Five hundred years ago last year, a monk and scholar named Martin Luther published his 95 Theses, a document challenging the Catholic Church’s selling of “indulgences” to absolve sin. In his document he argued that the Bible was the ultimate authority for Christians and that salvation was received by faith rather than works. Others had raised those issues, but Luther’s work ignited “The Protestant Reformation.”
In the years that followed, the Reformers identified five theological convictions that defined the essentials of Christianity. They were: Scripture alone, Faith alone, Grace alone, Christ alone, and to the Glory of God alone.
Beginning Sunday, June 24, Pastor Don will explore these “Alones” and their significance for us today. Please join us at 10:50 a.m.
“This book out-lives, out-loves, out-fits, out-lasts, out-reaches, out-runs, and out-ranks
all books. This book is faith producing. It is hope awakening. It is death destroying, and
those who embrace it find forgiveness of sin.” – Arcturus Z. Conrad on the Bible
Christians agree that the Bible is important. We refer to it as “The Sacred Scriptures” or
“The Word of God.” We encourage each other to read it. We turn to it in times of trial.
But how do we read the Bible?
One way is as God’s revelation of himself. We read it to know God and understand
what he has done in creating and redeeming us. It is the story of God.
The second way is to read it as humanity’s experience of God. We read it as an
account of how people—Israelites, the Psalmist, the disciples, the women at the
tomb—understood God in their lives.
Take, for example, the accounts of the Resurrection. Read in the first way they are the
climax of God’s redemptive work. In raising Christ from the dead, God has done what
no one else could, provide a means by which estranged humanity can be reconciled to
Read in the second way, the account of Easter tells of the experiences of those around
Jesus. Grieving Mary finds joy. Confused disciples are granted enlightenment.
Embarrassed Peter receives grace.
Both approaches have their place, but the richest reading keeps the two together.
Mary’s joy, the disciples’ enlightenment, and Peter’s redemption are not just isolated
spiritual experiences. They are portents of God’s work in Christ. Only because God
was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, could Mary, the disciples, and Peter
experience the joy, wisdom, and salvation of God.
As you read the Bible as part of your personal devotions, let the Holy Spirit remind you
of all that God has done and of your place within that unfolding story. Beyond that,
come hear God's word for us on Sunday when we consider not how we read the Bible