The Presbyterian Church of Ghana, (PCG) has commemorated the 500 years anniversary of the Protestant Reformation with a special thanksgiving service at the Osu Eben-Ezer Church in Accra.
The special thanksgiving service which was under the theme: “Living God, Renew and Transform us” was attended by people from all walks of life.
On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther penned his 95 theses, a series of grievances and critiques of the Catholic Church. Luther’s criticism led to a split with the Roman Catholic Church and the birth of Protestantism which gave birth to the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
Delivering a sermon at the thanksgiving service, the President of the Trinity Theological Seminary in Accra, Rev Prof Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, said the main focus of the Reformation was that salvation came by grace through faith alone, not by good works or payment. He said, it also opened up opportunities for faithful Christians to reach out as healers and reconcilers to a world torn apart by strife and inequality.
He said When Luther posted his statements at Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, he meant to start a debate. Instead, it spread quickly and sparked a revolution in that day’s religion. He said Luther was eventually excommunicated from the Catholic Church and translated the Bible into German.
Rev Prof Mante said Martin Luther really emphasized the importance of God’s word being in the language of the people, and so translating the Bible into the language of people, groups around the world should be the main business of the universal church today. “Luther really focused on Jesus as the way that we understand who God is and how God is.” He said.
Rev Prof Mante maintained that the Reformation broke down the barrier of what was happening in the Catholic Church, bridged the divide between what was happening in the crowd, or the audience or the congregation, and what was happening on the platform.
“Everything goes together, and when it does that, it glorifies the Lord.”
The Theologian said the Reformation touched on numerous theological and social issues at the time, including the rise of nationalism, declining faith in the Pope and new ideas in the Renaissance that challenged the way people thought. Luther became an influential figure not only because of his theses but because of the way he spread his ideas using the printing press, which Johannes Gutenberg had just invented.
Rev Prof Mante said it was worrying that most of the things that sparkled the Reformation had returned to contemporary church today. He called on church leaders in Ghana to ensure that the main idea of the Reformation which is salvation through grace and not by works is preached at all times.
The Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev Dr Samuel Ayete-Nyampong earlier in a speech said the PCG as a church that could trace its own lineage back to the Protestant Reformation that Luther helped launched, determined to give significant attention to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year.
He said although, the Reformation, as a historical event, has taken place 500 years ago, the church of God always in need of reformation.
“My prayer for us, as a church, is that we would continually return to the light of Scripture as we reform our doctrine, our worship, and our lives according to the Word of God. May our celebration of this anniversary not merely be a time of remembering a fabled “Golden Age” of the church; may it instead be a time when our own hearts are quickened to pursue Christ in a deeper and richer way than we have done in the past as we make use of the resources our mothers and fathers in the faith have passed down to us”.
The Presbyterian Church of Ghana was established by the Basel Missionaries from the Switzerland who arrived at Osu on 18th December 1828.
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