Follow Christ, Lead the Way
Martin Luther - Reformation's 500th Anniversary

By Prof. Ben Williamson

One is tempted to ask what has Wittenberg to do with Circleville? The answer is Wittenberg’s impact on the spiritual ancestors of the American Holiness Movement cannot be overstated. Discoveries made by Luther that led to the moment on October 31, 1517, when he nailed his “95 Theses” to the Wittenberg Chapel door had a profound effect upon John Wesley.  All Wesleyans are children of the Reformation.

The three great hallmarks of Reformation theology are: Salvation by grace through faith alone, Sola Scriptura (scripture alone), and the priesthood of all believers. Today, these words might spark more of a sense of nostalgia than feelings of revolution, but as Tolkien warns us in The Lord of the Rings, “And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became Legend. Legend became myth.” We should not forget the true revolutionary nature of what Luther did that day. To do so is to our detriment.

First, the doctrine of salvation by Grace through faith alone that Luther rediscovered has a direct connection to John Wesley’s “Aldersgate Experience” when his heart was “strangely warmed”.  The society he was attending was studying Luther’s preface to his commentary on the Book of Romans.  Wesley connected in a profound way with Luther’s words, and that moment changed the course of history.

The second hallmark of Protestantism is also a hallmark among those who stand in the spiritual lineage of Wesley. Wesley, with Luther, valued scripture above all other books.  That is not to suggest he devalued tradition.  In fact, he celebrated the Lord’s Supper so often he was accused of being a closet papist!  He read and actively defended the writings of the Church fathers.  However, for Wesley all “tradition” must be judged by scripture and not the other way around.  In the sixteenth-century, Luther’s assertion on this point sparked a revolution.

The Bible was placed in the hands of the common person.  The most important result was the direct experience with divine revelation that this afforded. However, it also put limits upon what Church authorities could command on the basis of “tradition”.  This accelerated the growth of Protestantism and, of course, defections from the Catholic Church.

Finally, the “priesthood of all believers” began to diminish the divide between clergy and laity. However, it also enabled lay Christians to approach God in search of grace without going through a priest.  This idea, initiated by Luther, enabled Wesley’s eventual, at first reluctant, use of lay preachers.  These lay preachers were primarily responsible for the explosive growth of Methodism in Britain and its colonies after 1750.

As we come to this landmark anniversary, all Protestants should share in celebration of God’s intervention in heart of Martin Luther and the ripple effects that continue to be felt by us all.

Articles of Interest

Reminder - file FASFA

File the FAFSA in just 22 minutes

Reminder - file FASFA

Published: February 3, 2021

Filing the FAFSA isn’t as complicated or time-consuming as it seems – you only need about 6 documents and 22 minutes! In the time it takes you to catch up on your social media feed, you can take the critical first step in getting the money you need to attend college. Here’s a checklist of everything you need: An FSA ID. Your FSA ID allows you to log in to your account, sign the FAFSA and make changes or add schools. You and your parent must create separate FSA IDs. Create this first! You and your parent’s Social Security or Alien Registration number. Here’s what to do if your
Filing the FAFSA isn’t as complicated or time-consuming as it seems – you only need about 6 documents and 22 minutes! In the time it takes you to catch up on your social media feed, you can take the critical first step in getting the money you need to attend college. Here’s a checklist of everything you need: An FSA ID. Your FSA ID allows you to log in to your account, sign the FAFSA and
Filing the FAFSA isn’t as complicated or time-consuming as it seems – you only need about 6 documents and 22 minutes! In the time it takes you to catch up on your social media feed, you can take

Archived Articles of Interest

Detty Chapel in fall at Ohio Christian University's main campus in Circleville, Ohio.

Importance of a Christian Education

Detty Chapel in fall at Ohio Christian University's main campus in Circleville, Ohio.

Published: November 8, 2016

A college or university education is more than just learning information. There is no neutral, nonformative education (i.e., there is no such thing as a “secular” education). Colleges and universities are forming students into something. The question is: what? Education is formative in that not only does it impact the mind but also the heart. All the practices of a college or university form the imagination and hearts of its students—whether designed or not. If drinking and partying are accepted and even expected to “fit in,” then many students will succumb to their callings. It may
A college or university education is more than just learning information. There is no neutral, nonformative education (i.e., there is no such thing as a “secular” education). Colleges and universities are forming students into something. The question is: what? Education is formative in that not only does it impact the mind but also the heart. All the practices of a college or university form
A college or university education is more than just learning information. There is no neutral, nonformative education (i.e., there is no such thing as a “secular” education). Colleges and
OCU Student Finds Hope Through Classmates image

OCU Student Finds Hope Through Classmates

OCU Student Finds Hope Through Classmates image

Published: October 17, 2016

By Krista Williams In a time where our country and humanity is living in a great amount of fear, being at OCU gives me so much hope. I find peace in being here as I look around the classrooms- I see the future. I sit and look at all of the hardworking students and how each one of them has a divine purpose they are preparing for. A purpose given specially to them because of their skills and abilities. A purpose given to them because our King knows what He is doing. I sit in a class of 20 people and think, "there are 20 world changers right here." It amazes me to think what we, as
By Krista Williams In a time where our country and humanity is living in a great amount of fear, being at OCU gives me so much hope. I find peace in being here as I look around the classrooms- I see the future. I sit and look at all of the hardworking students and how each one of them has a divine purpose they are preparing for. A purpose given specially to them because of their skills and
By Krista Williams In a time where our country and humanity is living in a great amount of fear, being at OCU gives me so much hope. I find peace in being here as I look around the classrooms- I
OCU to Host FAFSA Workshop on Oct. 8th image

OCU to Host FAFSA Workshop on Oct. 8th

OCU to Host FAFSA Workshop on Oct. 8th image

Published: October 3, 2016

By Amanda Plotts, Staff Reporter for the Circleville Herald   Future college students who need help navigating the financial aid system are encouraged to attend FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Day, a financial aid workshop sponsored by Pickaway HELPS (Higher Education Learning Partners for Students) and Ohio Christian University (OCU). The workshop is free and will take place on Oct. 8 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at OCU’s Maxwell Center. Professional financial counselors will be available to give individual help, answer questions, and assist with the online
By Amanda Plotts, Staff Reporter for the Circleville Herald   Future college students who need help navigating the financial aid system are encouraged to attend FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Day, a financial aid workshop sponsored by Pickaway HELPS (Higher Education Learning Partners for Students) and Ohio Christian University (OCU). The workshop is free and will
By Amanda Plotts, Staff Reporter for the Circleville Herald   Future college students who need help navigating the financial aid system are encouraged to attend FAFSA (Free Application for
Is college preparation worth it? A teen's perspective. image

Is college preparation worth it? A teen's perspective.

Is college preparation worth it? A teen's perspective. image

Published: September 15, 2016

By Jordyn Williams (pictured) In the years approaching college, the weight of the world is on us teens. Our stress is magnified as the expectations for college readiness intensifies. Our days grow longer and our nights shorten as we return home from a seven hour day of school only to spend additional hours studying and completing homework for multiple AP and honors classes. We wake up early the next morning to repeat the cycle. Work-free weekends are infrequent when they have become filled with youth leadership group gatherings, club meetings, community service, and SAT/ACT prep. The
By Jordyn Williams (pictured) In the years approaching college, the weight of the world is on us teens. Our stress is magnified as the expectations for college readiness intensifies. Our days grow longer and our nights shorten as we return home from a seven hour day of school only to spend additional hours studying and completing homework for multiple AP and honors classes. We wake up early
By Jordyn Williams (pictured) In the years approaching college, the weight of the world is on us teens. Our stress is magnified as the expectations for college readiness intensifies. Our days grow
OCU Graduates Celebrate Commencement at the Morning Ceremony

Record 810 Graduates Celebrate Commencement

OCU Graduates Celebrate Commencement at the Morning Ceremony

Published: May 26, 2016

On Saturday, April 30, 2016, Ohio Christian University held its 66th Commencement Ceremonies at the university’s main campus in Circleville, Ohio. A record 810 associate, bachelor, and master level graduates participated a total of four ceremonies: three in Ohio and one in Georgia earlier this month. Kelvin J. Cochran of Atlanta, Georgia, was the 2016 Commencement speaker. Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Cochran followed his childhood dream and became a firefighter in 1981. Working his way through the ranks, he was appointed Fire Chief of the Shreveport Fire Department in 1999
On Saturday, April 30, 2016, Ohio Christian University held its 66th Commencement Ceremonies at the university’s main campus in Circleville, Ohio. A record 810 associate, bachelor, and master level graduates participated a total of four ceremonies: three in Ohio and one in Georgia earlier this month. Kelvin J. Cochran of Atlanta, Georgia, was the 2016 Commencement speaker. Originally from
On Saturday, April 30, 2016, Ohio Christian University held its 66th Commencement Ceremonies at the university’s main campus in Circleville, Ohio. A record 810 associate, bachelor, and master level