My contention is that the Reformation, warts and all, was one of the greatest “moments” in human history. It brought to the foreground a Scriptural doctrine (“justification by faith alone”) that had been forgotten and buried for centuries. A lot of other things happened as well, but on balance, it was a great moment of freedom in human history.
Skeptics will say that the Reformation also caused divisions and wars of religion. But from my reading, I get the impression that it was Rome that started the wars of religion, because their own ideas failed against the force of the thinking that came out of the Reformation. Rome could not contend, idea for idea, theology for theology, doctrine for doctrine, with the Reformation. It was doomed to fail, and so it resorted to the casuistry of the Jesuits, and then to violence for its own survival.
The good news is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God in flesh, came to save sinners, and his work did, in fact, save sinners. That is the message of the Reformation. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Virtually the entire history of the Roman church is to try to insert itself as the mediator between God and man. This is entirely unscriptural.
In our day, then, when facts can easily be checked, and the Roman church does not have recourse to armies, it seems to me that the ideas, theologies and doctrines of the Reformation can and will make a tremendous amount of sense to the people of our day. We should not hesitate to state them clearly.
Soli Deo Gloria.