October 29, 2023

Post Tenebras Lux — After the Darkness, Light

On Oct 31, 1517 (506 years ago on Tuesday), Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses to the chapel door in Wittenberg, Germany, thus launching the Protestant Reformation. Every year about this time, I like to dedicate a message to exploring what the Lord did through the Reformation. Over the years, we have looked at various elements of the Reformation—several of the leaders, the famous Solas of the Reformation, and the primary doctrinal teachings of it.

The Protestant Reformation was an attempt to return the church to a more biblical path. The Reformers sought to develop a theology and practice that conformed more closely to the NT. Some branches of the Reformation were more successful at this than others, but they all wanted to bring the church back to a more biblical form of theology and practice.

The Protestant Reformation was a revolt against the authority of the RCC and its head, the pope. The Reformers, like Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Hus, and Knox, believed the RCC was corrupt and that the pope did not have the authority to impose unbiblical teachings and practices on the church.

The consequences of the Reformation still persist today. Protestant, evangelical and fundamental Christianity trace their lineage back to the ideas rediscovered during the Reformation.

Today I’d like to consider a phrase that became something of a motto for the Protestant Reformation: Post tenebras lux is a Latin phrase meaning “after the darkness, light.”

Why was this phrase so suitable for the Protestant Reformation? The Reformation was a rejection of RCism—what the reformers saw as “the darkness.” The Reformation happened at the end of what many called the “dark ages,” an era dominated by the RCC. Many things about the RC system of worship and theology were unbiblical and corrupt—that’s why it was a dark age. But after the darkness came “light,” i.e., the Reformation. The reformers sought to bring light back into the church. They wanted to bring it back to a biblical position on worship and theology.

Today we’ll look at why the RC system 500 years ago was so dark and then how the Reformation brought light back into the church.

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