“Reformation Day Recalls Principles of Protestantism.” The Knoxville News-Sentinel [Tennessee] 25 Oct. 1958, sec, 1:2,
Reformation Day Recalls Principles of Protestantism
Principles of the Reformation, still an integral part of Protestantism, and present-day effects of the Reformation are set forth in a Reformation Day article prepared by the Knox County Presbyterian Ministers Association, representing all Presbyterian Branches.
The statement was written by the Rev Floyd Doud Shafer, Fourth Presbyterian Church, with the cooperation of Dr. A. E. Dallas, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, and Dr. E. K. Reagin, First Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Began in 1517
“Protestantism, a dominant force in Western civilization for more than 400 years, began on October 31, 1517, when a young Augustinian monk named Martin Luther posted on the doors of the Castle Church, in Wittenberg, Germany, 95 theses, or arguments, against the sale of indulgences and other abuses of the church of his day.”
“There are certain easily recognized distinguishing marks of the Protestant way of life. Protestantism has popularized the Bible, promoted Biblical research, and made the Bible an all-time best-seller. Protestantism has promoted the missionary enterprise and each year raises millions of dollars to build hospitals, found schools and operate churches around the world.”
The statement praises “the colorful evangelistic campaigns, so characteristic of American Protestantism.” It says they “have made religion a living experience for millions. Protestantism thrives on lay leadership. In predominantly Protestant countries, Protestantism acts as the conscience of society and government and is always ready to make its voice heard on social and political issues.
Pulpit Is Symbol
“Protestantism creates the atmosphere of inquiry, open debate, free speech, unhampered investigation and experiment, individual decision and corporate action; champions law and order; upholds the rule of majorities yet seeks to safeguard the rights of minorities.”
“Protestantism’s most obvious symbol is the pulpit through which the church interprets the Word of God, opposes iniquity, challenges to repentance, proclaims the grace of forgiveness, calls for justice, encourages tolerance, appeals for righteousness, pleads for the poor, the afflicted, the sick, the tempted and the fallen….”
Writing of the work of the Reformers, Mr. Shafer credited them with originating the public school system. “For example, a Presbyterian Minister, the Rev. Samuel Carrick, founded Blount College in 1794, which became East Tennessee College in 1807 and is now the University of Tennessee.”
“Today in truly Protestant churches, the Reformation continues wherever the Bible is understood as God’s word to man, is preached and read and its principles put into positive action; whenever persons rightly understand their mutual responsibility for each other’s welfare in every realm of life; wherever protest is made against Fascism in church or state; wherever righteousness is sought from Almighty God and not from social custom or group acceptance.”
“Protestantism reveres its history and celebrates its origin. Now it goes ahead with the ever-difficult task of making the Reformation continue by seeking newer and deeper meanings of the Gospel for men and societies in the atomic age.”