Happy Reformation Day! It was October 31, 1517 when the monk Martin Luther nailed his now-famous 95 Theses to the door of Wittenburg. Martin Luther desired to reform the church, but historians tell us that he wanted to do it from the inside. He did not desire to divide the church into various groups. He wanted to begin a conversation about many of the things that were happening in the church he believed were not in keeping with the scriptures.
Well, the conversation started and the reformation began. And, now we stand as “protestants”, spiritual descendents of the reformation some 500 years later. Out of the “protestant reformation”, a variety of protestant denominations came into existence. There are Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and others.
Some of the most heated debates among the founders and early leaders of what we now call “denominations” were over baptism, the Lord’s Supper, church governance, and the relationship between the church and the state (government).
We began our journey talking about some of these subjects this past Wednesday night as we began to discuss baptism and the Lord’s Supper. This coming Wednesday, we are planning to explore the subject of baptism.
Over the next several weeks, we are planning to answer questions such as:
· Why do we not baptize infants?
· Why do we believe in believers’ baptism and baptism by immersion?
· What are the differences between Baptists and other denominations with respect to baptism?
· Are our differences valid reasons for not “fellowshipping” with other denominations?
As we learn about our spiritual heritage, particularly about two of our Baptist contributions to the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, I hope that you will consider joining us each Wednesday as we study these very important subjects.
I hope that these discussions and studies will prompt us and motivate us to study our bibles so that we might be able to know better what we believe and why we believe it.
Happy Reformation Day!