There is much interest in the Christian world on the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation Movement. Even in mostly-atheist Germany, awareness of the history of this world-changing set of events is high. October 31, 1517, is the day when Martin Luther posted his famous 95 thesIs on the cathedral door in Wittenberg—the starting gun for the Reformation.
What exactly is the Protestant Reformation? What is its legacy, both positive and negative? Are we, as Bible-believing and Bible-obeying Christians, Protestants? Perhaps most importantly, what practical lessons can we learn from the momentous events which in many ways led to the modern world?
When we open our bibles, we often take for granted what is in front of us. For centuries, scribes and scholars have meticulously unearthed ancient texts. They have preserved, catalogued, studied and compared them to accurately provide us with God’s Word. This article is a very brief introduction to the languages, textual traditions, early translations, and recent discoveries that laid the foundation for the blessing now known as the Old Testament.
C.S. Lewis used the term “a great cataract of nonsense” to describe how people use a modern idea to construe Bible theology. One such example, perhaps the best example, is a conversion method called the Sinner’s Prayer. It is more popularly known as the Four Spiritual Laws.
The excerpt below was taken from a lesson entitled, "Maturing Our Churches -- Lord, Teach Us," on Thursday, July 7, 2016, at Reach2016 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. You can listen to the audio recording of this lesson here. (Please note that a small subscription fee to DTV is required to access the lesson.)
I come to you from a perspective chiefly as an evangelist, as a church leader. We all teach, whether we’re leading a Bible talk or putting on an MTA (Ministry Training Academy) or similar event. We all do teach in some way or another. We want to see the church grow up into the full stature of Christ. This is massive; we have an amazing opportunity to take the church from an adolescent phase, in some cases, to a bullet-proof, rock-solid maturity, where we can stand, and make a stand, to really change the world.
For many years I have been contemplating the special-ness of our movement in the area of the heart – what I believe to be a very special relational aspect of true Christianity. I have called it the “heart” ever since I studied the Bible to become a Christian in Milwaukee. What I experienced at that time was different than what I had experienced in any religious group before. It was, in fact, the difference between being a person who knew about God and had some association with him, and being a person who truly knows God through a true personal relationship with him.
Before Scripture was canonized, a woman named Huldah proclaimed God’s judgment on Judah, inspired King Josiah’s reforms, and became the first person to formally verify a written book as being the divinely inspired word of God.
I remember asking a congregation of fairly mature Christians, “Who among us has read the entire Bible?” A meager half or so raised their hands. Later during fellowship, many confessed they got bogged down or bored with the Old Testament—bizarre images, debatable practices, unintelligible laws, and names you won’t even try to pronounce.
Viewed as difficult and antiquated, the Old Testament (OT) is frequently neglected in many Christian circles. Rarely do we hear sermons from the OT. It’s seldom studied in Quiet Times. Remove Psalms and Proverbs, and Christians’ engagement in reading the OT can be virtually nil. Even those who make the noble resolution to read-the-Bible-in-a-year may start pumped up in Genesis but lose interest before they get very far.
Contrary to prevailing attitudes, the Old Testament contains much relevant and meaningful application for today. Here’s some motivation to fall in love with the other three-quarters of our Bibles.
The Teachers Service Team of the ICOC is excited to launch The Teachers' Corner. This bi-weekly publication will feature articles authored by men and women who serve as teachers in our fellowship of churches. You can find these articles highlighted on both disciplestoday.org and the Teachers Service Team website teachicoc.org. Our first series of articles entitled “Jesus and the Poor” were written by Dr. G. Steve Kinnard. We hope that you find these articles both inspirational and informational.
The Teachers Service Team