Things for Catholics to know about Reformation Day

This is the time of year my Lutheran friends share photos of Reformation choirs and Martin Luther-themed socks on social media.

Yet, to my Roman Catholic friends, the Reformation isn’t something to celebrate.

In their eyes, our admiration for Martin Luther is as misguided as holding a big party in honour of one’s divorce.

They argue the Reformation ushered in a world where each individual’s personal taste in interpretation became supreme, leading to the moral chaos and postmodernism that riddles the cultural landscape today.

At best, they see Protestants as limping along without the spiritual blessings God bestows through their church, yet, like anorexics, rejoicing in this near-starvation.

I readily concede that the Reformation brought costs as well as benefits.

Yet as a Lutheran, I am profoundly grateful for the sixteenth-century return to Scripture that reminded us of Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, and Solus Christus.

I deeply appreciate the Lutheran determination, demonstrated in the Book of Concord, to find and cling to biblical truth. That is why I want my Catholic friends to know three things about the event I will be celebrating on October 31.

It’s Not about Individualism
Secular historians, like secular journalists writing about Pope Francis, often misunderstand religion.

Mainstream history textbooks portray Luther as someone who struck a blow for the individual by rejecting the authority of people who wanted to tell others what to believe.

As long as these historians don’t peruse his actual writing, they see Luther as a pretty progressive guy by the standards of 1517.

My Catholic friends read this stuff and, quite naturally, pick up the idea that Luther’s teachings led to hyper-individualism.

Yet Luther’s actual theological legacy is not conducive to extreme individualism.

He intended to participate in a conversation about reforming errors that were harming the Catholic Church.

That is because he wanted to point out where individuals were going wrong by failing to submit themselves to the authority of scripture. Continue reading

  • Anna Mussmann is a stay-at-home mom who writes during nap time.
Additional reading

News category: Analysis and Comment.

Tags: , ,