I home school my children and recently, we've been studying Martin Luther*, Henry VIII, and the Renaissance.
I love teaching my kids because I always learn something new.
Back in the middle ages, people had to go to priests to 'hear from God.' It was due to the fact that there were no printed books before this time, and people couldn't read for themselves. Books were handwritten by Monks and then chained to the walls of the monastery so that no one could run away with them, and thus no one could really have access to read them either. So people would go to the priest and ask him what God has to say in his holy books, and the priest would try to remember what HIS priest had told him, because not only were the books inaccessible, they were also written in a language that most people didn't know.
So as you may know, the printing press changed things a great deal. People had access to information for the first time. The world was also being explored, and though they were taught it was flat, they found out otherwise! It was an amazing time. A time when folks stopped just believing what they were told and started figuring it out for themselves.
Then during the age of exploration, along comes Martin Luther*. He did a study on Romans for a class and found out that it didn't really line up with what he was taught. He was taught that he had to work hard to earn God's love, and that he had to do penance for his sins, but the church also allowed people to pay for indulgences so they wouldn't have to do those penances.
But after reading Romans, he realized that he doesn't have to earn God's love. God already loves him and gives him the power to be good because of that love. (paraphrased from The Story of the World, p. 311)
Martin wrote up his Ninety-five Theses and nailed them to the church door. He challenged the authority of the Pope and the Catholic church. He challenged the human race to find out for themselves what is TRUTH instead of just believing blindly what they were told by priests.
The invention of the printing press around this time allowed people to print not only Luther's 95 theses, but copies of the Bible as well, in various translations! People became free to decide for themselves what they believed.
I believe we have gone back to following priests (pastors) instead of figuring out the truth for ourselves. The spiritual authority doctrine has been so warped that we fear doing what God puts on our hearts because we might have to 'step out from under the umbrella' that God supposedly put in place. We have gone back to a 'man worship' mentality. Just look at our churches and how they are run! Look at the people who follow blindly whatever the pastor preaches on Sunday. Are you one of those people?
Have we forgotten the cost for our freedom? Not only did God come to Earth from his Heavenly domain and live a simple life among mere mortals, he also was humiliated, betrayed, and abandoned by us. Then he forgave us as he gave up his life on the cross. The veil was torn. WE have direct access to God. He paid for that gift!
Also consider how many people in the years of the Reformation were martyred for their beliefs. They challenged the church and were murdered for it.
Isn't it time for a new revolution?
I think it's time for us to break out of the walls of the church buildings. Spread our wings, and BECOME the CHURCH. How much more could we do if we weren't wasting our funds on multimillion dollar building projects so we could have Sunday services and a few meetings during the week?
When are we going to reject the lies we are taught concerning salvation: Just one prayer, and BOOM you are going to Heaven. I believe in grace. It is free, but it's a paradox because it WILL cost you something! Embrace the truth about what we read concerning Sheep and Goats, "he who loses his life will save it," salvation, the rich man, and the Good Samaritan.
WE all are priests and kings in God's kingdom, are we not? Do we not ALL have the ability to read the Bible for ourselves and to listen to the voice of our Father because of the reconciliation his wonderful son gave us?
Let's not forget who we are.
It's time for a new revolution.
*see Johnny's comment
~Kate Brooks Co-founder of A Future and a Hope
Home for Orphans in Nakuru, Kenya, East Africa