The Reformation: 500 Years Later – Rediscovering the Message that Changed the World and is Still Changing the World Today
It has been said of Sweden that it has one of the fastest de-Christianization rates in the world. We don’t know how they come to those conclusions, but statistically one evangelical church is closing down every week and there’s no indication that this trend is going to change. One brother that has been traveling around preaching in many churches has told us how sad he is to see how elderly the average church goers are. It looks like we are slowly losing the next generation.
What then should be done? Churches have tried embracing pragmatism, traditionalism, liberalism and the latest trends but nothing is working. By studying church history we see a connection between the spiritual decline and when the theological schools and churches began to lose their trust in the authority of the Scripture. Also, they began moving away from proclaiming and having the gospel in focus. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who saw a similar situation within the UK said with great spiritual clarity:
“The real cause of the present state of the church of God on earth is to be found in the church’s voluntary departure from belief in the Bible as the fully inspired Word of God and from stressing the great evangelical doctrines.”
This is especially what we believe is the cause for the situation in Sweden. But what should be done about it? This weekend our church plant had a conference advocating what we firmly believe is the only hope for Sweden and the direction that we see that Sweden has taken: We must return to the Bible as God’s authoritative word and to the clear proclamation of the gospel. In connection to the 500-year anniversary of the reformation we had a conference to rediscover the message of the reformers who changed the world and whose influence are still experienced. During last few years a few evangelical leaders in Sweden have left the evangelical faith and become Roman Catholic. With this in mind we were very glad to have two former Roman Catholics as our speakers, who themselves have experienced personal reformations.
Our main speaker was our friend and brother, Jerry Marcellino, from Mississippi who shared with us on the five solas of the reformation:
- Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)
- Sola Fide (Faith alone)
- Sola Gratia (Grace alone)
- Solus Christus (Christ alone)
- Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God alone)
When approaching the message of the reformation we need to ask ourselves: “What is our authority?” Is it our reasoning, tradition, experience, or is it the word of God? Jerry shared if we return to sola scriptura, having the Scripture as our only authority for doctrine and life, then the other solas would follow, but we need to start with the foundation. If the foundation is right, then we can get the gospel right and live our lives to the glory of God alone. This is our prayer for Sweden and we ask you to join us: That we would return to the Bible as God’s authoritative Word and that the proclamation of the gospel would once again be in the focus, so that whatever we do God would be glorified in our lives.
Our friend, Brother Henry, also held a lecture from his book The key role of the Bible in the Protestant Reformation. Brother Henry pointed out how God used John Wycliffe, Jan Hus and William Tyndale’s discovery of the Bible as tools to prepare the way for the reformation. May He use that in our country too.
A few thoughts from those who attended
“I have heard things here that I know to be true to Scripture, but have felt all alone in standing up for them in Sweden. This has been an encouragement to know that we are not alone and truth should always be something to stand firmly on!”
“I have never heard the 5 solas of the reformation preached clearly in Sweden before…”
“I will have a lot to process and think about when I get home!”
“The pastor’s past experience as a former Roman Catholic in looking at the necessity of the reformation made it that much more interesting.”
“I know that I could listen to the sermon later on youtube, but I see the importance of attending for the whole picture; fellowship, spiritual food, worship, prayer, etc.”
Pray with us…
- First, Thank God:
- For a fruitful and challenging conference.
- For all of you who make it possible for us to do what we are doing.
- A recovery of the reformational truth in our country so that the authority of the word of God and the gospel once again would be the center of our pulpits of this country like it used to be in the 19th century.
- That God would raise up more preachers and leaders as instruments of reform in existing churches and for the planting of new ones.
- The 90 (approximately) attendees of the conference would practically live the truths of the 5 solas in our churches and daily lives.
- That God would bless the preaching in our church and that we would see many people saved from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved Son (Col 1:13)