October 31, 1517 was a crucial day in Christian history. That day, an Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Other people and events contributed to the Reformation, but Luther’s action was decisive. He intended to begin a debate about the Roman Catholic Church’s fundraising method—selling indulgences. He sparked an unintended firestorm instead.
Out of the firestorm came the Protestant Reformation’s 5 Solas. Sola Scriptura (Only Scripture) was the foundational truth. Scripture alone is the final authority for what an individual and the church should believe and practice. Even the Pope, Church Councils, and Church traditions must yield to the Bible’s authority. Sola Scriptura was a radical idea in Luther’s day.
Flowing from Sola Scriptura, the Reformers boldly declared salvation is by Sola Gratia (Only Grace), received by Sola Fide (Only Faith). Further, they preached Sola Christus (Only Christ) is Lord, Savior, and King, and we can live for Sola Deo Gloria (Only God’s Glory).
Anabaptists agreed and carried the argument further. Several Anabaptists gave their lives defending the Scriptural truth: only believers may be baptized (infant baptism is not Biblical baptism); only believers are a part of the church. When persecution came from the Catholic Church, and even from other Reformers, Anabaptists refused to recant unless convinced by Scripture.
On October 31, 1517, the church-world desperately needed a reformation. Luther was compelled to act in spite of the risks. He feared God more than man.
In October, eight years ago, I too faced a decision. The entire month, I struggled with the Lord’s call to start Northeastern Baptist College. I contemplated the inevitable challenges and calculated my inadequacies for the assignment. “Lord,” I said, “find someone who is better equipped for the job. Find someone with connections to people who have influence and money. Here am I, Lord. Send someone else.”
On October 28, 2009, I couldn’t postpone my decision any longer. I sat on a bench in Northfield, MA. My son Benjamin sat beside me. As I prayed, explaining to the Lord why I couldn’t do it, He convicted me to act. I must step out in faith. I must trust Him to guide and provide each step of the way.
Now, eight years later, Northeastern Baptist College is a reality. We are thankful for all God has done, but we have only begun to impact the Northeast with the gospel. Once again, He is calling us to act.
Our student housing is full. Our faculty and staff offices are full. Present space will choke future growth. Therefore, God has called us to move forward with a bold vision: Forming the Framework for the Future. Two of the twelve milestones along our path to victory are (1) purchasing a property, and (2) preparing it to meet NEBC’s anticipated growth in the fall of 2018. Our present resources are inadequate, but our God is able. We trust Him to lead His people to act, giving $5,000,000 by the end of 2017.
October 31, 2017. Tomorrow we will celebrate Martin Luther’s actions. We will remember the 5 Solas. The Reformers and Anabaptists believed God’s Word, heard God’s call, and acted in faith. We are benefiting 500 years later. As we celebrate their willingness to act, will you follow their example?
October 31, 2017. Will you act? Pray for the Lord to provide $5,000,000 for NEBC’s continued growth and gospel impact. Will you act? Give whatever the Lord leads you to give. Will you act? Come help us remodel the property—work will begin early in 2018. Will you act? Tell others what God is doing in and through NEBC.
October 31, 2017. Many will celebrate Halloween. Many Christians will celebrate Reformation Day. Would you celebrate with me by helping Northeastern Baptist College prepare leaders for a new reformation in the Northeast?
October 31, 2017 can be a crucial day in Northeastern history.
Please join us in prayer. This week, for Sola Deo Gloria, lift the FORMING THE FRAMEWORK for the FUTURE requests before the Father.
|Praise the Lord for Who He is.||Ask the Father to lead 100 people to give $100 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to impress 10 people to give $1,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to call 4 people to give $10,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to direct 2 people to give $50,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to motivate 2 people to give $250,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to inspire 1 person to give $1,000,000 above his or her normal gifts.|
|Praise the Lord for All He has done, and All He is going to do.||Ask the Father to call 20 people to give $500 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to motivate 6 people to give $5,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to impress 4 people who will give $25,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to lead 2 people to give $100,000 above their normal gifts.||Ask the Father to enable 1 person to give $500,000 above his or her normal gifts.||Ask the Father to direct 1 obedient, able person to give $2,500,000 above his or her normal gifts.|
With Great Anticipation,
Mark H. Ballard