMATION – IS IT OVER?
12th October 2017
The Week of Reformation was held at the Coast Memorial church, by the Paisley Seventh-day Adventist church, Scotland from 18-22 September, with a high volume of the church members attending every day to reclaim the 5 mis-sold solas. Pastor Obinnaya Iheoma, a visiting pastor from England, who was once the pastor of Paisley church, gave the congregation a step-by-step guide on how they could reclaim the 5 solas, which are:
1. Sola scriptura: 'Scripture alone'
2. Sola fide: 'faith alone'
3. Sola gratia: 'grace alone'
4. Solo Christo: 'Christ alone'
5. Soli Deo gloria: 'to the glory of God alone'
One of the main things that the majority of the young and older member and attendees learnt was that 'I don't pray for you, but I pray with you'. This encouraged everyone to become proactive in their prayer life. The church members were blessed for having their previous pastor offer such powerful teachings to them.
The congregation had the pleasure of having the Scottish Mission President Pastor Paul Tompkins attending on the Wednesday ‒ he was pleased by the number of attendees. The Week of Reformation was such a success and very powerful that a ten-year-old boy chose to give his life to Jesus Christ and decided that he wanted to get baptised.
Pastor Iheoma provided excellent insight, knowledge, wisdom and truth in the Word of God. Though the 5 solas are neglected by many, the Word of God will never wither. "I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me, Amen." [Luther at the Diet of Worms (1521) LW 32:112-13]
Having been brought up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I heard various church members talk of Martin Luther and the Reformation during Bible discussions. I had very little knowledge of who he was or what the Reformation was all about, and the little knowledge received, I had gathered only through attending Pathfinders in my teens. Martin Luther, to me had become one of those distant cousins you only heard of at family gatherings and had to somewhat pretend that you knew them based on the information you had gathered from previous conversations. A nod of the head here-and-there with that awkward smile on your face to assure people that you weren't entirely clueless. Saying random facts off the top of your head hoping that they somewhat tie in with what is being said. My lack of knowledge made it very difficult for me to understand anything, causing me to eventually switch off. I was there physically but my mind was completely gone – thinking about that last slice of pizza in the fridge. But this truly pushed me and created a desire in me to gain more knowledge.
The week of revival made me understand the reasons why I needed to know of Martin Luther and the Reformation. It got me to understand the 5 solas and the God that I serve. My faith in the Word and power of God, and my knowledge of the Reformation has increased. I am no longer ignorant of what happened 500 years ago, but I am aware of what my faith is built on. If there is a name that should ring a bell in the ears of the many Bible Christians, theologists, and Protestants, it is Martin Luther. What a great man of God he was!
Martin Luther paved the way for the Protestant churches you see and hear of today, especially the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He worked diligently day and night seeking truth through scripture; the very Word of God. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Martin Luther raised several concerns – The Ninety-Five Theses – he had about the church in the 16th century, which he nailed to the church door, in open view for every eye to see. This caused such a great uprising in the church, for many people's beliefs were put into question. Religious authorities saw the Reformation as a new challenge. We are not to keep the truth we have found as a Church or as individuals to ourselves, but rather just like Martin Luther, we are to nail them on the door for all to see. We are to proclaim the truth to everyone and prepare the flocks for the coming of our saviour Jesus Christ.
The Week of Reformation ended on Sabbath with 'open' communion, as visitors and members of the church young and old were called to take part. The pastor preached about the grace of God, what the bread and wine signified and the importance of Holy Communion.
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." John 8:32