Each year it is normal that on Oct. 31, the celebration of Halloween overshadows the celebration of an often neglected but much greater anniversary. This overlooked celebration that found its beginning on Oct. 31, 1517, commemorates the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, which is celebrated by some as Reformation Day.
So instead of getting tomatoes tossed at me for being critical of Halloween, I thought I would take my writing liberties to emphasize why I love to pull out the costumes and candy in order to celebrate the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany.
This day is worth celebrating because on this day, a movement was sparked that boldly protested against false doctrines, biblical illiteracy and spiritual oppression. It was also a movement to recapture the truth of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Another way to say this is that Luther, through his bold protest, sought to preach and teach the true Gospel, which had been lost. For hundreds of years before this, the Church thought it operated best by oppressing its members through guilt and fear. The leaders of this day convinced the people that they held the keys to heaven and that passageway into heaven could be bought through indulgences or “paid-for merit.” This kept the Church rich and the people committed, but it just made Luther mad. And this prompted Luther’s desire to reform the Church by proclaiming that we, as sinners cannot ever buy our salvation but that we have been bought by Christ. After being arrested and tried for heresy, Luther said this before the Emperor: “I am bound by the Scripture, and my conscience is captive to the word of God. Therefore, I cannot and will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other.”
This message was powerful, and it changed things. Almost 500 years later, we should be celebrating not just Martin Luther but also his message because this message is still powerful and is still changing things. By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. By the way, when ghosts, goblins, and devils hear that, they run.
Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is the pastor of Grace Fellowship in Clanton.