By Dr. Mark Hitchcock, Senior Pastor
In May 2015 Cheryl and I traveled to Germany where I spoke at a Propheticon (Prophecy Conference) in Breckerfeld, Germany at the Bibel Center. After the conference we spent a few days in Berlin. The highlight of the trip, and one of the best days of my life, was our day trip to Wittenberg. The weather was perfect the day we visited. The first site we encountered was the Castle Church where Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door on October 31, 1517 and where he is buried. The original door burned long ago and has been replaced with a door with the 95 Theses engraved on it. Standing before that door was beyond moving for me. I had heard about that place all my life. To stand in front of it for the first time was thrilling and humbling.
Cheryl and I toured Luther’s house, saw his robe, and stood at the table where he and his students at the University engaged in their famous discussions known as “table talk.” We also walked through the house of Luther’s close friend and co-laborer Philip Melanchthon. My favorite site in Wittenberg was St. Mary’s Church, known as the “Mother Church of the Reformation” where Luther preached and taught God’s Word. I got to stand behind the pulpit near the altar of the church. For a preacher, that’s as good as it gets.
On the 500th anniversary of the launching of the Reformation, there’s a great deal being written and spoken about the reformers and their legacy. For me, the Reformation can be boiled down to two basic points—it was a Bible movement and a Gospel movement. By God’s grace and through the efforts of the reformers, the authority of Scripture and the truth of the gospel were re-discovered and recovered. These key issues are succinctly captured by what are often called the “five solas” of the Reformation (sola is Latin for “alone”). These five pillars form the foundation for understanding the Reformation and the truths it recovered. I like to call them the original “High Five.”
- sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)
- sola gratia (grace alone)
- sola fide (faith alone)
- solus Christus (Christ alone)
- soli Deo Gloria (glory to God alone)
Churches like FBC are heirs and beneficiaries of the Reformation. We believe that we are saved based on Scripture alone, by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. This past Sunday morning and the next at FBC have been devoted to helping us all understand the setting and story of the Reformation and its significance for our lives today.
I hope you’ll join us for part 2 in the Reformation 500 series or listen to them online if you’re not able to attend. Part 1 is available by clicking here now.