By Allison White
The Bible department has several events planned on Oct. 31 for the student body in order to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
What society now calls the Reformation was sparked on Oct. 31, 1517 when Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Catholic church. Luther attacked the Catholic church’s abuse of Indulgences, called for reform from corruption and false teaching, and eventually translated the Bible so that laypeople could have access to the Bible in a language they understood. Much of our ability to read our own copy of the Bible and theology we believe as Evangelical Christians is due to Martin Luther’s stand against the church. Because of these important implications, Cedarville University has planned to celebrate the anniversary of the occasion.
One event in honor of the Reformation is a celebratory evening focusing on the culture and spirit of the Reformation, which will be held in the BTS from 7-9pm. There will be a food truck that serves German food, music, dramatic readings, brief biographical sketches, and a Q&A panel discussion about Luther themes.
The other event is a special Reformation Day chapel led by Cedarville’s own Dr. Jason Lee, the dean of the School of Biblical Studies. He will teach the student body about the importance of the historical event in a special chapel on Reformation Day.
“The anniversary is an open door to come back and talk about what [Luther] taught,” Lee said.
Because of Luther’s emphasis on the Bible for personal use, Lee’s message will include a reference to the value of Scripture. Lee will also mention Luther’s emphasis on justification by faith.
“[I’ll] show a few texts from the old Testament that Luther uses as prompts for theological change, changes in his own thinking as he read through them; I will also show that the biblical understanding of Christ runs throughout the whole Bible,” Lee said. “I hope to interweave biblical texts and Luther’s own comments.”
Cedarville professor Dr. Billy Marsh, assistant professor of theology, already spoke earlier this school year on Reformation theology. He said he recognizes the importance of the Reformation’s impact on current society.
“[Church history] is has not been exhausted in terms of the resource it can provide on the way that we continue to be faithful in the word and the gospel,” Marsh said. “The benefit now of the Reformation is it is our heritage as Protestant Evangelical Christians… it tells us where we came from, and it is informative for how we continue in the gospel.”
To prepare for this day of celebration and reflection, Lee suggests the student body listen to documentary sermons about Luther and the Reformation found on the website for Ligonier ministries by R. C. Sproul.
“Reflect on the Reformation for the whole day, more than just chapel,” Lee said.
For a more in-depth study of the Reformation and what it means to us as Christians, Lee recommended that students read Dr. Marsh’s book Martin Luther on Reading the Bible as Christian Scripture.
Allison White is a Junior Organizational Communication major and an arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. She enjoys studying culture, traveling, and petting as many dogs as she can.