Reformation 500 Edition

Grow Deep: Reformation 500 Edition

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God… .” (Ephesians 2:8)

For almost as long as there has been television, there has been "instant replay." The technology allows viewers to examine with almost superhuman capacity, the actions of athletes and the decisions of officials. Long before there were official timeouts for review, viewers were able to review the plays on our televisions with our own "expert" analysis. "Instant reply," however, has actually been around a lot longer than television. The media sources are different, but every examination of history is an exercise in instant reply.

There isn't an October 31, 1517 "Facebook Live" video archive of Luther posting his 95 Theses on the doors of All Saints Church in Wittenberg. The events that followed, however, have been replayed and analyzed ever since. The Reformation changed the church and society, the family and education, politics and economics, the arts and culture. The fact that you are reading this booklet, reflecting on Scripture and applying it to real time questions in life today puts you in the movement.

In preparing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we were careful not to worship the past, but to see ourselves as those who have inherited a place in the Reformation movement today. While many movements in society and technologies of today can find their roots in the Reformation, one stands above all others: The Gospel.

The Gospel is not a Reformation invention; the Gospel was and remains God's good news to the world. "By grace you have been saved… ." Jesus is God's love sent into the world. His love and sacrifice snatches us from the destructive course of a de-evolving, sinful human race giving us, instead, a hope and future that is eternal. Jesus is the real renaissance and reformation for the world.

Three strong words became the Reformation cadence of the 16th century: Grace, Faith, Scripture. These "alone" would shine the light on God's movement. Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, would be the path into God's future.

As you read this issue of Grow Deep, let the Word of God reform you. In celebrating this milestone of the Reformation, we are reclaiming the hope we all need to see today in Jesus. Replay the stories of Scripture and our heritage. Use them to realign your focus today. And pass on what you've learned from this instant replay to generations to come.

Not too long ago, Fred Prat Green gave us a hymn that is well positioned for our journey this October. I pray you will take it to heart as you read, reflect, replay and reclaim God's Reformation.

The church of Christ, in every age,
Beset by change but Spirit led,
Must claim and test its heritage
And keep on rising from the dead.

Pastor Bill Geis and

Adult Ministry Team

We thank the following writers for sharing their insights in this issue: Erica Bredehoft, Edie Grieshaber, Billy Klug, Sammi McCain, Pastor Don Miesner, Jenny Morrison, Judy Ruf, and Angela Shirley.

The following online resources were used in preparing this material: