As a child, October 31 only meant two things to me: costumes and candy – lots and lots of candy! I wonder how many children, even children from Christian homes, think the same?
Often lost on this date is something vastly more significant: Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of a Roman Catholic Church in Wittenberg, Germany, in the year 1517. With this act, Martin Luther sparked the great Protestant Reformation. As Christian parents and teachers, we must teach our children about this historic movement.
In his article, “5 Reasons to Teach Your Kids About the Reformation” Jeff Robinson summarizes the importance of the Reformation as followsand captuutres the urgency of passing it on to children,
The Reformation boils down to a recovery of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We are justified by faith in the substitutionary death of Christ. That’s the gospel. Remove it and you derail the engine that propels the train of eternal salvation. Remove it and you leave the body of Christ without a beating heart. Remove it and the Christian faith evaporates like a summer mist. The gospel was the battleground of the Reformation. No wonder the seed of the serpent attacks it in every generation.
I want my children to know that without the gospel, they cannot make sense of life in a fallen world. Without the gospel, there’s no hope in this life or the next, no real purpose to our days and seasons. Calvin said justification is the hinge on which the door of salvation swings. I want them to keep a close watch on that door.
Parents and church: Let’s rise to the occasion and use October 31 as an opportunity to share with our children the great truths of the Protestant Reformation! May we diligently teach and remind our children the essentials of the Reformation, as expressed in what are called the “Five Solas”:
Sola Gratia: Salvation is by grace alone,
Sola Fide: through faith alone,
Solus Christus: in Christ alone,
Sola Scriptura: on the authority of Scripture alone,
Soli Deo Gloria: for the glory of God alone!
Toward that end, we would love to offer you a free family devotional lesson from our family devotional book, Glorious God, Glorious Gospel. This particular lesson explains the meaning of justification to children. You might also want to read “What Is Reformation Day All About?” together as a family.
When the next generations are asked, years from now, “What’s so special about October 31st?”, may their first response be, “That’s the date that Martin Luther sparked the great Protestant Reformation!” And by God’s grace, may they not only be able to recall what happened but also be walking in the truth of the gospel. No costumes or candy necessary.