If you go

These Chattanooga events mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation:

› The Chattanooga House of Prayer is hosting a citywide prayer service at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at Tyner United Methodist Church. Admission is free.

› First Presbyterian Church is hosting a concert with Keith and Kristyn Getty, modern-day hymn writers, at Memorial Auditorium at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28. Admission is $25 for adults, $15 students, $10 children under the age of 10.

› The Bach Choir opens its 2017-2018 Barnett & Co. Cantata Series in celebration of the Reformation at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29 at Christ Church Episcopal at 663 Douglas St. Admission is $15.


Five hundred years ago, a young monk reformed the way generations of people related to God when he challenged the Catholic church.

At age 21, Martin Luther nailed 95 complaints opposing teachings of the Catholic church to the door of All Saints' Church and other churches in Wittenberg, Germany.

Luther stated that it was the Bible alone that was the ultimate spiritual authority, not the pope or the church. And he stated that people are justified with God or made right by God only through their faith in God and God's grace, not through good deeds or sacraments.

"Martin Luther shook the foundations of Christendom," according to the web site at "This act would begin what has come to be known as the Protestant Reformation."

Worshipers around the world this month will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. In Chattanooga, three events mark the anniversary; they are organized by the Chattanooga House of Prayer, First Presbyterian Church and the Bach Choir.

The celebration commemorates Oct. 31, 1517, when Martin Luther, protested perceived abuses in the Catholic church and took a stance against some of the church teachings and practices.

Because Luther refused to back down, Pope Leo X eventually excommunicated him from the church and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V condemned Luther as an outlaw. But Luther's teachings laid the foundation for Protestant religions.

"Basically most of our Protestant denominations like Presbyterian, Lutheran and Baptist are all descended from the Reformation in 1517," said Kelly Stultz, director of music and the arts at First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga.

A citywide prayer meeting on Friday, organized by Chattanooga House of Prayer, will focus on the five principles — known as solas — that rose during the Reformation to summarize theological convictions about how salvation is achieved. Hymns sung at the First Presbyterian Church event at Memorial Auditorium on Saturday will focus on each of the five solas.

The five solas and points of prayer during the service will be:

-Scripture alone — The Bible alone is the highest authority.

-Faith alone — Christians are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

-Grace alone — Christians are saved by the grace of God alone.

-Christ alone — Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior and King.

-The glory of God alone — We live for the glory of God alone.

Luther's writings were a huge event in Christianity and world history that marked the beginning of the Protestant church, said Adam Whitescaver, executive director of the Chattanooga House of Prayer.

"It didn't happen overnight. We're still experiencing aspects of that," he said.

Contact Yolanda Putman at or 423-757-6431.