By Adrian D. Powell
It is a mystery that there is little attention paid, it seems, to the Protestant Reformation in the Church of God. For without the foundation laid by the Reformers, beginning with Martin Luther in 1517, there would have been no basis for the reformation in 1888 by D. S. Warner. Without the spark of the Reformation begun by the posting of the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Cathedral Church at Wittenberg, there would have been no motivation or opportunity for Daniel Sidney Warner to teach the doctrines that have come to be known as the basis for the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana).
The Babylon of sectarianism that Warner and other early preachers of the Church of God espoused would not have been able to have been found were it not for the importance laid on the ability of each person to interpret the Bible’s teaching as each person saw fit. This was a far cry from the magisterial authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, better known as the Inquisition. This was the singular body that held the authority to tell all members of the church universal (catholic) what they were to believe.
Martin Luther believed that the Holy Spirit would guide each person into all truth, and that the milk maid, as well as the clergy, had the ability to understand the doctrine of the faith in the Bible by their own interpretation.
As a believer who has been licensed and ordained in the Church of God after having grown up in the Roman Catholic church from birth, I can attest to the truth of what Luther believed over that of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
We should not neglect to celebrate that truth that was restored to the true Church by the necessary recovery of biblical truth and the exposition of the Bible during the days of the Reformation. That recovery also led to the saying that should never be forgotten: “Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda est”—“The Church reformed, is always reforming.” The thought is that there will always be issues that the church must deal with because the Church of Jesus Christ is made up of people who, even after salvation and sanctification, are capable of sin and error. And, therefore, the Church must always take care to remember that none of us have the corner on all the truth.
On this October 31, Reformation Day, take time to remember that the Church of God is one body made up of every blood-washed one for all ages. And that we owe a debt of gratitude for the ecclesiastical freedom that we have today to Martin Luther and the other reformers.
Adrian Powell is pastor of Faith Community Church of God in Grove City, Ohio. He has been published in the Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Call and Post, Columbus Post, and Vital Christianity, and has authored two books, The Jubilee Harvest and Resident Aliens: A Living Faith in a Hostile World, available at Amazon.com.
Learn more about the beliefs and history of the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.