|On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther published 95 criticisms of the Catholic Church practice of selling Indulgences. Although he intended to reform Catholicism, not break it apart, he accomplished both. On the 500th anniversary of his act of conscientious defiance, it is important to review how that moment changed the world religiously, economically, politically, socially, and intellectually. The upheaval stretched into every fabric of society, exceeding anything Martin Luther could anticipate. So widespread of an effect proclaims God's hand was involved.|
Although the Reformation of Christianity began a half-millennium ago, it has not completed its destiny. When it began the movement was caused by the abuses of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Reformers shared a common experience that included a conviction that Catholicism was different from New Testament Christianity and failed to either practice or preach Christ's Gospel.
The first Reformers also experienced first-hand abusive treatment by local Catholic leaders and sincerely wanted to practice a more pure form of Christianity. In their search to connect with God, they broke from Rome.
As the Reformation gathered strength, Protestant Christianity itself began to fracture. Once the Bible became available in the common languages of Europe, the widespread recognition that other institutions, in addition to Catholicism, failed to value different New Testament teachings led to multiplying denominations.
In the New World, Roger Williams reached the conclusion that the original could not be "reformed" back into its original state, but it would require a "restoration" which Christ alone could accomplish. He thought Christ would eventually send another apostle to restore the ancient, original church.
In 1820 Joseph Smith claimed Christ appeared to him and led him to establish a restored New Testament Church. However, following Joseph Smith's martyrdom the course of Mormonism followed the course of Rome. Like the Catholics before, the institution became abusive, including a dark period while isolated in the Rocky Mountains when Mormon leaders intimidated, threatened, and eventually killed dissidents. The preaching of militant Mormonism led to the Mountain Meadows Massacre when over 120 people were killed. Fortunately, the American Army sent a force to the Utah Territory, displaced Brigham Young as Territorial Governor, and installed a secular government.
Mormonism began as a revival of New Testament Christianity, but devolved in less than 150 years to the same sad state of institutional abuse as Rome practiced in the 1500s.
This is the 500th year of the Christian Reformation and Christianity has become a fractured, incomplete and conflicted body of Christians. This half-millennial milestone marks an opportunity to consider where we are, how we have arrived there, and what can be done.
Since it's beginning with Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Knox, to Roger Williams, John Wesley, and even Joseph Smith, devout men have sought in vain to recover the authentic Christianity once established by the Lord Jesus Christ. This website is a commemoration of Christianity's history since Martin Luther.