Cameron Baptist Church
PO Box 155 www.CameronBaptistChurch.com 593 Carthage Street
Cameron, NC 28326 ‘the commission’ 910-245-7222
Volume 14, Edition 10 CBCHURCH@EMBARQMAIL.COM November 1, 2017
Dear Church Family,
What does Catholicism, medieval Europe, and an angry German monk rebelling against the Pope all have in common? Correct, the Protestant Reformation!
2017 marks the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and we’re going strong. Unfortunately, many protestants do not know their great heritage. Let’s take a look back at the history that made us who we are today.
In October 31, 1517, a German Catholic Monk named Martin Luther (not Martin Luther King, Jr.) nailed his “95 Theses” to the Wittenberg Castle front door objecting to the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church and thus lighting the fire that would later become known as the Reformation.
Why was he so upset? What was so wrong with Catholicism?
First, the selling of indulgences. Indulgences are the remission of sins through the Pope or bishops after a service has been rendered or price has been paid. Johann Tetzel was the most famous seller of indulgences. His infamous slogan for selling indulgences was “As soon as the gold in the casket rings, the rescued soul to heaven springs.” In short, the selling of indulgences was the belief someone could buy their way out of Hell and it preyed on the poor and grieving.
The selling of indulgences inspired the rally cry “Sola Fide” which means “Faith alone.” Luther and other reformers began to teach that salvation comes not through works or indulgences but by the free gift of God. Today, Catholics do not sell indulgences, but the belief in “Faith alone” is non-existent. For Catholics, salvation must be earned through baptism, confession, confirmation, the eucharist, last rites and other rituals.
Second, the neglect of scripture. Within the Catholic Church, tradition was given equal authority as Scripture. Works justification, penance, purgatory, Mary veneration, and the Pope all stemmed from hundreds of years of tradition. And even if the people wanted read the Bible for themselves, they could not because all authorized Bibles were written in Latin, a dead language.
Did the apostles or Jesus believed these doctrines? Of course not. So why should Christians now believe in them?
Luther was not trying to start something new, but was trying to go back to original church. Back to Scripture. This inspired his second rallying cry “Sola Scriptura” which means “Scripture alone.”
Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura stand as the mottos for the reformation and evangelicalism in general. Without these great truths we fall into works based religion and tradition.
Unfortunately, many Protestants today do not adhere to these mottos. According to Pew Research, 54% of claimed Protestants do not believe that faith alone is needed to get into heaven (Sola Fide). 54% do not believe that the Bible provides all religious guidance that Christians need (Sola Scriptura). 36% of Protestants reject both of these essential Protestant doctrines.
As we reflect on our protestant heritage this fall, be thankful men like Martin Luther were willing to face the power and condemnation of the Catholic Church that we might know the truth.
Grace to all,
Pastor Jared McNeill