The Norman Conquest, the Magna Carta, and even the landing of Christopher Columbus are remarkable events that have thoroughly engrained their principles, discovery, and lessons into the fabric of these United States. The Reformation, however, far outweighs the influence of all those historic moments.
While many celebrate the pagan rituals of Halloween on October 31st, few even know that day commemorates Reformation Day - a day in history when a brave monk, Martin Luther, asserted the authority of the Bible over the tyrannical authority of a contradicting Pope by nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the castle church doors in Wittenberg.
The chain of events following what we now call the Reformation, began in Germany where Luther preached that salvation comes through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, NOT the assurance of priests or bishops. Assurance came from God Himself. Simplicity, equality, and Scripture created what early Protestants called, “The Priesthood of All Believers.”
Culminating at the Diet of Worms, Martin Luther, the chief catalyst of the Reformation, defied the so-called Holy Roman Emperor Charles V by refusing to recant his writings wherein he was charged with heresy. Against the top-down authority and divinity of any Pope or man, Dissenters in England, and then-colonial America, resisted the so-called “divinely ordained” authority of the monarchy.
Eric Metaxas, in his bestselling book “Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World," made the claim:
"If ever there was a moment where it can be said the modern world was born, and where the future itself was born, surely it was in that room on April 18 at Worms. There can be no question that what happened that day unequivocally led to all manner of things in the future, among them the events 254 years and one day later, on April 19, 1775, when the troops at Lexington and Concord took a stand for liberty against tyranny."
The founding fathers took those Protestant, Reformation principles and wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Fearful and loathsome of any individual, or body of individuals, that resembled unchecked or undue amounts of power over the citizens, the impetus was produced, by which the American Revolution was fought.
While signing the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, Father of the American Revolution, declared, "This day, I trust, the reign of political Protestantism will commence.”
Later, James Madison, “The Father of the Constitution”, boldly asserted, “[America’s government] illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due to God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers…”
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