Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Reformation Day Lesson Plans and Resources
Since we don't participate in Halloween, we have chosen to celebrate the alternative holiday of Reformation Day. Strictly speaking, we are not reformed or Lutheran (non-reformed Christians do celebrate Reformation Day but it does tend to be associated more with reformed Christians), but we do appreciate the impact that Martin Luther had on the protestant church and his bravery in confronting the false theology of the Catholic church's teachings during a time in which it was so dangerous to confront such a power. Since the information can be found all over the internet, I am just going to post excerpts and link to the sites rather than retyping it all in my own words. How lazy is that ?
The History of the Reformation
The historical trends that brought about the Reformation began centuries before its actual occurrence. In part, the root causes stem from the Church's departure from the foundational teachings of Christ regarding a believer's relationship with God, believers' relationships with one another, and the means of salvation. By the time of the fall of Rome, in the late fifth century, the Church had already adopted many practices contrary to the teachings of Christ.
Particularly, three perceived errors in doctrine stood out as major flaws that were in direct opposition to his teachings, and these later became the basis for Luther's ninety-five theses. The first error created a priesthood that acted as mediator between the believer and God, suggesting that direct communication between man and the almighty was impossible. The second was the establishment of a pope or pontiff who would exercise authority over the entire Church. The third error related to the attainment of salvation through penitent works and charitable acts, rather than through the miracle of faith.
The catalyst that caused Luther to directly confront these issues, however, was the Church practice of granting "indulgences". The custom was based on a verse in the Gospel of John, where Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive or retain the sins of humanity. In Luther's time, the Church was engaged in the practice of selling indulgences as a means of increasing ecclesiastical wealth. The Church justified this practice by citing that, although God released the offender from his heavenly obligation, he was still required to pay an earthly price for his sin.
Such payments (or other suitable acts of charity) to the Church released a person from financial or civil obligation incurred as a result of sin. This practice greatly benefited nobles and the wealthy, who could literally pay for their crimes, and correspondingly severely disadvantaged the poor, who could not. The practice also included the selling of indulgences to the families of deceased relatives to release their souls from Purgatory.
It was the "Jubilee Indulgence," authorized by Pope Leo X to pay for the rebuilding of St. Peter's Cathedral, which incited Luther to take action. As the doors of churches were often utilized for posting public notices, Luther, having written his ninety-five theses, placed them on the Castle Church doors on All Hallows Eve, where many who would attend the following All Saints Day observance would read it. However, it was the recent invention of the printing press that allowed Luther's theses to be circulated throughout Europe, thereby bringing him to the attention of Rome and the papacy.
Doorposts offers a Reformation Day Packet with activities and lesson plans for Reformation Day.
Homeschool Share offers this free lapbook on Martin Luther and Reformation Day.
Free Reformation Day Printables can be found here.
Blessed Beyond a doubt has a nice list of Reformation Day resources.
And don't forget to browse Pinterest for ideas!
What do you do to celebrate Reformation Day?