Times of church separation can be awful, such as when the church I was raised in went through a split during my senior year of high school. It was devastating. But sometimes a separation is necessary to reform an unhealthy situation. Such was the case with the Reformation, which is often considered to have launched on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. The theses were tenants of change needed to reform the Roman Catholic Church (RCC).
Luther was not the only reformer, nor necessarily the best. Other reformers included John Calvin, John Hus, Huldrych Zwingli, Peter Waldo, John Knox and John Wycliffe. In fact, later in life Luther himself made mistakes and said things that Christians must repudiate. However, in general, the Reformation of the church was necessary and included reforms that we need to learn from today.
The Roman Catholic Church has accomplished remarkable good, while at the same time has needed immense reform. Here are some of the things I admire about the Roman Catholic Church:
- Remarkable acts of charity over the centuries and continuing until today.
- The sense of history and tradition.
- An officially consistent pro-life
- Missionary outreaches over the centuries.
But there were and are some issues of great concern. These issues resulted in the Reformation and church separation into many denominations such as the Lutherans, Presbyterians, Reformed, Anglican, and so on.
I recently wrote about the importance of not majoring on minors. But the issues of the Reformation were definitely not minor and deserve a review on this 500th anniversary.
So, in this article I’d like to cover 5 of the most essential reforms, which have come to be known as the 5 solas.