Beginning Soon! Reformation 500: Grace Changes Everything!

As you already may have heard, in the coming year, Mount Olivet will host a wide variety of special events and activities leading up to the 500th anniversary of Luther posting his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany, and beginning the Protestant Reformation.

It all begins in September as we lift up the 2016-17 Stewardship theme “Grace Changes Everything.”


Reformation 500: Why All the Fuss?

Who was this man after which the Lutheran church was named? And why would we have a year focused on him, his teachings, and the Reformation he began 500 years ago as of October 31, 2017?

Born into a prosperous family in Eisleben, Germany in 1483, Martin Luther was headed for life as a lawyer until in 1505, a thunderstorm changed everything. Caught in the violent storm, he almost was hit by lightning. Afraid for his life, Luther vowed that if God kept him safe, he would become a monk. True to his vow, he left the study of law and entered an Augustinian monastery a few days later.

Though life as a monk was rigorous, Luther managed to continue his studies, receive his doctorate, and become a professor of biblical studies. Never would he have imagined, however, that he also would become one of the Western world’s most significant people because of religious and secular changes he would set in motion that affected not only the Christian church, but art, music, education, politics, government, and more!  

What sparked these changes? Luther’s desire to hold an academic debate over 95 “theses” or statements/questions addressing the teachings and authority of the Catholic Church at the time. In particular, Luther felt that (1) the church had abandoned the Bible as its primary authority and (2) that the church’s teachings that people could “work” or buy their way to salvation was completely unbiblical. The Bible’s message, Luther argued, is clear: Only God’s free gift of grace can and does save us.

While the 95 Theses that Luther posted on the door of All Saints Church (“Castle Church”) in Wittenberg was not the first time some of them had been proposed, Luther’s drive to fight for correction came at a time ripe for change. The result was over 130 years of reformation movements throughout Europe during which thousands of people died defending the right to form churches with different beliefs and teachings – a right we hold dear yet today.

In the coming year, you’ll learn much more about the enormously talented Luther, his teachings, his accomplishments, and also his flaws. Why all the fuss? For many reasons, including the changes he set in motion that reverberate in our lives yet today, his reminder that the church must be vigilant in protecting the truth of the gospel, and most of all, for his revolutionary insight into the true nature of God’s grace –grace that does indeed change everything!