Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31st - Reformation Day?

Today is a day that many will celebrate as Reformation Day.  Now, I don't have problems with people and churches looking for days to remember and celebrate the Reformation.  I want to be clear about that.  In fact, the church I pastor often has a celebration, a joint service with the OPC church in town, and it is great.

  But historically, is this the day the Reformed ought to be lifting up?

No, I think we have to say no.  October 31st is the day that Martin Luther posted his 95 theses, so it is a nice and easy day to point and say here it begins.  But, really the 31st is the day the Lutheran Church is born, and in reality that has little to do with the Reformed Church.  In fact, the Lutherans hated the Reformed Church for centuries.  Luther said we were of a different spirit, the Lutheran teamed up with the Romanists to try and kill us in the 30 Years War.  Some of their ministers actually said we were worse than Islam. 

Our Reformed forefathers always pointed to a different day . . . January 1st, 1519.  This was the day that Zwingli proclaimed he would preach straight through the book of Matthew throwing out the Lectionary.  The 100th Anniversary was celebrated at the Synod of Dort on January 1, 1619.  The RCUS Directory of worship suggests that churches may keep several days if they wish, and one of those days is January 1.  Now, I have always assumed it was because of the New Year, but it may actually be because it is the anniversary of our Reformation.  Hard to say.

In the end, the point is remembering October 31st only points to the Lutheran Church, and it is very different than the Reformed Church.  Very different indeed.  Remember this in a few years when people want to celebrate 500 years of the Reformation in 2017.  That celebration has to be focused on Luther.  The day we want is January 1, 2019.  That way we can focus on the Reformed Church. 


Anonymous said...

I don't know if you've ever tried to have dialogue with Lutherans ... they still hate us

Protoprotestant said...

I have a good friend who is LCMS...and though he likes me, he hates Calvinism.

The Anabaptists aren't too keen on the Reformed either. They don't have warm feelings toward Calvinists...can't say I blame them!