“Those from among you shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.” Isaiah 58:12
The Reformation in Europe during the 16th Century was one of the most important epochs in the history of the world. The Reformation gave us the Bible – now freely available in our own languages. The now almost universally acknowledged principles of religious freedom, liberty of conscience, the rule of law, separation of powers and constitutionally limited republics were unthinkable before the Reformation. The Reformers fought for the principles that Scripture alone is our final authority, Christ alone is the Head of the Church and Justification is by God’s grace, on the basis of the finished work of Christ, received by faith alone.
Some influential developments which preceded the Reformation:
“The Black Death.” The Bubonic plague, spread by lice on rats from China, wiped out over one third of Europe’s population.
The invasion of Muslim Turks who swept over the Balkans and even reached the gates of Vienna.
"Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the breach, Restorer of streets to dwell in." Isaiah 58:12
You Can Start a Reformation Society.
It is not as daunting and difficult a task as you may first think. Our prayer is that Reformation Societies would be started in many hundreds of homes, churches, schools and colleges throughout Africa and the world. It is our earnest prayer that through these multiplied Reformation societies there would be a Revival of interest in the Doctrines and Devotions of the Reformers, whom God used to transform lives and change history.
How the Reformation Society Developed
It was after my 11-country, five-week Mission to Europe in 2005 that the Lord impressed it upon my heart to launch The Reformation Society in Cape Town. I had the privilege of visiting the great Reformation centres in Europe: The Schlosskirche (Castle Church) where Luther nailed the 95 Theses 31 October 1517; the Stadkirche where Luther preached at least three times a week, Lutherhaus which was the original university of Wittenberg and Melanchthonhaus in Germany, in Zurich I visited Grossmünster (The Great Cathedral) where Ulrich Zwingli launched the Swiss Reformation, 1 January 1519; Zwinglihaus and his place of birth in Wildhaus, the great Reformation Monument in Geneva, Calvin’s Auditoir and Academy and St Pierre (St Peter's) where Calvin preached daily in Geneva; the Martyrs Memorial in Oxford and many other Reformation sites in Europe. I accumulated many thousands of photographs and a library of books on, or from, the Reformers. From these resources, I developed lectures and PowerPoint presentations on each of the key Reformers, doctrines and events which God so wonderfully used to transform the Church and to change the world.
As a Missionary, who for 38 years has concentrated on serving persecuted Christians in Restricted Access Areas, I have travelled in 42 countries and worked in 38 countries across 4 continents. This included throughout Eastern Europe, behind the Iron Curtain, during the Cold War.
When I first visited Yugoslavia and heard people in Croatia speaking about their need for independence, I was highly skeptical that it could succeed. Yugoslavia consisted of six republics, five nations, four languages, three major religions, two alphabets, but only one political party – the Communist Party.
In 1990, the first multiparty elections were held in Croatia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came into effect 8 October 1991. By 15 January 1992, Croatia was recognised as an independent country by the European Economic Community. The aggression by Yugoslavia was effectively ended August 1995, with a decisive victory by Croatia. Since then, 5 August has been observed as a Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day.
The task is great and the workers are few ‑ nobody can do everything, but we can all do something and what we can do we must do and what we must do we will do by the grace of God who gave us our life, talents, gifts and opportunities. Here are some suggestions:
STUDY THE BIBLE both personally and in a group of like‑minded believers. The objective truth of God's Word must be the inspiration and solid foundation for all our actions. Until we know God's Word we can be easily mislead and deceived. Read through and study every Book of the Bible.
PRAY for our country, for parents, pastors, teachers and government officials. Constantly remind your church and prayer group of the urgent needs and Biblical issues for prayer and action. Pray through the Psalms. Join the prayer meeting of your local church, school, or workplace.
1. The Bible
The Bible is the most translated book in all of history (the whole Bible has been translated into over 540 languages and 2,890 languages have had at least some portion of the Bible). The Bible is the number one best-selling book in all of history (over 3 billion copies). It is the most widely read book in the world. There is no question that it is the most life-changing book ever written. The most influential Bible translation in history is without doubt the 1611 King James Version. The Bible is also the most valuable book in history. A single copy of the Guttenberg Bible (printed in 1456) was sold in 1987, for over US$4 Million. One copy of William Tyndale's original printed New Testament was sold for over £1 Million. The impact of the Bible upon Western civilisation has been absolutely enormous. The Bible has inspired the greatest literature, the greatest art, the greatest achievements in architecture, the rule of law, the separation of powers, checks and balances, representative government, the sanctity of life, compassion, charity, liberty and justice. The Bible tells the Greatest True story ever told about the Greatest Man, who accomplished the most important task ever - the purchasing of our Salvation with His Blood.
Stepping Stones to Success
Some years ago, George and Alec Gallup undertook an exhaustive investigation as to what makes some people more successful than others. Using the polling techniques that have made them famous, the brothers researched and wrote a book on Success. One of their conclusions: Successful people read.
Foundations for Constructive Conversation
George Gallup found that reading was essential because it "makes a person ready to converse… these people have a broad knowledge… and more information with which to make evaluations and decisions."
Gym for the Mind
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Books are minds alive on the shelves. By taking up one of these books and opening it, we can hear the voices of people far away in time and space. By reading we can hear great people of long ago speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart.
For your information, inspiration and intercession, please study this ICCP Discussion Document from the Reformation 500 Church Consultation in Wittenberg, Germany, October 2017. For the broadcast and livestreamed presentations held at the Global Reformation Conference in July 2019, click here.
If you have any suggestions on how these may be improved, or to communicate the support of your church, mission, or ministry, write to the International Church Council Project.
We refer the reader to two documents that are foundational to these affirmation and denial statements. Those documents are “Concerning Biblical Inerrancy” and “Concerning Christ’s Lordship” and which you can also read on the www.churchcouncil.org website. The Statements set forth in this document assume what is set forth in them.
Renew your mind by reading through the whole Bible.
Read more books on the Reformation.
Obtain biographies on each of the Reformers (from Christian Liberty Books).
Visit the www.ReformationSA.org website and related links.
Invest in more resources for Reformation, including CD’s and DVD’s.
Study The Greatest Century of Reformation (GCR) book.
Request the Reformation Exam paper to test your knowledge, from email@example.com.
Subscribe to the Christian Action magazine (PO Box 23632, Claremont, 7735, South Africa, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Reformation Day Events
To see upcoming Reformation Day Celebration events, click here.
You can also view upcoming events on Reformation 500 Facebook page, please like and share on social media.
For more details, phone: 021-689-4480, or e-mail email@example.com
Ecclesia Reformata Reformanda Est! (The Church, having been Reformed, is still to be Reformed).
Sola Scriptura! Scripture alone is our ultimate authority on all matters of faith and conduct.
Solus Christus! Christ alone is the Head of the Church, and He is the only Mediator between God and man.
Sola Gratia! Salvation is by the Grace of God alone.
Sola Fide! Salvation is received by Faith alone.
Soli Deo Gloria! Everything is to be done for the glory of God alone.
These great Reformation principles challenge us to regular and rigorous self-criticism and constant re-evaluation of our personal lives, congregations, missions, families and society.