Most people are familiar with the Reformation. We have recently passed the anniversary of Martin Luther’s bold act of nailing ninety five theses to the door of the University Chapel in Wittenberg. What is not so well known is that all over Europe a group of reformers clamored for a complete reformation and return to a biblical model of Christianity. They called for a regenerate church who knew and understood the New Birth. They insisted that believer’s baptism was the biblical model. They had no patience with centralized control of churches, but had varying ideas about local autonomy. They not only believed the bible, but believed that it contained a model for the form and function of the church. It was out of this Radical Reformation that Baptists eventually arose. Many of these ideas had been shared through the centuries but were suppressed by a church reinforced by the state. Thousands upon thousands were put to death for daring to challenge the establishment. Even during the Radical Reformation thousands died through persecution and religious wars. Some would say that this was all unnecessary. Anyone would hope that freedom of conscience would be allowed at any time and in any place. However, tyrants cannot endure the idea that people should be able to think for themselves. This is true in governments and it is also true in churches. One of my modern heroes has a saying he often invokes. He is Ravi Zacharias, and his saying is “Let my people think.”
Amen and amen!
Dan Wooldridge

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