A Roman Catholic priest, Martin Luther, ignited the Reformation when he nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenburg, Saxony on October 31, 1517. Luther and the other reformers sought to return the church to the simple Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and away from the non-biblical, man-made traditions that overtook the early church as it morphed into a politically and economically-minded institution, which replaced saving faith with legalism and ritualism via crushing ecclesiastical imperialism.
Fasten your seat belts, folks. As the 500th anniversary of the Reformation approaches, we’re going to see many, many articles like the one below. Representatives of various “Christian” sects will gather to discuss the relevance of the Reformation for today. Many will argue that the reasons for the Reformation no longer apply. They will say Catholics and Protestants share belief in the basic essentials of Christianity and to perpetuate disunity would be disobedience to Christ’s command. Ecumenists argue that “Christians” need to present a united front to an increasingly unbelieving world rather than bicker amongst themselves.
But are Catholics and Evangelical Protestants united in their beliefs? Catholics believe in salvation by sacramental grace and by perfectly obeying the Ten Commandments and church law. Evangelicals believe in salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christs alone. These two belief systems are totally incompatible. The Evangelical view is that of the repentant tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. Although they would never admit to it, the Catholic view is that of the self-righteous Pharisee who thinks he’s obeying the Law just fine. There is a catalog of additional differences but the opposing views on justification, by faith in Christ versus obedience to the Law, could never be HONESTLY reconciled.
In this article, Lutheran bishop, James Hazelwood, claims that Luther would have definitely signed a recent ecumenical agreement between the Lutheran and Catholic churches. Yet, Catholicism still teaches the same salvation-by-merit gospel (with some lip service to grace and faith thrown in) that it did in 1517. So why would Luther now approve of the 2015 version of Catholicism when it hasn’t changed in essentials from the 1517 version?
Evangelical ecumenists celebrate the steady advance towards “unity.” But make no mistake, Roman Catholicism has always defined “unity” as submission to the papacy.
I am so grateful the Lord used Martin Luther and the other Reformers to oppose empty religious ritualism and useless legalism and to lift up Jesus Christ and the Gospel. I watch with sadness as today’s Evangelical compromisers betray the Gospel.
“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” – Galatians 1:6-7
Groups vow unity ahead of Reformation anniversary
By Laura Crimaldi
The Boston Globe
November 12, 2015