30 Oct 2009

Happy Reformation Sunday

Image from Wunztwice's flickr stream 95 Theses. Cool, isn't he?

I've been spending a lot of time reading about the Reformation in recent weeks. Our curriculum, the Charlotte Mason inspired Ambleside Online, uses history as the organising spine. The resultant curriculum is sequenced and organised, and becomes the natural, built in skeleton for us to clothe in the rich literature for which a Charlotte Mason curriculum is known.

You can read about our Australianised AO history rotation here, but essentially AO3 which we begin in January 2010 - only a matter of a few short weeks, really, is the first year where our history diverges from the AO prescribed plan.

In AO3, students study the years 1400 - 1600. These years are titled: Renaissance to Reformation, but in reality something else very important happened during these years: In 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered America. Now while I am interested in Jemimah understanding what happened in America during these years, I don't plan on teaching American History in the depth that AO has packaged it for its predominantly American audience.

Since Australian history prior to the 1800's is obviously very limited, our solution is to spend Year 3 doing an in depth study of the Reformations of Europe and Scotland, focusing on our Reformed Presbyterian roots. In my history plan I write simply:
We study Luther, Knox and Calvin in depth during this year.

Easy to say, but now I am facing the reality of making AO3 work. I have made considerable progress, and I will explain what our plans are in coming weeks, but right now I have such notable figures as Erasmus, Huss, Luther, Wycliffe, Ursinus and Calvin haunting not only my waking hours but also my dreams!!

This Sunday is Reformation Sunday. Last year on this day I wrote a post about this occasion. I thought it was pretty good, but I doubt whether anyone except my husband ever read it since I had very few readers at that time. I thought I would reproduce much of it here today:


Traditionally the Sunday closest to 31 October, Reformation Sunday takes its date from October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church in Germany, sparking the Protestant Reformation.

Luther rejected the Roman Catholic teaching that sin could be absolved through papal indulgences, since he believed that grace was given by God alone.

Luther's reading of Paul's letter to the church in Rome changed his thinking profoundly:

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith. Romans 1:17
He realised that the righteousness of God was not a characteristic of a fearful God - something that made it impossible for man to live up to his demands - but rather, righteousness was an activity of a loving God. God is righteous when he declares that the unrighteous who have faith shall be righteous.

The world changing ideas of Luther and other Reformers - John Calvin, William Tyndale, Thomas Cranmer, along with men who came before him - John Wycliffe and John Hus to name two - resulted in the Protestant Church of today.

The Reformers had 5 main slogans, all using the word sola, the Latin word for alone. It was this word alone that defined the true biblical Gospel and set it apart from other pretenders. Urging a return to the Scriptures as the source of all truth, the cry of these Reformers was was:
Faith alone!
Grace alone!
Christ alone!
Scripture alone!
The Glory of God alone!
With Scripture alone as the sure foundation, the Reformers affirmed that justification is by grace alone, received through faith alone because of Christ alone — for the glory of God alone.

This is not just interesting history. This is what makes us Protestants. The essential truths of the 16th Century Reformation are often blurred, ignored, denied or even forgotten in the pulpits of today's churches. This is not the time to dilute or adjust the Gospel message under the pressures of social conformity. To be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God.

With the Reformers, let us "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints." Jude 3

May each of you enjoy a Gospel centered, God exalting Reformation Sunday this year.

I think this YouTube video is terrific. I hope you do too!


  1. Thanks for this post Jeanne. We've been reading from Trial & Triumph today in preparation for our Reformation Celebration at church tonight. I am brought to tears when I read of the deaths of the faithful men & women who gave their lives for the sake of God's truth.
    We don't want our children to take our faith for granted.
    The lego "Luther" is cute!
    Have a blessed Reformation weekend.

  2. The Lego man looked so strange in my reader next to the words, Reformation Sunday!!
    Great post on the Reformation Jeanne.
    I am curious when you say in depth study in Year 3? My boys find our very basic (we recently read The Monk who Shook the World)study of these characters hard going. Do you mean in depth in doctrine etc? Just wondering how you will approach it.
    Have a good weekend and Reformation Day.

  3. The video is too cool! :) Never thought I would hear the word transubstanciation (sp?) in the lyrics of a polka! :)
    I second Ruby's ? about what "in depth" means to you?

  4. Ah yes, can you see why I've been dreaming of the Reformers? I'll explain our plans for next year as they come together over the next few weeks!!

  5. I'm reading but there's not much I can say. Waaay outside my area. ☺

  6. Happy Reformation Sunday Jeanne! I didn't know much about the Reformed Presbyterian church, I still don't, I am learning more about it from you though:)

  7. I'm very interested to see what you come up with Jeanne. Great post!

  8. Now those sound like some interesting dreams! Definitely looking forward to seeing your inspired living books list for this study.

  9. With this year being Calvin's 500th birthday, we've made sure the boys have had several Calvin bios to read. *grin*

  10. Thank you for this post! so appropriate as I preread year 3 and delve into Luther the last week or so!


I'd love you to leave me a message. Tell me what you like - and what you don't. Just remember that this is what we do in our family - it doesn't have to be what you do in yours...