Today as we remember the first Thanksgiving, as Christians we need to also be grateful for the legacy of the Reformation. Without the Reformation, there never would have been a Pilgrim feast that day. Why? Because without the Reformation, those Pilgrims would not have been Separatists, people who believed the the Word of God held all authority over their life. Their belief was revolutionary!!! To think that a man, family, or body of believers could know God's Word and act upon it outside of THE CHURCH or THE STATE was not allowed or accepted. Yet once they had the Scriptures, (which in the Pilgrim's case was NOT the KJV but rather the Geneva Bible or perhaps Wycliffe's) in their own language, the Pilgrims as well as thousands upon thousands like them in all of Europe had the precious treasure of God's own words in their hands. (Remember Luther had translated the Scriptures into German).
This meant that all the centuries of religious leaders teaching for doctrines the commandments of men could be understood in light of Matthew 15. There Jesus confronted the Pharisees about how they were doing the exact same thing. The Pharisees were using man's traditions and customs passed down through generations and teaching them as doctrines of the faith. Christ in so many passages of the gospels made it clear that God's Word held all authority over man and his ideas about how to worship and obey Him. When ordinary people began to read God's Word and to know for themselves the love, grace, and forgiveness of their God and Saviour, they wanted free from the bondage of men's traditions and teachings that enslaved them to the Church or State. They understood that there was "...ONE mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus..."(1 Timothy 2:5) They understood that finally, they did not have to be good enough, richer, holier or do more penance to be saved or to worship God rightly. They were accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)
What men like Luther, Calvin, Knox and so many others did was establish once and for all that God's Word was the ultimate authority for our lives, not men or institutions. They taught that Scriptures did not negate rulers in the civil or ecclesiastical realm, but even those rulers had to subject themselves to God and to His Word. Kings, queens, cardinals, popes, and bishops all understood what the implications were and tried to suppress the Word being printed and the principles of it being taught. They murdered men, women,and children in their efforts at keeping the Word of God from the people and maintaining independent control of the masses.
The legacy of the Reformation is what brought Pilgrims, Puritans, Hugenots, and many many others to our shores. That is what makes it so that no ONE Church or denomination can honestly claim that they are the ONE TRUE CHURCH with the only way to heaven or salvation or holiness. God's Word is our truth and authority. All of us, no matter where we are doctrinally, in maturity, or in circumstances should read it, study it, learn it, and apply it to all of our life as God gives us grace. Submitting to what we find there in fear of God, not man. That is what we are remembering today as we give thanks, not just for today, but for generations of Christians before us and for generations after us to have the truth of God's Word to rule their lives.
"I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name." Psalm 138:2
----posted by Queen Lucy