Reformation Day: The Other October 31

Every year on October 31, people everywhere celebrate the day we call Halloween. Costumes and candy are staples in the tradition. For Christians, the day has another meaning, especially this year. 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of what we know as the Protestant Reformation. An event that lasted for somewhere between 38 and 131 years depending on which historian you ask. Not only did it reform the church by kicking off the Protestant movement, but it also sparked a literacy revolution that would change the world for believers and non-believers alike.

It all started on October 31, 1517, when a Catholic monk named Martin Luther posted a list of “95 Theses” on the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church in Germany on. 95 things with which he had come to take issue, and saw as corruption in the Catholic church. Now, we won’t list them all here, but the gist is that the church, under Pope Leo X, was in the practice of selling indulgences; a means to lessen the time spent in purgatory atoning for sins committed while on Earth. People were told that they could pay money to get themselves, or a loved one out of the place of torment. Most commoners of the day neither had access to, nor the ability to read the Bible, so they were left to take the word of their spiritual leaders, which was the way said leaders liked it.

Dr. Luther being an outspoken teacher, made his list of 95 theses about why this was wrong and stuck them to the door of the biggest church around. Sometimes we hear this talked about as some great act of defiance. It was actually common practice to post grievances, or theses, in such a manner to invite conversation or debate about them. In fact, Luther had posted a list of 97 theses a month before, that drew virtually no response. The difference between 97 in September and the 95 of October was that the latter addressed the Pope or the head of the Catholic Church as the root of the problem. Luther didn’t intend to break off from the church, and he certainly didn’t intend to start the Protestant Reformation. His goal was to facilitate a discussion about the things the church was doing which he felt contradicted the Word of God and improve the state of the church. Instead, he was declared a heretic in 1521 at the Diet of Worms (pronounced Vurms). He was made an outlaw, and they forbid anyone from helping him escape punishment. Luther fled, and spent the rest of his life in opposition to the pope and the Catholic Church.

Here’s where the world-changing starts.  The printing press was invented 67 years earlier in 1450. Once he had been ostracized from the Catholic church, Luther and an Englishman named William Tyndale began to take advantage of the technology, using it to print the Bible for commoners along with multiple other works. Tyndale was fluent in eight languages, making the Bible available in all of them. Not only did it spread Gods word to the masses, but it also spurred the common man to literacy.

So what does all this add up to? Well we, the common man, can read the Bible for ourselves. We don’t have to take the word of the man who stands up and addresses the congregation every Sunday as fact, nor should we. Through the Protestant Reformation, we learned that we can and should question our spiritual leaders. If we see that their message is contradictory to God’s Word, we should call them on it.  Just to be clear: No, I don’t believe people go to Hell for being Catholic. Being Catholic doesn’t send anyone to Hell any more than being a Baptist will send one to Heaven. One’s relationship with Jesus Christ is what determines that. The point here is that because of one man reading the Bible, and sharing what he learned with others, we have a liberty that people were not allowed before October 31, 1517, and we should take advantage of it. That is something that believers, both Catholic and Protestant should celebrate.

Rome Area FCA Hosts ‘Fields of Faith 2018’

Wednesday night at Barron Stadium, Rome area Fellowship of Christian Athletes hosted “Fields of Faith 2018”.

Fields of Faith is a student-led event that features live music and speakers who share their personal testimony, or a message from God. The event was kicked off by Shorter University student and football player Devin Wallace, who warmed up the crowd on a cool fall evening in downtown Rome. Wallace put on a high energy show using his brand of rap music but reminded those in attendance of the reason for the event.

“We can have rap battles and dance contests, but it doesn’t mean anything unless we bring God into it, and he gets all the glory,” said Wallace.

Pepperell High senior Gracie Hall, and Model High junior Micah Veillon, each shared their personal testimony with the audience.

The worship band from Hollywood Baptist Church provided more music before Shorter University student and football player Nehemiah “Nemo” Reddish closed out the event with a powerful message about how God was there for him through his darkest time.

“Even at the worst moment of my life, God told me, ‘I chose you for a time such as this. I got you. I’m going to get you through it,’” said Reddish. “That’s what you need to know tonight. No matter how far you think you are away from God, he’s always with you.” he continued.

Shorter University head football coach Zach Morrison was also on hand. He said that the Hawks football team changed the time of their practice so Wallace and Reddish could make it to the event.

“When we heard about the opportunity these guys had to be here tonight, we wanted to do whatever it took to make it happen,” said Morrison. “So we started practice about 15 or 20 minutes early so they would be done in time to get here,” he continued.

Rome Area FCA director Kent Howard was pleased with how the evening went.

“We’re so happy the rain held off, and we were able to go on as planned,” said Howard. “God showed up and showed out tonight. The music was great, and all of the speakers were on point. God did some awesome stuff tonight.”

This was the third year for Fields of Faith in Floyd County. Each year growing and improving. “I was praying about this three years ago, and I knew we needed to do it, and do it with excellence,” said Howard. “This was the first year that I just stepped back and gave it to God, and I feel like it was the best one yet.”

For more information on Rome Area Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visit or their Facebook page

Prayer Warriors Make ‘An Appeal To Heaven’ at Concert of Prayer

Randy Smith waves a “Pine Tree Flag”
at the Concert of Prayer

On Tuesday night a group of believers gathered at the Admiral John Towers Memorial Plaza on Broad Street in downtown Rome to make their petitions known to God. “A Concert of Prayer” was sponsored by the Rome Tea Party and the theme of the event was “An Appeal To Heaven.” The phrase is borrowed from what is known as the Pine Tree Flag, which was flown on six ships that were part of the Continental Navy under General George Washington. The idea was that the colonials could no longer trust their government, so they had to appeal to a higher one: The government of Heaven.

The event was kicked off by the pledge of allegiance, led by event coordinator Randy Smith. “We are blessed to be citizens of the greatest country on earth, the United States of America,” said Smith. “But more importantly, we’re blessed to be citizens of God’s kingdom,” Smith Continued. With that in mind, a procession of 10 “prayer warriors” each took their turn at the microphone offering their appeal to heaven. They asked for things like blessings upon our political leaders, revival, and unity in our nation. The evening was closed out by Hollywood Baptist Church worship leaders Brent Bailey and Evan Roden, who lead the group in several songs.

The Concert of Prayer spanned all walks of life. Both young and old took part in the event. Multiple dominations were represented. There were pastors, church laypeople, and other ministry leaders. Keynote speaker Cliff Burnham said, “We come from all over. We work at different places, go to different churches, live in different neighborhoods, but what we have in common is that we are all united under the banner of Christ.”

In its 4th year, the event aims to united believers in prayer, and inspire them to go out and make a difference for God in our community.