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Reformation Sunday and All Saintsí Day
UPC Times Online ^ | November 2011 | Bob Davies

Posted on 11/01/2012 7:30:08 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

There are two important days in our church calendar just before the first Sunday in Advent. The first is Reformation Sunday, a celebration of the birth of the Protestant faith, which arose during a unique time in history in the mid-1500s. The second is All Saints’ Day, on which we honor our church heritage.

The Reformation

Martin Luther was a troubled Catholic priest when he wrote his Ninety-Five Theses critiquing certain church practices. According to one church leader at the time, he posted them on the church door in Wittenburg, Germany, on October 31, 1517. Due to the newly-invented printing press, copies of Luther’s theses quickly spread through Germany, then all over Europe.

Luther did not intend to begin a new branch of Christendom; he simply wanted to confront church doctrines which he deemed unbiblical, such as the common practice of paying money to purchase a “free pass” out of purgatory for one’s sins.

However, there had been growing unrest among many church people over these and other church matters. When Luther’s criticisms were published, this “spark” ignited a raging fire of debate which quickly spread through many countries of Europe. Luther was brought to trial before a group of church leaders and condemned as a heretic. He was excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

At the same time, the writings of John Calvin, a French theologian, were echoing many of the same criticisms as Luther. Calvin’s influence spread through Switzerland, Scotland, and elsewhere.

The new invention of the printing press and Luther’s translation of the Bible into German helped spread these new ideas more widely and quickly than had ever been possible before. Three core beliefs of the Protestant faith emerged: 1) justification by grace through faith alone (not good works), 2) the priesthood of all believers, and 3) the Bible (not tradition) as the ultimate authority in matters of faith and order.

The growth of the Protestant church over the past 500 years has been phenomenal. According to the New World Encyclopedia, there are an estimated 590 million Protestants in the world today, which represents 27 percent of all Christian believers (the other two major branches of the Christian church are Catholic and Orthodox). Reformation Sunday is the day we remember this history.

All Saints’ Day

All Saints’ Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in November. On this Sunday during church services at UPC, we honor our heritage by reading the names of all the church members and friends who have died in the past 12 months.

We may think of “saints” as those officially canonized by the Catholic Church. However, the Bible uses the word in reference to all believers. Paul frequently addressed his New Testament letters “to the saints” in a certain city, such as Ephesus (Eph. 1:1) and Philippi (Phil. 1:1). Paul also said that all the believers in the church at Rome were “called to be saints” (Rom. 1:7).

So, in summary, this is a day to remember faithful believers who have gone into eternity before us. “The All Saints observance is a time when all can reflect on and give thanks for deceased persons who have been influential in their spiritual formation and growth,” says Laurence Hull Stookey in his excellent book, Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church. “As a result, all are reminded of the influence their lives can have upon others. This in turn may strengthen our resolve to lead lives worthy of imitation, to open ourselves more fully to the sanctifying power of God.”

Another aspect of this day is celebrating all believers—both those who have died and those friends who share our pew on Sunday. “On this day we rejoice in the communion of all the saints, here and now, from before time and forever.” (Welcome to the Church Year, Vicki K. Black). In the words of a favorite hymn for this day, “For All the Saints”:

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.
Alleluia, alleluia!

In Conclusion

One year ago, I began this series of columns on the church year. We have seen how, throughout the year, the church calendar reminds us of the central events of Christ’s life, and also helps us to commemorate key events in the history of the church. This annual cycle gives rhythm, boundaries, and structure to the weekly worship services in which we celebrate our new life in Christ. Like the seasonal changes in temperature and weather, the various seasons of the church year help us focus on different aspects of our Christian discipleship. As the years go by, I continue to develop a greater love, and deeper appreciation, for this annual cycle of celebration and remembrance.


TOPICS: History; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS:
....The growth of the Protestant church over the past 500 years has been phenomenal. According to the New World Encyclopedia, there are an estimated 590 million Protestants in the world today, which represents 27 percent of all Christian believers (the other two major branches of the Christian church are Catholic and Orthodox). Reformation Sunday is the day we remember this history....

....in summary, this is a day to remember faithful believers who have gone into eternity before us. “The All Saints observance is a time when all can reflect on and give thanks for deceased persons who have been influential in their spiritual formation and growth,” says Laurence Hull Stookey in his excellent book, Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church. “As a result, all are reminded of the influence their lives can have upon others. This in turn may strengthen our resolve to lead lives worthy of imitation, to open ourselves more fully to the sanctifying power of God.”

1 posted on 11/01/2012 7:30:15 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

Thanks for posting that information. I care about Reformation Day and All Saints’ Day because I’m Lutheran. I wondered whether many others cared.


2 posted on 11/01/2012 7:46:46 AM PDT by PhilCollins
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To: Alex Murphy
Luther committed adultery with a nun named Katharina von Bora.

He 'married' Katharina - but being a nun vowed to Holy Orders she was already the Bride of Christ - making it adultery. He broke his own vows of celibacy at the same time.

Just like his near-contemporary Henry VIII, Luther happened to form a set of theological beliefs that would allow him to have sexual relations with the woman he wanted.

An example of Luther's creed can be found in his letter to Melanchthon

"Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong , but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world."

Luther insisted that the mere fact of his baptism allowed him to sin as much as he wanted. He did not need to repent. This then was Luther's 'faith' - a dreadful presumption on God's mercy and one of the two sins against hope (the other being despair).

Anyone today who calls themselves 'saved' is in danger of committing the same presumption as Luther. We are not 'saved': we are being saved.

3 posted on 11/01/2012 8:20:33 AM PDT by agere_contra ("Government creates nothing" - Romney, 2012)
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To: PhilCollins

No. Nobody cares because Martin Luther was wrongheaded and wrong.


4 posted on 11/01/2012 8:44:47 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: agere_contra
Luther committed adultery with a nun named Katharina von Bora. He 'married' Katharina - but being a nun vowed to Holy Orders she was already the Bride of Christ - making it adultery. He broke his own vows of celibacy at the same time.


5 posted on 11/01/2012 8:50:21 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (Semper Reformanda!)
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To: yldstrk

Why was Luther wrong? Do you think that a church should sell indulgences, before they tell members that they can go to heaven? Do you think that the Bible should only be printed in Latin?


6 posted on 11/01/2012 9:05:02 AM PDT by PhilCollins
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To: Alex Murphy
... just before the first Sunday in Advent

Huh? Is the author using some kind of Old Russian True Believer The Only Real Orthodox Ethiopian Calendar? On mine (from Voice of the Martyrs, picture of cute Colombian evangelical children this month), today is November 1, and the first Sunday of Advent is December 2. I don't call this "just before"; I call it "more than a month before."

(This rant was occasioned by the lighting of Hemby Bridge Christmas lights on October 27. I plan to leave my October Spiders up until Advent really begins, so there!)

7 posted on 11/01/2012 9:08:45 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Decency requires that they be voted out of office as an act of urgent political hygiene." ~Steyn)
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To: PhilCollins

His “reforms” were “deforms”.

No the Catholic Church wasn’t/isn’t perfect, but selling dispensations was just Luther’s excuse to form his own “church”


8 posted on 11/01/2012 9:16:17 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Alex Murphy; agere_contra

This just came up here, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2966953/posts?page=111#111, and considering what Luther actually taught when not engaging in his often misunderstood hyperbole, the incredulous laughter in the light or those who presume Luther actually formally taught antinomianism is understandable.


9 posted on 12/09/2012 1:29:38 PM PST by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: PhilCollins

Luther made mistakes — and will have to answer for it. He took books out of the Bible that he didn’t like, and added words in where he wanted them.

I’ve always though that one was not to add or take away from the Bible text, isn’t that right?


10 posted on 12/09/2012 1:38:21 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

I never heard that Luther took out books or added words. Which books did he remove? Which words did he add? You’re correct that we shouldn’t do either.


11 posted on 12/09/2012 2:01:11 PM PST by PhilCollins
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To: PhilCollins

Books removed:
Historical Books:
The Book of Tobit
The Book of Judith
The First Book of Maccabees
The Second Book of Maccabees

Wisdom Books:
The Book of Wisdom
The Book of Sirach (Eccliasticus)

Prophetic Books:
The Book of Baruch

What he added? Among other things the word “alone” with faith. So that it reads “faith alone.”

Have you ever check the Bible links that I post?


12 posted on 12/09/2012 2:10:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: PhilCollins
Catholic Scripture Study Bible - RSV Large Print Edition


"We are compelled to concede to the Papists
that they have the Word of God,
that we received it from them,
and that without them
we should have no knowledge of it at all."

~ Martin Luther



The Word of God is a Person Not Merely a Text
Are Catholics into the Bible?
Are the Gospels Historical?
What is Biblical Prophecy? What Biblical Prophecy is NOT, and What It Really IS
Biblical Illiteracy and Bible Babel
The Pilgrims' Regress - The Geneva Bible And The "Apocrypha"

The "Inconvenient Tale" of the Original King James Bible
The Bible - an absolutely amazing book
Christian Scriptures, Jewish Commentary
Essays for Lent: The Canon of Scripture
Essays for Lent: The Bible
1500 year-old ‘ Syriac ‘ Bible found in Ankara, Turkey
How we should read the Bible
St. Jerome and the Vulgate (completing the FIRST Bible in the year 404) [Catholic Caucus]
In Bible Times
Deuterocanonical References in the New Testament

Translations Before the King James: - The KJV Translators Speak!
EWTN Live - March 23 - A Journey Through the Bible
"Our Father's Plan" - EWTN series with Dr. Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavins on the Bible timeline
The Daunting Journey From Faith to Faith [Anglicanism to Catholicism]
Reflections on the Soon to Be Released New American Bible (Revised Edition)[Catholic Caucus]
New American Bible changes some words such as "holocaust"
Is the Bible the Only Revelation from God? (Catholic / Orthodox Caucus)
History of the Bible (caution: long)
Catholic and Protestant Bibles
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: ON READING THE BIBLE [Catholic Caucus]

Because I Love the Bible
Where Is That Taught in the Bible?
When Was the Bible Really Written?
Three Reasons for Teaching the Bible [St. Thomas Aquinas]
The Smiting Is Still Implied (God of the OT vs the NT)
Where Is That Taught in the Bible?
Friday Fast Fact: The Bible in English
Bible Reading is Central in Conversions to Catholicism in Shangai, Reports Organization
Verses (in Scripture) I Never Saw
5 Myths about 7 Books

Lectionary Statistics - How much of the Bible is included in the Lectionary for Mass? (Popquiz!)
Pope calls Catholics to daily meditation on the Bible
What Are the "Apocrypha?"
The Accuracy of Scripture
US Conference of Catholic Bishops recommendations for Bible study
CNA unveils resource to help Catholics understand the Scriptures
The Dos and Don’ts of Reading the Bible [Ecumenical]
Pope to lead marathon Bible reading on Italian TV
The Complete Bible: Why Catholics Have Seven More Books [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: Books of the Catholic Bible: The Complete Scriptures [Ecumenical]

Beginning Catholic: When Was The Bible Written? [Ecumenical]
The Complete Bible: Why Catholics Have Seven More Books [Ecumenical]
U.S. among most Bible-literate nations: poll
Bible Lovers Not Defined by Denomination, Politics
Dei Verbum (Catholics and the Bible)
Vatican Offers Rich Online Source of Bible Commentary
Clergy Congregation Takes Bible Online
Knowing Mary Through the Bible: Mary's Last Words
A Bible Teaser For You... (for everyone :-)
Knowing Mary Through the Bible: New Wine, New Eve

Return of Devil's Bible to Prague draws crowds
Doctrinal Concordance of the Bible [What Catholics Believe from the Bible] Catholic Caucus
Should We Take the Bible Literally or Figuratively?
Glimpsing Words, Practices, or Beliefs Unique to Catholicism [Bible Trivia]
Catholic and Protestant Bibles: What is the Difference?
Church and the Bible(Caatholic Caucus)
Pope Urges Prayerful Reading of Bible
Catholic Caucus: It's the Church's Bible
How Tradition Gave Us the Bible
The Church or the Bible

13 posted on 12/09/2012 2:15:35 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

I haven’t checked the links, yet, but I probaly will.


14 posted on 12/09/2012 2:26:42 PM PST by PhilCollins
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