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The Gospel Coalition
Reformation 500 Statement
Today we join with millions of Christians around the world in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Granted, dates like these are hard to pin down. Who is to say when something as big as the Reformation began? And what about those who labored for reform long before October 31, 1517? Nevertheless, for centuries, Protestants have instinctively recognized that a providential series of events was set in motion on this day 500 years ago when a German professor named Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
We give thanks for Martin Luther, imperfect though he was, for the role he played in igniting a reform movement that caught fire in the cities of the Holy Roman Empire, spread through the rest of Europe, and now reaches to the ends of the earth. Wherever we find the Scriptures alone as the highest and final authority, grace alone as the only hope for sinners, faith alone as the only ground for justification, Christ alone as the only atoning sacrifice for sin, and God alone as the ultimate object of our worship—wherever we find these truths sung, savored, and celebrated, we have reason to rejoice in the Reformation.
But we do more on this day than give thanks for the past. We also marvel at what we see in the present. Who but God could have foreseen the triumphs of the gospel in the last 500 years—from the planting of Reformation churches in the New World, to the explosion of Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa, to revivals in Korea, to the endurance (and now spectacular) growth of the church in China, to renewed gospel vibrancy in places as diverse as Australia, the Arabian Peninsula, Brazil, and India? Who but God could have known that once the Bible was translated into English and German and French it would also be translated into Albanian, Cambodian, Japanese, Oshindonga, Navajo, and Swahili? Who but God could have predicted that with the advent of airplanes, radios, and the internet, the good news of justification by faith alone in Christ alone through grace alone would be available to more people in more places than at any time in history? This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes (Ps. 118:23).
And yet, we are not blind to the challenges facing the church: secularization in the former countries of Christendom, opposition to biblical orthodoxy in the West, and increasing violence against the church in parts of the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Theological heterodoxy holds sway in too many places, as do grinding poverty (on the one hand) and affluent indifference (on the other). And this is to say nothing of rising racial tensions, widespread nominalism, and the plight of those—numbering in the billions—who have no access to the gospel.
But Scripture tells us that the word of God is not bound (2 Timothy 2:9). What we know from the Bible and have seen in history—that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16)—we expect to see in the years ahead. We are not confident in ourselves or in our ministries. We are but a vapor, a mist that appears and then vanishes away (James 4:4). We will not change the world, or even a single human heart, but we know the One who can and does. The God that Luther proclaimed is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and our God too. Though cultures change, and the church with it at times, the Head of the Church does not change. He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8).
And so on this momentous day when we celebrate the rediscovery of the gospel and the recovery of true worship, we commit ourselves once again to the worship of our triune God and the gladhearted declaration of this gospel. And if the Lord should tarry another half millennium, our prayer is not to be remembered as Luther is, but only to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands as he was.
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God will stand forever (Isa. 40:8).
[On October 31,] we join with millions of Christians around the world in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
This past week we returned to the Auditorium after the completion of its renovation.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the idea of cooking for this food-focused holiday can be daunting.
Over the past year at Parkside, we have often heard the phrase, “building into the next generation,” and the new children’s wing is evidence that we are serious about nurturing and caring for families.
Parkside needs to receive the remaining pledges committed for 2014 and 2015 to fund its building construction projects in process.
With so much construction taking place in the much-anticipated Children’s Wing, you might not have noticed some changes going on in Fellowship Hall.
During the last week of August, cement trucks came in droves and crews poured and finished the foundation for Parkside Church’s new children’s wing. Once the concrete was set, crews were onsite at the start of September to begin setting the steel beams for the rest of the structure. Both projects mark major milestones for Parkside’s vision of building into the next generation and have been expertly managed by our representatives in the field, Ralph Repp and Robert (Bob) McCoy, co-owners of Choice Repps Construction Advisers.
Parkside Church’s vision for Building Into the Next Generation has been rooted in the importance of investing in Gospel relationships for Gospel growth which includes the care and education of our children. God has guided and blessed us in many ways throughout this journey, and we are excited to announce that we are ready to begin construction of the eagerly anticipated new wing for our growing Children’s Ministry.
The unassuming, faded yellow building that once cared for Veterans of Foreign Wars has long sat as the quiet neighbor of our busy and bustling Parkside Church. Acquired by Parkside in 2009, the site of the old VFW building will find new purpose as the home of Truth For Life, Pastor Alistair Begg’s teaching ministry.