Friday, October 19, 2012

Reformation Season

Jason Engwer has made the appeal here a number of times that we should not forget Reformation Day. I was perusing some of the other Reformed sites, and there are, on Reformation Day (October 31), a number of articles entitled “A Reformation Day Thought” or “A Reformation Day Article”.

Given that I’m a marketer by trade, I’d like to suggest that we expand “Reformation Day” into “Reformation Season”. After all, the secular marketers do that all the time – we are in “election season” right now, and “Halloween season”, and before you know it, the Christmas season (or in Pittsburgh, “Sparkle season”) will be coming along, too.

The concept, too, can be found in church history: the Easter “season”, the Pentecost “season”. These were attempts, even by the early church, to recognize that, even in the midst of the kinds of illness and death to which they were subjected, that life goes on. And it goes on in “seasons”.

But “Reformation Season” should not just be limited to the next two weeks. It should extend through the next five years – October 31, 2017 will be the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. It wasn’t really the beginning. Luther taught through the Psalms from 1513 through 1515. He taught through Romans (1515–1516), Galatians (1516–1517) and Hebrews (1517–1518). All of these will give us ample opportunities for reflection.

And nor will 2017 be the end of the “season”, because we’ll still have the 500th anniversary of the Diet of Worms, for example (2021), the Marburg Colloquy (2029), the first publication of the Institutes (2036), the publication of the Institutes that we have now (2059), and that’s not to mention all of the confessions.

Rome managed to survive the Reformation era, in part, because of a huge misinformation campaign it put out about Martin Luther. For such times as the enemy chooses to “act-up”, we have tremendous resources at our disposal, such as James Swan’s Exposing the Myth series, as well as his other Martin Luther archives.

On the “other side of the aisle”, too, we should not forget that during these next five years, the Roman Catholics will be talking about the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. We should not hesitate to investigate the liberal theologies that they adopted, condemned by Pius X, but warmly welcomed by smiling “Good Pope John”. We should not forget the inconsistencies they adopted with the “Separated brethren” stance.

We should not forget that in the years since the Reformation, Rome adopted such unhistorical atrocities as papal infallibility (1870), as well as two idolatrous Marian dogmas (1854 and 1950), which it imposed on the world, with the intention that “to oppose and counter” these dogmas, would bring with it “the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”

What a statement. It would be humorous if they weren’t so serious about it.

This is what we’re dealing with in the world, though. And if we look upon the next five – or 50 – years as a “season”, it can be a “teaching moment” that the world will not soon forget.


  1. That’s a good idea, John.

    To expand on one of the points you made, we should keep in mind that Roman Catholicism’s liberalism has had a major impact on other holidays and seasons. Much of the anti-Biblical material that’s published during the Christmas season, for example, comes from Roman Catholic scholarship and former Catholics (e.g., Raymond Brown, John Dominic Crossan, Geza Vermes). Then there’s the failure of so many Catholics, not just liberals, to do much to defend the traditional view of the infancy narratives or the Biblical resurrection accounts, for instance. Evangelicals are at the forefront of conservative Biblical scholarship and apologetics, whereas Catholics are much less so, despite their advantages (larger size, more money, more media access, etc.). As I’ve worked in apologetic contexts over the years, and in the process of watching what’s going on elsewhere, I’ve been astonished by how much bad and how little good Roman Catholicism does relative to its opportunities.

    1. Jason, I've responded here: