Why Halloween Reformation Day was a Transforming Day in History

By Dennis Petersen

Do you know what October 31st is besides Halloween?  Hint: it’s one of the most important days in the history of the Christian church and it affects everything about your life today.  Everything!

It was on the 31st of October 1517 that a Catholic monk named Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. By God’s grace, Luther’s courageous act of challenging corruption and unbiblical heresies launched the Great Reformation.  But why is this legacy worth recalling and how does it affect us today?

On Reformation Days – October 31st   – most American Christians seem more conscious of Halloween than of the Reformation. It appears that more of the children in our churches are celebrating pagan and dark, grotesque symbols for Halloween than the great spiritual Revival that led to the birth of the Protestant Reformation.

Halloween

Halloween is celebrated by millions on October 31st each year with costumes and candy. Despite its Christianized name, Halloween stems from an ancient pagan Celtic religion that started nearly two centuries before the birth of Christ.  The tribal Druids of Ireland and Europe offered end-of-harvest sacrifices at this beginning of winter to appease a Celtic demon they called Samhain (SOW-in), the lord of death, and of evil spirits. The early Gaelic Celts apparently believed that Samhain sent evil spirits into the world to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves.  Catholic Christians tried to form an alternative tradition by moving the celebration of “All Hallows’ Day” that celebrated the lives of Christian martyred saints from May to November 1st.  So November 1st is referred to as “All Saints’ Day.” In medieval England that Catholic festival was known as All Hallows.  The evening before (October 31st) was thus named “All Hallows’ eve” which became Hallow-een.

Reformation Day

Reformation Day (October 31) commemorates Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. This one act triggered the Protestant Reformation because Luther’s challenges to the church’s practices were immediately translated and distributed all across Germany in a matter of weeks. The Protestant Reformation was the rediscovery of the doctrine of justification—that is, salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, like we read in Ephesians 2:8 and 9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one should boast.”  It was also the protest against the corruption within the Roman Catholic Church. The century before the Reformation was marked by widespread dissatisfaction with the corruption of the leaders in the Roman Catholic Church and with its false doctrines, biblical illiteracy, and superstition. Monks, priests, bishops, and popes in Rome taught unbiblical doctrines like the selling of indulgences, the treasury of merit, purgatory, and salvation through good works.

All Souls’ Day

All Souls’ Day or the Day of the Dead is normally celebrated, primarily by Roman Catholics, on November 2. This is a day dedicated to prayer and almsgiving in memory of ancestors who have died. People pray for the souls of the dead, in their hopeful belief to hasten their release from purgatory to heaven by being purged and cleansed from their sins.

Treasury of Merit

Spiritually sincere people were taught to redeem themselves by charitable works, pilgrimages, and all kinds of religious rituals. They were persuaded to acquire this “merit,” which was at the disposal of the church, by purchasing “certificates of indulgence.”  This left them wondering if they ever did enough or paid enough to appease God’s righteous anger and escape his judgment. That was the popular mindset that prompted Luther’s desire to refocus the church on salvation by grace through faith on account of Christ by imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us.

Think of it.  Almost 98% of medieval people couldn’t read.  They were spiritually oppressed by indulgences.  They had no assurance of God’s grace.  Doctor Luther proclaimed the grace of God’s acceptance for true saints.

Instead of the treasury of merit that was for sale, Luther protested, “The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God”

Life in Europe and England (not to mention the rest of the world) has changed drastically since 500 years ago.  For both Christians and unbelievers, the time of the early 16th Century when Martin Luther lived was radically different and desperate.  It’s obvious that modern technology’s conveniences were absent, but even common things we take for granted like clean water and comfortable housing were unknown.

Think of Productive Prosperity

Western civilization has been blessed with the greatest freedoms, productivity and prosperity ever known in history.  The liberty, standards of justice and creativity enjoyed in Western civilization are direct results of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century.  Don’t miss why these amazing results occurred.

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught:  “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Think of Peace with God.

 Martin Luther was passionate about finding peace with God.  He studied the Bible so intently that it led him to challenge the unethical fund-raising tactics of the papacy.  That’s what ignited the Protestant Reformation.  Luther’s love for the Word of God and his dedication to truth led him to challenge the entire ecclesiastical and political authority of the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire.

Can we imagine a society without Freedom of Conscience?

Sometimes I think we miss the huge gravity of some things.  Luther’s courage to stand against the political and religious might of Europe was one of the most incredible acts of conscientious defiance in the history of the world.  He argued for freedom of conscience based upon the authority of Scripture.  Until then the fear of man was preeminent.  Luther feared God.   All religions and cultures on earth bowed to a monarchy, aristocracy and authoritarianism.  The formal Roman Catholic institution was corrupt.  Luther and the Reformers were convinced that man without God is hopelessly depraved and no human authority could be trusted as absolute.  He rejected ecclesiastical totalitarianism and championed the principle of Sola Scriptura – the Bible alone is our ultimate authority.

Education for All

Luther translated the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew into the common tongue.   Everybody could now have access to it; both nobles and peasants.  Luther championed education and literacy for everyone.  He defended the Priesthood of all Believers.  And what Revolutionary concept did that one biblical principle lead to?

Constitutional Authority

Jesus Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  Everyone is under God’s Law.  The reformer’s principle of Sola Scriptura broke down ecclesiastical and political totalitarianism.  The Protestant emphasis on the Priesthood of all Believers led to the concept of representative government and constitutional authority as the supreme law of the land.

What results from convincing society of the truth of Religious Liberty?

By emphasizing the Biblical doctrine of Faith as a gift of God, Luther undermined the Catholic Inquisition and provided the theological foundations for religious liberty and freedom of conscience.  Religious liberty and freedom of conscience led to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association and all the other out-workings of political and social freedom.

The Reformation gave us the Bible – available in our own languages.

Few people today realize that the first Bibles printed in English had to be printed in Germany and smuggled into England in bales of cotton from Holland.  The first Bible translator, William Tyndale, was executed by strangulation and his body burned at the stake for the crime of translating the Bible into English.  Seven mothers and fathers were burned alive at Coventry for teaching their own children The Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostles Creed – in English.

Courage and Sacrifice for Believers today?

The sacrifices made by the Reformers and the far-reaching impact of their courageous application of the Word of God to every area of life, needs to be rediscovered.  The Christian Church has made more positive changes on earth than any other force or cause in History.

Blessing the Nations

Most of the languages of the world were developed into a written system by Christian missionaries.  More schools and universities have been started by Christians than any other religion, nation or group.  Christian Reformers and missionaries have succeeded in bringing about the abolition of slavery, cannibalism, child sacrifice and widow burning.  Those countries that enjoy the most civil liberties, are those lands where the Gospel of Christ has penetrated the most.

Transforming Nations

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is life-changing, history making and nation transforming.  If it doesn’t change your life and the lives of those around you, then it’s not the Biblical Gospel.

Checks and Balances

The Reformers understood God’s Sovereignty. They courageously proclaimed that Scripture alone is our final authority.  Christ alone is the Head of the Church.  Justification is by God’s Grace alone, on the basis of the finished work of Christ, received by Faith alone.  The Reformers’ teaching on the depravity of man, the New Covenant in Christ, and church government, have influenced positive political and social developments in liberty throughout the Western world and beyond, establishing checks and balances, the separation of powers and constitutional authority.

Faith and Freedom

All of us are beneficiaries of this tremendous movement for Faith and Freedom.  If you love liberty, you need to re-examine the history and principles of the Reformation.

The Reformation took the Church out of gross ignorance and spiritual darkness.

Before the Reformation the church had no Bible. And a church without a Bible is as useless as a lighthouse without light, or a car without an engine. The priests and people knew scarcely anything about God’s Word or the way of salvation in Christ.

Now think of this:  Our current generation of believers… not to mention the world learning corrupted revisionist history … is in danger of losing the profound legacy of courage that preserved Bible truths that are much forgotten.

The 16th Century was the pivotal generation of martyrs who willingly laid down their lives to preserve the scripture for us.  That was providential!  Why?  Because the truths in the Bible are eternal and essential for communicating the heart of God and regenerating lost souls to gain eternal life.

Deuteronomy 7:9 says: “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.”

The second commandment contains both a severe threat and a most incredibly gracious promise.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in Heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to thousands who love Me and keep My commandments.”

Deuteronomy 5:8-10

A Solemn Responsibility

Parents have an awesome responsibility. We are to bring up our children “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)  We are to “train a child in the way he should go …” (Proverbs 22:6)  According to 1 Timothy 3:4, we are to manage our own family well and see that our children learn to obey with proper respect.

Psalm 78:4-8 tells us to…

 “tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders He has done … so that the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds, but would keep His commands. They would not be … stubborn and rebellious … (like previous generations) whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to Him.”

The Bible tells us to not just raise God-fearing sons, but sons who will become God-fearing fathers, who in turn will raise God-fearing sons to become fathers who will love, honor, trust and obey God. We are to raise disciples who raise disciples so that God’s generational blessing is passed down and the chain unbroken.

Invitation

I invite you to visit our website www.ReclaimYourLegacy.com and share our resources with your family and friends.  And if your church or group would like to have us minister in person, just contact me.  I truly trust we can help you and your friends strengthen your life’s purpose and reclaim your legacy.

Martin Luther said:

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God’s Word, except precisely that point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, then I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing him. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefront besides is mere flight and disgrace – if he flinches at that point.

Compromise and cowardice hurts everyone It’s short-sighted.  The Word of God commands us not to be afraid of any man (Deuteronomy 1:17). We are warned that the fear of man will prove to be a snare (Proverbs 29:25).  It is cowardice for us to remain silent when we should speak up. To be passive and inactive when we should fight for what is right. Isaiah 51:12-13 says:

“Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of a son of man, who will be made like grass? You forget the Lord your maker, who stretched out the Heavens and laid the foundations of the earth…” 

The Bible tells us that God seeks “Godly offspring…” Malachi 2:15. It is the first priority of parents and teachers to ensure that children are taught to love God and His Word. Secular humanist education is attempting to kill God by eradicating Him from the classroom and from the minds of the next generation. By eliminating the Bible as the basis for all knowledge, humanists are removing the very foundation of truth. They are prohibiting the only objective standard by which reality can be evaluated.

(more…)

95 Reforms for Reformation, Then and Now

Does the number 95 mean anything special to you… Especially in the light of the month of October?

When you think about what happened just 500 years ago in Germany – 95 points of discussion were posted on the community bulletin board, a church door – a lowly monk unintentionally set in motion a sequence of events that changed the world more than any other single action by a human being since the resurrection of Christ. 

 My missionary friend in South Africa, Dr. Peter Hammond, has provided for us profound insights that can impact our priorities for generations to come if we’ll take them to heart. 

Unprecedented

Western civilization has been blessed with the greatest freedom, productivity and prosperity ever known in history. The liberty, standards of justice and creativity enjoyed in Western civilization is a direct result of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century.

First Things First

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught:

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”

Matthew 6:33

The Question of Authority (more…)

What is the most important thing you have ever learned?

the miraculous quality of childlike meekness - By Dennis Petersen

When you think about taking a proactive change of direction to reclaim your legacy, what do you think is the most important thing that you have personally learned in your lifetime so far?  With your focus on making a positive influence on your children and grandchildren – your next generation – what truth or idea have you discovered that is such a powerful influence on your own life that you would have to include it among the very top dozen or so important things that you have ever learned in your life?

Who is the one man to influence generations for God’s kingdom?

I recently read a sermon delivered by a gospel preacher who lived over 250 years ago before America became a nation.  He was born in Gloucester, England, in 1714 and is often referred to as the greatest English preacher who ever lived.  In both England and the American Colonies, he passionately gave himself to proclaiming Christ mostly in open air outdoor meetings heard by thousands of people at a time.  One historian estimated that he preached a thousand sermons a year for 30 years.  He was perhaps the most influential single person God used to create the society-transforming phenomenon of the middle 1700s called “the Great Awakening.”  He became an early example of modern evangelists acquainted with the notable English pastor, John Wesley, who became best friends with one of the most influential men in the founding of America – Benjamin Franklin.  Who was this unique man? (more…)

10 Transformations that will Redirect your life for the better

Growing Confidence You Are on the Road to Glorifying God by Pursuing Your Purpose

Butterfly transformations

Have you ever gotten ‘fed up’ with the way things are going for you to the point where you finally just said you’ve had it?

Why not take stock today of some things that need to change?

Why not decide today to intentionally work on some personal habits that are guaranteed to make you a happier and more influential person?

Are you willing to Stop the self-destructive things to regain your joy?

  1. Stop making excuses: If you are really serious about reclaiming your legacy then you have to realize that you’re entering the realm where you know good and well that NO EXCUSES ever fly! Why do we come up with excuses? Because they deceive us into thinking they are easier than actually achieving our goals. But excuses are just a waste of time, and we know it.What draws us into a negative path? Rather than growing and working on improving ourselves, we get stuck, lying to ourselves.  We use all kind of excuses.  And 99.9% of those excuses are not even real.2. Stop the blame game: When you blame others for what you don’t have or for what happens to you, you actually give your power away. Life should never be only about what happens to you.  How are you going to handle the situations in your life?  Only you can make the choice to take right actions.

    3. Stop your resistance to change: Change is good. Change will help you make improvements in your life.  Working with change you can also help lives of those around you.  Embrace change – don’t resist it. There is a great book:Who Moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson – read it!

    4.  Stop complaining: You are the only person responsible for your attitude and your reactions to things! So stop complaining about people – You can’t change them.  Stop complaining about events – they happen to everyone.  Situations can only make you sad, angry and bitter when YOU allow them to. No one wants to be around someone who constantly complains.

    5. Stop trying to impress others: Stop trying so hard to be something or somebody that you’re not… especially if you’re doing it just to make others like you. It doesn’t work anyway. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.  Not all people… of course.  Just the people who you really want to connect with anyway.

    6. Stop being a control freak:  Yeah, sure… I know this is hard, but when you are willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you, miracles seem to happen.  Situations, events, and people – Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – all these things are out of your control.  Admit it.  Just allow them to be.  Your stress level decreases tremendously.

    7. Stop the criticism:  For some of us who tend to be perfectionists this is hard… but there’s wisdom in the old saying: “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.”  Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. Everybody wants to be happy.  We all want to love and be loved… and we all want to be understood.  So why not practice the habit of highly effective people that Stephen Covey talks about in his book: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

    8: Stop Judging: Stop judging people, things and events just because you don’t understand them. Just because something seems “weird” or different does not mean it is bad or wrong.  If you need to help your kids understand good judgment in a discussion that’s fine, but you don’t need to get into a personal ‘issue’ over what you disagree about.  Let God judge them.  Let go of it and let God handle it.

    9: Stop with the need to always be right: There are too many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right.  We do this even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be happy?”

    10. Stop trying to live your life up to other people’s expectations: Way too many of us are living a life that is not true to our own personal calling and purpose.  When we try to live our life according to what others think is best for us, we develop all sorts of inner tension and frustration. Some people spend their whole life trying to live according to what their parents think is best for them.  What a shame to allow what your friends, or even your enemies think is best for you to control your decisions!  For way too many men and women, the popular media has projected a false reality that they try to live out.

Don’t ignore the inner voice of conscience and the inspiration of your Creator to guide you.

Remember “Desire” and “inspire.”   Remember your inner calling. We are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that we lose control over our lives and forget what makes us happy, what we really want, what we really need.  We all have just one life to live. Own it.  Don’t let other people’s opinions mislead you.

I can honestly share with you, since I have made a conscious effort to stop all of the behaviors above, I have never been happier. And when I see myself slip – I acknowledge that behavior and work on adjusting my thought process.

Remember we cannot change, fix and improve on what we have not yet acknowledged.

So if you need it (and who doesn’t?), find an accountability partner who has your permission to call you out when you slip. This way you can reflect on what made you say or act in a certain way. The more aware you are of your actions, the easier and faster you can improve them.

What are you passionate about?

What drives you to put your feet on the floor before dawn every morning?  Some pious person might say: “just doing God’s will” or “living for Jesus” or some trite saying that is so vague and evasive that it really doesn’t give anybody a clear picture or roadmap of what is truly the passion that guides your agenda.

Some might say that “I just aim to please my boss” … or “serve my customers” … or “be faithful in doing my job” … but what are you passionate about?

May I tell you what I’m passionate about?  I’m passionate about changing lives… about helping others discover the best ways of reaching their goals, accomplishing their purpose, fulfilling the purposes they were created for and enjoying every day life.  And that encompasses a lot of things… things like: discovering insights, finding better ways of doing things, and applying practical solutions to life’s challenges.

In the hectic pace of modern living today, it’s common for us to be so busy doing all the things that we have to do that we don’t have the time to search out the best solutions to many of our deepest challenges.  Unless I’m a fatalist, when I stop to realize what’s going on, it hits me that nearly all the problems, heartaches and difficulties common to mankind are explained by one ageless principal.  Once I discovered it tucked away in the writing of a well known ancient Hebrew king, I began to see that everything in life is part of our Creator’s blueprint for us to fulfill our purpose.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”

You don’t need to stumble and fall into confusion about choices. Why not just do something?

1Corinthians 10:31 “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

It’s vitally important for the believer to have confidence that what he is doing is blessed or at least sanctioned by the overarching truth of God’s providential will.

Deuteronomy 8:18 “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

 

10 Decisions that will transform your life to make you truly happy

Have you ever gotten ‘fed up’ with the way things are going for you to the point where you finally just said you’ve had it?

Why not take stock today of some things that need to change?

Why not decide today to intentionally work on some personal habits that are guaranteed to make you a happier person?

Are you willing to Stop the self-destructive things to regain your joy?
1. Stop making excuses: If you are really serious about reclaiming your legacy then you have to realize that you’re entering the realm where you know good and well that NO EXCUSES ever fly! Why do we come up with excuses? Because they deceive us into thinking they are easier than actually achieving our goals. But excuses are just a waste of time, and we know it.

What draws us into a negative path? Rather than growing and working on improving ourselves, we get stuck, lying to ourselves.  We use all kind of excuses.  And 99.9% of those excuses are not even real.

2. Stop the blame game: When you blame others for what you don’t have or for what happens to you, you actually give your power away. Life should never be only about what happens to you.  How are you going to handle the situations in your life?  Only you can make the choice to take right actions.

3. Stop your resistance to change: Change is good. Change will help you make improvements in your life.  Working with change you can also help lives of those around you.  Embrace change – don’t resist it. There is a great book:Who Moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson – read it!

4.  Stop complaining: You are the only person responsible for your attitude and your reactions to things! So stop complaining about people – You can’t change them.  Stop complaining about events – they happen to everyone.  Situations can only make you sad, angry and bitter when YOU allow them to. No one wants to be around someone who constantly complains.

5. Stop trying to impress others: Stop trying so hard to be something or somebody that you’re not… especially if you’re doing it just to make others like you. It doesn’t work anyway. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.  Not all people… of course.  Just the people who you really want to connect with anyway.

6. Stop being a control freak:  Yeah, sure… I know this is hard, but when you are willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you, miracles seem to happen.  Situations, events, and people – Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – all these things are out of your control.  Admit it.  Just allow them to be.  Your stress level decreases tremendously.

7. Stop the criticism:  For some of us who tend to be perfectionists this is hard… but there’s wisdom in the old saying: “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.”  Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. Everybody wants to be happy.  We all want to love and be loved… and we all want to be understood.  So why not practice the habit of highly effective people that Stephen Covey talks about in his book: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

8: Stop Judging: Stop judging people, things and events just because you don’t understand them. Just because something seems “weird” or different does not mean it is bad or wrong.  If you need to help your kids understand good judgment in a discussion that’s fine, but you don’t need to get into a personal ‘issue’ over what you disagree about.  Let God judge them.  Let go of it and let God handle it.

9: Stop with the need to always be right: There are too many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right.  We do this even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be happy?”

10. Stop trying to live your life up to other people’s expectations: Way too many of us are living a life that is not true to our own personal calling and purpose.  When we try to live our life according to what others think is best for us, we develop all sorts of inner tension and frustration. Some people spend their whole life trying to live according to what their parents think is best for them.  What a shame to allow what your friends, or even your enemies think is best for you to control your decisions!  For way too many men and women, the popular media has projected a false reality that they try to live out.

Don’t ignore the inner voice of conscience and the inspiration of your Creator to guide you.  Remember “Desire” and “inspire.”   Remember your inner calling. We are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that we lose control over our lives and forget what makes us happy, what we really want, what we really need.  We all have just one life to live. Own it.  Don’t let other people’s opinions mislead you.

I can honestly share with you, since I have made a conscious effort to stop all of the behaviors above, I have never been happier. And when I see myself slip – I acknowledge that behavior and work on adjusting my thought process.

Remember we cannot change, fix and improve on what we have not yet acknowledged.

So if you need it (and who doesn’t?), find an accountability partner who has your permission to call you out when you slip. This way you can reflect on what made you say or act in a certain way. The more aware you are of your actions, the easier and faster you can improve them.