WHEN IT BEGAN
How often we think about when something had it’s beginning. We know from the Bible that “in the beginning God created.” We read fairy tales that tell us, “a long time ago in a faraway place.” We gather up history of our favorite celebrity, sports hero or superstar and are interested in where it all began. I had a teacher who said he knew exactly when another teacher’s children were conceived! Both of his kids were born 9 months after New Year’s Eve! Pondering the “beginning” of life and events and things can help us in knowing why people are a certain way or why life is the way it is.
On October 31, 1517 the Lutheran Church was conceived! A weary and questioning monk named Martin Luther took some paper with questions and concerns he wanted to discuss with the leading professors and church leaders. It was not meant for the general public, but brought out some items that were stated by the Roman Catholic Church and not proven or supported by the Holy Scriptures. This inquisitive and questioning monk nailed this paper with 95 areas of concern to the Castle Church door, as it was the public bulletin board. Since the next day was a major festival for the church, All Saints Day, he knew the people who needed to read it would be there. They didn’t have phones, our email, or texting, or twittering or facebook to rely on. When it was posted, it was quickly copied, translated into German and taken to the printing press. Before long the 95 Theses were being read, discussed, debated and criticized in much of Germany.
The major concern centered on how a person can be assured of God’s love, grace and salvation, all vital truths of the Bible and the Messiah. During this time a great emphasis was being placed on being able to “buy forgiveness of sins,” being able to do “good works to be saved,” and trusting in the Pope as the one who people were to believe in. Besides this a major building project was taking place in Rome that needed funding from the German people, although they didn’t see a need for this outside of Germany. The oppression of God’s people at the hands of the Christian Church had come to overflowing. When Martin Luther asked some good questions, those who heard it were also waiting for a good answer. Instead of supplying a response, the Catholic Church tried to silence the monk and keep the people under control.
By God’s grace and mercy, the conception of the Lutheran Church took place and a new life was beginning to grow. The more the Truth of the Bible was proclaimed, the more hope and power was found in the hearts of Christian people. We are blessed to celebrate this heritage and “beginning” as a Church. To stand for the teachings and doctrines of the Bible is our strength and our joy. The 3 “solas” of the Reformation heritage remain our “birthright” today: Scripture Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone! Because of God’s commitment to His Church, he directed Martin Luther and other reformers to get back to what the Bible said and to proclaim “we are saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ!”
As the life of Christianity has changed dramatically and is being altered by a variety of interpretations, practices and theologies, we as true Lutherans will celebrate our spiritual conception and life as it began on October 31, 1517 to the birth of Lutheranism on June 25, 1530 in the reading of the Augsburg Confession, to this very day for St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Truth will set us free!
Blessings to all children of the Reformation,
Pastor Greg Hoffmann ( + Colossians 2:2 + )
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