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Church celebrates 500th anniversary of the Reformation

I remember learning about the day in school. The day Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on European church doors, protesting abuses within the Catholic Church and beginning the Reformation.

Oct., 31, 1517. It is a test question answer. A historical fact to memorize.

It is also the reason multiple Christian denominations exist today, the reason I am able to read and interpret the Bible, the reason having a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ" became a thing.

Hope Lutheran Church in Plant City will host events honoring the 500-year anniversary of the Reformation on Oct. 29.

At 8 and 10:30 a.m., the church will present Reformation-themed services. At 3:30 p.m., a special program featuring 12 to 15 Tampa Bay area Lutheran pastors will begin. The service will include music, celebration and teachings relevant to Martin Luther. Theology professor Reverend David Schmitt will speak.

"Martin Luther's goal was to reform the teachings of the church not in line with scripture at the time," said Dean Pfeffer, Hope Lutheran pastor. "In his day Mass was all in Latin. People in Germany where he was didn't know Latin. They would just sit and listen, going through the motions. He made it so the scriptures and hymns were translated."

Luther's actions made it possible for other denominations to develop. The printing press and other 16th century advancements allowed him and others such as John Calvin to push for change within a corrupt church.

Prior to the reformation, the majority of Christians could not even decipher the Bible.

The ability to interpret and choose to believe, versus being told what to believe, is the result of outspoken men of faith, Pfeferr said.

"Because of the Reformation, I get to live with the joy and peace of knowing the Gospel and what it says," he said. "I can read and inwardly digest God's word."

Exactly. Thanks, Martin Luther.

Hope Lutheran Church is located at 2001 N Park Road, Plant City. For more information, call (813) 752-4622.

Contact Sarah Whitman at sarahrothwhitman@tampabay.com.

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