What I am about to confess, embarrasses me. How can a Christian, who has attended church his whole life, get to be my age (63) and not know something so important about our Christian church history?
I'm talking about a holiday that is celebrated on October 31. NOT Halloween but Reformation Day. Sure, I had heard the phrase a few times in my life but I just assumed that it was mostly about the beginning of the Lutheran denomination. It was only a few short years ago that I learned the details and the date of this memorial holiday.
Apparently most who are in the protestant denominations (especially Lutherans) have some historical knowledge of it but in Baptist churches, the name "Martin Luther" is seldom mentioned unless it is followed by "King."
I think it is ironic that on the day of the darkest and most evil holiday of the year, the "Light of the world" shown on a devoutly religious but lost Catholic priest. And by God's grace, the light of the Word penetrated his heart and revealed to Martin Luther that "the just shall live by faith."
But most of the churches I am familiar with will never mention the beginning of the Reformation. They will celebrate the dark, pagan holiday instead. They won't admit it but they will. A few of the more honest ones will call it what it is; a Halloween party. The rest will disguise it as a "Halloween alternative," a "Fall Festival," or a "Harvest Celebration." Whatever they call it, it will be a safe, and easy place where parents can divert their kids away from the "Trick or Treat" thing on the streets. Instead, the kids will show up at church in costumes to play games and get lots of candy.
Of course, the churches will try to justify it as an "outreach ministry." After all, they say, it is a great opportunity to invite unbelievers to church to prove to them that Christians can do the same kinds of things the world does and have just as much fun. And besides, with the candy, they will hand out some tracts.
Why are they so afraid to celebrate the birth of the Reformation? My guess is that they probably associate the history with "reformation theology." I wrote, in another post, that my daughter was teaching her children the Westminster Catechism. When she mentioned it, one of her church leaders responded by saying, "That's reformation theology. We don't believe in that here."
That was ignorant and really sad. I have said before, I am finding myself more comfortable pitching my tent in the camp of reformed theology (which is God-centered) than dwelling in the mire of the kind of man-centered theology that is replete with "easy believism," "decisional regeneration," and promises of "your best life now."