Sunday, October 29, 2017, is Reformation Sunday, and I (Pastor Reinaldo) will be teaching about the Reformation. Reformation Day falls each year on October 31. But this October 31 is a very special Reformation Day as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation. 

Let’s start with the basics. First, what is a "reformation"? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 

reformation a :the act of reforming; b :the state of being reformed

I don’t know about you but I don’t find that very helpful. Let’s back up a bit and look at the definition of the word "reform." Again, from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 

reform a :to put or change into an improved form or condition; b :to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses

Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. Let’s couple that definition with the definition of "The Reformation" (the article "The" and uppercase "R" make all the difference here),  

The Reformation a 16th century religious movement marked ultimately by rejection or modification of some Roman Catholic doctrine and practice and establishment of the Protestant churches

Consistent with this definition, the Reformation, which officially began on October 31, 1517, was a 16th century movement aimed at changing and improving the condition of the Roman Catholic Church (only church denomination in Western Europe back then) by way rejecting its abuses, removing its faults, and returning it to the doctrines and practices of the teachings of Christ and the Apostles, as prescribed in Scripture. You might say that the Reformers rediscovered the gospel in much the same way that King Josiah rediscovered the Law and enacted reforms in Israel during the second half of the 7th century BC (2 Kings 22-23 & 2 Chronicles 34-35). 

Depending on which Church historian one listens to, the Church began a steep declinemoral, ethical, doctrinal, etc.some 1,000 years prior to the 16th century. One of the Reformers, John Calvin, admired Pope Gregory I (in office from 590 604) and commented that he was "the last good pope." Over the years the decline escalatedor deescalated, ratherto the extent that by the 16th century the Church bore little resemblance to the Church Christ founded and which the Apostles established in the 1st century. Sad. 

Next week: REFORMATION 102 Why Is Reformation Day Celebrated on October 31?