Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a two-part series on Reformation Day, which is celebrated on Oct. 31.
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. With a few strokes of a hammer, Luther set in motion a reformation that eventually would be felt in the far corners of the globe. Within just a few generations, the Christian church would include new groups such as the Lutherans, Reformed, Anglicans, Puritans and Anabaptists along with the already existing Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and smaller groups like the Copts, Hussites, Waldenses and Lollards. The echoes of Luther’s hammer could be heard in theological debates over the role of the church’s hierarchy, the proper understanding of the Mass (or Lord’s Supper), the legitimacy of Bible translations, the practice of baptism and the relationship of divine sovereignty and human response in salvation. The nations of Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Bohemia (Czech), England and Scotland would all experience great upheaval and dissension as the Reformation rippled throughout Europe. Read More »