Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Happy Reformation Day!

To the left, of course, is a picture of Martin Luther. Why? Because on All Hallows Eve (31 Oct.) of 1517, Martin Luther, then a Dominican Monk, nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the church at Wittenberg, Germany. This act is usually cited as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Sing several verses today of Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

But don’t stop at celebrating Luther’s legacy: Investigate and take time to appreciate the contributions of other Reformers–Zwingli, Bucer, Bullinger, Melancthon, Karlstadt, and, yes, Calvin, who was a great expositor of Scripture and whom I like far more than I do most of his followers (Calvinists). (But, then, I pray every day that Jesus will not be evaluated by his followers!) And go further and celebrate the Radical Reformers: Conrad Grebel, Felix Mantz, Georg Blaurock, Balthasar Hubmaier, Michael Sattler, Menno Simons, Pilgram Marpeck, Hans Hut, Jakob Hutter, Pieter Riedemann and more.

Also, although the Protestant Reformation was necessary, it did break the unity of the Western Church and, thus, I must agree with the late Jaroslav Pelikan, Lutheran church historian, who called the Protestant Reformation a “tragic necessity.” While celebrating the Reformers’ legacy, take time to shed a tear for the fragmentation of the church universal.

And Catholics have also been graced by Reformers before the 16th C. (e.g., the monastic movements), during it (e.g., Erasmus, Savanarola, Ignatius Loyola), and later (especially Vatican II). All reform movements soon need their own reformations, too. Pray for further reform of the whole church. And read a Reformer today! Posted by Picasa

October 31, 2006 - Posted by | Christian calendar, church history, Reformation


  1. Sing at least two verses! I have been to a PCA church that sang the first verse only which ends with:

    ” …For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.”

    Comment by Looney | October 31, 2006

  2. Everyone should be sure to check out the snippet from Michael’s Reformation Day Sermon over at the Jeff St blog…

    Comment by Dan Trabue | October 31, 2006

  3. I think it’s great to look at the history of the Christian church, and to know exactly why Luther did what he did. Every Protestant should look at the differences and commonalities between us and the Catholics and actually understand why one is Protestant, or as I like to say, a Christian who happens to be Protestant.

    Comment by Anonymous | November 3, 2006

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: