Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Halloween, October 31, 1517-2017
500th Anniversary of the Reformation

When we were in Wittenberg and Worms a few years ago doing research for our novel trilogy, we saw that many areas were already preparing for 
the onslaught of Protestants making a pilgrimage to the Reformation hotspots today. The Protestant world was readying for that celebratory moment when they could shout that for half a millennium they were "free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty they are free at last" from the horrors of the wicked and corrupt Catholic Church. I don't write that with any malice or bitterness or even sarcasm. That is how many Protestants feel. I know. I have marched in the Reformation Day parades this day when I was a Protestant. 

Whether it be from theology and doctrine or from politics disagreements or from the leaders they feel do not have God's authority—Protestants do not like the Catholic Church and are glad there are churches they can attend that more fit their own beliefs.

But for most of Christianity today, for Protestants still remain a minority within Christianity, this is a great day of mourning. We see the Reformation as more of a great divorce that ripped the Body of Christ into little divisions of distrust and left the disaster of relativism in its wake. It is a day that we should be throwing ashes upon ourselves and sitting in sackcloth. Our family is broken. God's kingdom remains divided against itself against the pleading command of God to stay unified: 

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.. Rom. 12: 4-5 
 …With all wisdom and understanding, he mde known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. Ephesians 1: 8-10
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. Eph. 3: 6
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Eph. 4: 1-6
Why is unity SO important?
Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Eph. 4: 11-14 
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph. 4: 31-32
After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— Eph. 5: 29

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. Colossians 3: 13-15

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. I Cor. 1: 10
Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf. I Cor. 10:17 
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. …As it is, there are many parts, but one body. I Cor. 12:12, 20
so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. I Cor. 12: 25-27

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17: 20-23
Let us not, this Reformation day, celebrate the divisions in the Body of Christ. Let us instead grieve and pray for ways of healing those divisions. And it is possible if we act in faith. For God said to unify, an we must do it even if we don't want to.

First step is to put down our swords of defensiveness. Our enemy is not those who take the name of Christ. The Bible clearly identifies the enemy of Christ as those dark powers and principalities of the unseen… the devil and his fallen angels. For Christians who may disagree with us theologically or are simply bad people, we should not see as our enemies, but see them through the eyes of Christ. They are who He died to save. It's okay to love people who are wrong. It's okay to love people who are evil. God is big enough to handle the bad Christians. Pray for them. Do not hate them.

Secondly, listen with your hearts to other Christians who disagree with you. You may find that most often, you actually agree, but just have different ways you express something. Listening is an art that we have lost today. Listen without judgment.

Thirdly, do not fear. For pride and fear are the biggest hurdles we must overcome in order to follow Christ's command to unify. And I am not saying we are going to become one big happy denomination. That is not what I am saying at all. What I am saying is the first step towards unity is to love each other and believe that no matter what it may appear, God is in control and He will bring us all into truth. He said that bringing us into all truth was the job of the Holy Spirit. We can trust the Holy Spirit. What we need to do is act in faith that God will protect His people.

Five hundred years of disobedience, divisions and heart-rendering disunity. We can change this. Begin on our knees in asking God for forgiveness for His Body being torn apart. Let's begin the healing today. 

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