October 31, 1517 has been said to be the birthdate of the Protestant Reformation. This was when Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to a church door in Wittenberg, Saxony. In this document, Luther introduced several topics that he thought needed to be debated. Protestant Christians have chosen the Sunday closest to this date in October to be the day that they would celebrate the Protestant Reformation, and they do this by singing Luther’s hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” and discussing Protestantism.
This year, Protestants celebrated October 31 all over the world as the 500th anniversary of Protestantism, and they took the opportunity to hold symposia that focused on the Reformation. In particular, the names of Martin Luther and John Calvin were mentioned the most. They are the two Protestant reformers who have done more for the birth of Protestantism than anyone else has in the past 500 years.
My Personal Beliefs
The first thing that I have to make clear is the fact that I am a Protestant Christian who does not remove faithful Catholics and members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches from the label of “Christians.” At the same time, I do not feel the affection for the Reformation because I disagree with the way in which my fellow Protestants remember and celebrate it.
First of all, Martin Luther was not the first to espouse his ideas about the Catholic Church. John Hus was also a Protestant who formed a church and said many of the same things that Luther did. The difference between the two is that John Hus was burned at the stake, so his movement was unable to continue. In contrast, Martin Luther survived, so his movement was able to survive with him. Luther was even known as “the Saxon Hus.”
A case can be made for going back even farther than John Hus to find the beginnings of Protestantism. In around the 1300s, Peter Waldo of Italy also preached the same doctrines as Luther and Hus. The Waldensian Church of Italy has even spread around the world with a church existing as far away as Paraguay. John Wycliffe of England is said to have been the person who influenced Martin Luther and John Calvin. His movement set everyone on the road toward the English Reformation.
I am saying that it is a little unreasonable to call Martin Luther the first Protestant and place the date of the Protestant Reformation as October 31, 1517.
Magisterial Reformers and Radical Reformers
I also believe that this faulty historical memory that people are suffering from also has to do with theology. Let’s take a look at that question.
When people talk about the Reformation, three names are mentioned the most. They are Martin Luther, John Calvin and the Swiss Ulrich Zwingli. These three men and the many others who share the title of “reformers” and theologians are called “magisterial reformers.” Other preachers and theologians have been known as “radical reformers” because they thought that Luther, Calvin and Zwingli did not reform the churches enough.
The radical reformers wanted to place a wedge between the church and the state. They disagreed with the magisterial reformers because the magisterial reformers were not against princes and city councils taking control of the Reformation. The radical reformers and the magisterial reformers believed that their mission was to recreate the New Testament Church, but the radical reformers believed that they were on the outside like the early Christians in the Roman Empire who were martyred.
The Anniversary in Question
I am a Free Church Protestant. That means that I did not celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation on October 31, 2017. Instead, I will celebrate it in 2025, the true beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Specifically, I will be celebrating the birth of the Anabaptist movement in Switzerland.
The Anabaptists were the first Protestants to state that there needs to be a separation between the church of Jesus Christ and the state. They also believed that Christianity teaches that the relationship between God and the believer is voluntary. A believer’s relationship with the church is also voluntary, and each person must have faith in Jesus Christ and be baptized to demonstrate devotion to the church and to Christ.
The Mighty Fortress Church
Everyone is welcome to join the congregation of the Mighty Fortress Church. When you do, you will be introduced to biblical teachings that help you navigate your way through life. Bishop Thomas Williams is seen as someone who can really help people change their lives for the better, and he has more than 30 years of experience doing so. In that time, he has learned that the best way is not necessarily the way things have been done over the years. That’s why his sermons do not adhere to strict rituals that never change from week to week. Instead, he invites people to express their gratitude to God during services.
Bishop Williams graduated from North Central University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications. He also has a Master of Arts degree from Bethel University and Seminary. He received his ministerial training from Rhema Bible Training Center. Bishop Williams is married to his wife Sabrina, and they have three children together.
Bishop Williams uses the word of God to fight the plagues that are currently ravaging our world at this time, such as racism, disease, poverty, moral decay and sin. He assures everyone that no one will be turned away at the door if they are interested in observing a service. As a matter of fact, when people ask if there is a dress code, they are informed that they are welcome to wear anything they like. They are not forced to subscribe to any particular religion or custom. The Mighty Fortress Church is a truly all-inclusive congregation.