Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Martin Luther + Reformation Sunday

Martin Luther by Daryn Kinney

This coming Sunday, the last Sunday in October, is known as Reformation Sunday, the day noted and remembered as the start of the Protestant Reformation.

It was October 31st, 1517 in Wittenberg, Germany. Martin, a young Christian scholar, grasped a hammer and a long piece of paper covered with his writing. He walked out into the street and straight over to the church door. It was here that community messages were often posted. Martin nailed his 95 points of discussion on the door. He only wanted to lay out his newly discovered views of the Bible to other church leaders in the Medieval Catholic church. He thought he was free to do so, after all, he was an Augustinian monk and a professor of theology.

Martin Luther called himself a “stinking bag of maggots” and “a beggar;” he certainly did not dream of being a leader in a revolution of theological thinking in Germany and across Europe that would ultimately shape the rest of history. But God had determined something far bigger than the monk Martin Luther expected when he penned those 95 Theses.

Without his knowledge someone printed his words on the newly invented Gutenberg Press, distributing it all over Germany. Within a very few days, Martin found that he was the subject of everyone’s thoughts. In cathedrals and castles, in pubs and cottages—virtually everyone in Germany was talking about the views of Luther. The Protestant Reformation had begun!

Just what was the Protestant Reformation all about? What did Luther, and other Reformers, protest?

The protesters were seeing something new (i.e., new to them) about how a person is accepted by God and included into the plan of redemption. They protested that the church had been teaching the wrong view about the most important issue of life. They discovered that the Bible says we are not accepted on the basis of our religious deeds, or even our good deeds along with our faith, but that we are accepted before a holy God only through faith in Christ.

“Through faith alone in Christ alone” began to be heard all over Europe. The people must transfer their confidence for salvation in the church’s religious traditions to Christ alone. The reformers wanted the people to return to the Bible’s plain teaching on how to be a true Christian. Many of the Reformers would be persecuted because of their views and some even killed. But through it all, tens of thousands of people were converted to Christ and were assured of their gracious inclusion into the family of God through faith alone, in Christ alone, and it was all by God’s grace alone.

We have been feeling the effects of the Protestant Reformation ever since.

Some Great Quotes from the Writings and Lectures of Martin Luther:

All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.” 
“Be thou comforted, little dog, thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail.” 

"Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God's grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace." ~ Luther's An Introduction to St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 
"We are all ministers of the Gospel. Some of us just happen to be the clergymen."
“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” 
“... Besides, the Word is the principal part of baptism. If in an emergency there’s no water at hand, it doesn’t matter whether water or beer is used.” ~ "Prenatal Baptisms Are Ridiculed," Table Talk No. 394 
“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.” 

"We are all beggars. This is true." ~ "The Last Written Words of Luther," Table Talk No. 5468

Some Martin Luther  and Reformation Day Resources:

Martin Luther 
    Like Martin Luther, we too may come by faith alone into the forgiveness and renewal found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

    Happy Reformation Day!

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