October 31 has become synonymous with Halloween—the day where kids get dressed up, forego the don’t-talk-to-strangers rule, and get a candy buzz that could fly them to the moon.
But the date has a greater historical significance. It’s the day when Martin Luther formally began a protest over certain problems in the Church of his day. He felt it had gotten off track, and needed reforming.
The date was October 31, 1517.
Today, many Protestant churches (including my own) exist partly because of that call for reform. In an article about October 31 as Reformation Day, my super-smart and snappily-dressed colleague Ross Lockhart encourages modern Christians to honour that legacy by asking questions in keeping with Luther’s own:
(a) where has the gospel been reduced or domesticated in our day?, and
(b) what is God calling us to do as a result?
In our hearts and churches, has the message of and about Jesus been diluted, distorted or domesticated? Are we twiddling our thumbs with ear plugs in while God is calling us to great and world-changing things as the hands and feet of Christ?
In Matthew 16:18 (ESV) Jesus says, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Last year I was talking to a woman in her 90’s. While speaking about some of the challenges she’s faced over the decades, she raised her hands in the air, looked up, and said, “What would I do without my Saviour?”
Vibrant, modern faith—and vibrant, modern churches—aren’t built on the great things WE have done, but on the great things JESUS has done. On October 31, let us never forget that foundational focus.
“And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
By Matthew Ruttan