ReFORmation! - Pastor Mary Suomala Folkerds

October is the month where our teaching series moves from the theme of “FOR Fargo Moorhead” to “ReFORmation!”

On October 31, it will 500 years since Martin Luther started what became known as the Protestant Reformation by nailing 95 theses, or grievances, to the doors of the Wittenberg Church. But church historian, Dr. Christopher Gehrz, says, “If we Protestants are ‘reformed and always reforming,’ then commemorating the Reformation should cause us not so much to celebrate the past as to renew our mission and ministry in the present.”

Martin Luther’s central conviction was that in Christ, God has freed us from sin

and death, and thus has freed us FOR service to our neighbors! This has been the focus of our “FOR Fargo Moorhead” teaching series.

As we move into the “ReFORmation” teaching series, we will look at how the early Reformers shifted the way that the church of their day witnessed to Jesus, and how we can faithfully witness to Jesus in these changing times!

Here are some fun facts about the Reformation that I found in the July 2017 issue of Living Lutheran. As you read about these changes, think about the ways that social media, worship styles, and church planting impact how we do ministry today:

  • There were reformers well before Luther and what became known as the Reformation, but Luther and other reformers of his time harnessed the power of the printing press to give their ideas a wide audience.

  • Prior to the Reformation, congregational singing—and even talking—during church services wasn’t standard practice in Germany.

  • Reformation is still needed as recent research and surveys reveal that about one-third of mainstream Protestants believe eternal life depends on our actions and living a good life, despite the biblical understanding and teachings of the reformers that salvation is a gift from God received through faith in Christ, through no effort of our own.

  • The Reformation emphasis that God sees ALL believers as spiritually equal had profound repercussions in the church—especially when applied to women.

  • Today, more than 200 denominations and churches in North America have histories connected to the Reformation.

    Happy October! I am excited to see how we are still ReFORming! - Pastor Mary