4 Ways to Make the Reformation Personal
- Jeff Anderson Author, Speaker, and Founder of Acceptable Gift
- 2017 24 Oct
500 years ago, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted a “blog” to the door of a local church. The words and concepts have since been shared millions of times, and began what is now called The Reformation. But are his rebellious writings still relevant?
I’m not a Reformation scholar, but I think about what Luther did this way: he loved God, loved the Bible, and hated seeing Christians trying to live their faith without a personal knowledge of the truth of God’s Word.
Luther equipped believers by translating the Bible into the language of his home country—German. Then he challenged Christians to take responsibility for their own faith, and not delegate the responsibility to others.
As believers, and parents, we must also challenge ourselves and our families. It’s up to us to take back our faith.
1. Take back our faith - by seeing
A typical church in the Sixteenth Century had a Bible… somewhere in a vault, or perhaps in a lofty pulpit. But members weren’t allowed to read it.
Does out of sight out of mind apply to the Bible? I think so.
The Bible has been pushed away again, but this time it’s our phone, social media feeds, and even other books crowding it out.
If you’ve fallen into the habit of storing your Bibles like you store your fancy dishes, it’s time to get them out in the open: on the coffee table, kitchen counter, dining room table, and nightstand.
I know this sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s an important step to re-engaging our faith.
2. Take back our faith - by reading
Church leaders in the sixteenth century fought to keep the Bible out of the hands (and out of the language) of the “common” people.
Now we find ourselves in familiar place. The Bible is often “kept” from people, but in a very different way. In our society, the Bible is more accessible than ever. Everyone has a Bible app on their phone, right?
Meanwhile engagement with the text has steadily declined in the past decades. But why?
One reason is the amount of cultural and technological noise—in everyday life and even in the church. Why read an ancient, outdated, book (the Bible) when fresh online revelation is available—every thirty seconds! You can even “like,” share, or retweet to show engagement.
One of Luther’s ninety-five theses stressed reliance on scripture, and not social-media feeds from church elite. The voice of church leaders is essential, but only when it’s secondary to, and supported by, the Bible.
Just like the printing press in Luther’s day, technology can be used to distract hearts and minds, or spur reflection and reformation. It’s our choice.
3. Take back our faith - by talking
Taking faith from our hearts to our conversations is crucial, especially for our kids.
Luther started countless conversations about society and church with the Bible as the cornerstone of those talks.
It’s simple. Because you see the Bible, you’ll pick it up and read it more often. Because you read the Bible, you are able to talk about it more, in a relevant, conversational way.
Try this for one week: every time you’re tempted to comment on the latest happening at church or in the news, relate something about the Bible instead. Challenge your family to dig into their understanding of the Bible and apply it to the discussion.
The vast majority of Christians 500 years ago had never read a single verse of scripture. What a privilege to have the entire book at our fingertips to fill our heart and our conversations.
This is how we make The Reformation relevant.
4. Take back our faith - by taking action
Martin Luther was a stirred man. He was tired of the same ole’ religious drill and he took thoughtful and prayerful action.
I sense that you’re stirred also. So as you read God’s Word, do what Luther did: question yourself, and question culture—including church culture.
In 1519, Luther preached that "a simple layman armed with the Scriptures" should be more respected than pope and councils without them. This, as you might imagine, didn’t go over well with leaders of that day.
Disruption, based on the Bible, sometimes brings peace, and sometimes brings controversy. But it always helps.
My personal reformation
Grab your Bible and read it. (Countless believers have literally died in their selfless quest to bring it to us in our language.) Talk about it with your family and friends.
Let it disrupt your thoughts, conversations, and actions.
God’s Word will reform you, and help your family take back their faith.
JEFF ANDERSON speaks and writes about walking with God and leading your family into deeply rooted faith. He’s the author of Plastic Donuts, and Divine Applause. Want to finally read the entire Bible in just 60 days? Try Jeff’s new book, Power-Read The Bible, here: http://jeffandersonauthor.com/
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