Actually, the wheels of reformation began turning long before Luther nailed his document to the church door. It began with an English theologian named John Wycliffe who died one-hundred years before the birth of Martin Luther. Among other things, Wycliffe is known for translating the Bible from Latin to English. Prior to Wycliffe’s day, the Bible was read only by the clergy, and that not very often if ever. Thanks to Wycliffe the common man could now read God’s Word. Though later condemned by the church for his work, John Wycliffe became known as the “Morning Star of the Reformation.”
After Wycliffe, a Bohemian Priest named John Huss took up the torch of reformation. Huss continued to promote the radical idea of the day that ordinary people should be allowed to read the Bible in their own language. His call to believers was as follows, “Therefore, faithful Christian, seek the truth, listen to the truth, teach the truth, love the truth, abide by the truth, and defend the truth even to death.” For his efforts, John Huss was burned at the stake in 1415.
By the time Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Germany in 1483, the winds of reformation had been sweeping across Europe for more than one-hundred years. It was Martin Luther who would fan the flames of reformation into a raging, unquenchable, purifying fire with the battle cry Sola Scriptura - Scripture alone! At the heart of the reformation was the powerful conviction that the Bible alone - not the church, ecclesiastical council, or religious leader - is the source of absolute authority.
With the invention of the Gutenberg Press and the work of Bible translators such as William Tyndale, the Word of God spread like wildfire. For the first time in one-thousand years, people could own and read a copy of the Bible. The world has never been the same since!
Interestingly, Martin Luther’s rediscovery of God began when he started reading the Bible. Imagine the reformation that could take place if people would just read the Bible! If it could impact Europe and then the rest of the world, imagine the impact it could make on your life and family. Imagine the impact it could make on our church if we all became dedicated readers of God’s Word.
For the past ten years we have given away Through the Bible Reading Guides. Copies of 2018 reading guides are still available at the church. Let’s make 2018 the year of the Bible at River of Life. Recommitment to the Bible will lead to a rediscovery of God. And a rediscovery of God will once again lead to reformation.
Pastor Todd Weston