The Christian Protestant Movement, or Reformed Movement, began in 16th Century Europe, and the best-known reformer of the time was Martin Luther, a German theologian. Luther published his Ninety-Five Theses in opposition to the power of the Roman Catholic Pope, among other grievances, in 1517.
Luther believed in Holy Scripture alone as the source of Christian knowledge and instruction, and that faith in Jesus was the only way to receive grace and forgiveness of sin. This was contrary to the Roman Catholic belief of the time and resulted in Luther’s condemnation by the Pope.
It was later written that Luther did not intend to start a new Christian movement, but rather begin a theological debate on the subject. However, due to the advent of the printing press, someone took Luther’s writing and published it throughout Europe. The long-term result is the many Christian Reformed denominations and non-denominational churches of today.
Most Christian denominations of today may not exist if not for the Reformed Movement of the 16th Century. It all started with someone questioning the status quo, and the masses started a protestant movement. It clearly worked, as there are hundreds of Christian denominations in existence today, as well as thousands of non-denominational Christian groups.
Have you noticed how often non-denominational churches behave like denominational groups? The pitfall of any Christian group is the tendency toward “exclusivity”, that is, “if you don’t believe what we do or worship the way we do, you are doing it wrong!”
That sounds strikingly like the first-century Pharisees! If everyone proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ is not on the same team, what are we doing? The Body of Christ, that is, everyone that bears the name of Christ, is one body. Then why do many churches hate everyone else? Why do so many Christians turn their nose up at Christians different from them?
Is Christ allocated to only one group of people, and all others are doomed? I refuse to believe in a God that pits groups within the same Body of Christ against one another. Is God divided? Is Jesus Christ divided? (See: 1 Corinthians 1:10-17) The Apostle Paul wrote: “Now I appeal to you brothers and sisters … that there be no divisions among you …” (1 Cor. 1:10, NRSV)
In this first article of a new series, I am encouraging a new protestant movement. I am protesting the divisions that separate the Body of Christ. I am protesting our lack of ability to work together to win souls for Christ! I am protesting any belief structure that excludes anyone from the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
I am calling all true-hearted Christians to join together in ministry to take the light of Christ into the darkness. Our moto should be: No Soul Left Behind! As Christians we are not in competition with each other, we are in competition with darkness to win souls for Christ! Let’s get to it! To be continued.
Blessings and Peace to You All,
Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at email@example.com. St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.