No, this article is not about Halloween. Rather, it is about an anniversary celebration of sorts. On this date 499 years ago something happened that forever changed the world of religion. Next year will be the 500th anniversary of the event involving Martin Luther and his protest of the religious environment of his day. He nailed his 95 protests or theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany on October 31, 1517.
Although there were several other men, in many locations, involved in a similar movement, Martin Luther’s act is best associated with what is known as The Reformation. These were men such as John Calvin, John Wesley, John Knox and others.
It is called The Reformation because they each had the mindset of reforming the religious institution of their day.
My objective today is not to discuss that movement in detail. But I will note, that mindset didn’t just happen overnight; it was years in the making. And therein lies the focus of our thoughts today.
I want to tie two major historical events together in order to draw a very important conclusion.
For our consideration today I’d like to consider what happened 25 years prior to 1517. The year 1492 is widely recognized as the year Columbus discovered America. So what possible connection is there between 1492 and 1517? Between the discovery of America and Martin Luther’s protest?
Let us consider the events that preceded the 1492 discovery, in particular consider the religious atmosphere of the Old World in the years leading to this event. Read the book, Foxe’s Christian Martyrs by John Foxe. Read of the persecution of men such as John Wycliffe and John Huss. Read about Jerome of Prague being burned at the stake while singing hymns. There was much religious persecution at that time. Fleeing this religious persecution was no minor reason for relocating to the New World.
Think of the religious freedoms that followed that discovery in 1492. It may have taken 2 or 3 centuries to develop but this new land afforded opportunities for those wishing to pursue religious freedoms. Whether we want to admit it or not, the fact is, this country was founded by those pursuing religious freedoms. And I might add, they were not pursuing a freedom FROM religion, they were pursuing a freedom OF religion.
I firmly believe GOD’S Hand of Providence was at work in the discovery of America and the eventual founding of our country. Read the accounts of some of the early established colonies and their preservation against all odds. GOD’S Hand was in their preservation.
Who can read the Declaration of Independence and think it was written by man without the blessing of Divine guidance? I am not saying it was inspired like the Scriptures are inspired but I am saying it was the Providence of Almighty GOD that brought those men together to accomplish the founding of this nation.
The early words of that great document makes the following proclamation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
What interesting thoughts. All men are created equal! Created by a Creator with certain rights! Our rights do not come from men, government, or even great documents. Our rights come from GOD!
In the coming days, as America goes to the polls to elect a new President, I pray that GOD will use whomever is elected to bring about His will. Yes, the founding of this country required His Providence. Furthermore, its continued existence requires the same.
I pray our country will remain the great land of the free. A land in which my grandchildren and their children can live and serve the LORD.
Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34
More and more it seems our nation is defined by sin rather than righteousness. However, I know there are still many citizens of this land who are righteous. Righteous not because of their own merits but because they serve a living GOD. They belong to Him. They put their trust in Him. So to that end I ask…
GOD Bless America, please.