Our home study 3 years ago was the first time that I had ever read the stories of the Reformation. I learned right alongside of the boys in reading those stories of conviction and passion for God's truth. We finished that curriculum cycle of history and decided this year to use the Mystery of History Volume III on The Renaissance, Reformation and Growth of Nations. And honestly, I picked it because I specifically wished to study the Reformation period again.
It has been wonderful. Today's lesson focused on particular teachings of Martin Luther against the church of Rome and their insistence on his compliance with their wishes. Here is a rundown of some, not all, of his major points:
1) The pope was not infallible.
2) The church of Rome was not supreme over other churches.
3) The Bible is the ultimate authority for Christians, not the teachings of the church.
4) There is no special ranking in God's eyes between members of the clergy and the masses. In other words, every Christian is equal before God.
5) Being that every Christian is equal before God, then each has the right to read and interpret the Bible.
6) Baptism and communion are the only true sacraments of the church.
7) Faith in Christ alone, not good works, provides salvation.
8) Good works should flow from the believer whose faith is in Christ, not because he has to do good works but because he is free to do so. *
I imagine that now, like then, some of these teachings would rankle, if not in theory then in practice, certain professing believers. Martin Luther sure rankled several people. He ignored the bull (a special letter) from the pope at that time and was excommunicated from the church.
And in doing so, he impacted history significantly for the good of the people who truly loved God and desired to follow His Words over the teachings of men.
It is Martin Luther's speech at the Diet of Worms though that stirs in my soul. He was charged with heresy, contumacy even, and it was demanded that he repent and recant his statements, writings and teachings about the church and the pope. Thus, it was before God and man that Luther stood before the council and answered,
Your Imperial Majesty and Your Lordships demand a simple answer. Here it is...Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by clear reason (for I trust neither pope nor council alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have cited, for my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything since to act against one's conscience is neither safe nor right. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand, may God help me. Amen.
We are thoroughly enjoying learning about the power of true reformation when man, woman and child submits to God and His everlasting Word.
*Cited from Mystery of History Vol. III, p. 108.