THE MADNESS OF LUTHER THE REFORMER
“Be a sinner and sin boldly…but more strongly…have faith and rejoice in Christ.”Dr. Martin Luther
Welcome to the Ultimate Thanksgiving Feast of All Time
“…In Jerusalem, the Lord of the heavenly host
will spread a wonderful feast for all the peopleof the world…it will be a delicious banquet withclear, well-aged wine and choice meat…therehe will remove the cloud of doom, the shadowof death that hangs over the earth…He willswallow up death forever…the Sovereign Lordwill wipe away all tears…He will remove foreverall insults and mockery against His land andpeople…The Lord has spoken…” (Isaiah 25:6-8)
The Lord is a strong warrior.
“…Who is the King of Glory? The Lord, strongand mighty…the Lord, invincible in battle…”(Psalm 24:8)
We’ll all have a grand time in our heavenly home.
“…He will wipe every ear from their eyes, andthere will be no more death or sorrow or cryingor pain…all these things are gone forever…”(Revelation 21:1-6a)
Raising folks from the dead — no big thing for Jesus.
“…and the dead man came forth, his hands andfeet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped ina headcloth…Jesus told them, “Unwrap him andsend him on his way…”(John 11:32-44)
…some quotations from the faith tradition…“…the normal Christian walk is two steps forwardand one back…two steps forward and one back…”(The Rev. Billy Graham)
“…you should not believe your conscience andyour feelings more than the Word which theLord who receives sinners preaches to you…”(Dr. Martin Luther)
“…those who look for the bad in peoplewill surely find it…”(President Abraham Lincoln)
“…a person believes as a tree bears apples…”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“…if, then, the light within you is darkness…how profound is that darkness…”(Jesus Christ)
Sometimes I wonder, as I wander mentally, tofind direction for a message that has somesubstance to it. I’m still basking in the positiveexperience our district had during the “retreat”of October 15-17, 2021. I’ll always rememberit as a terrific, great experience. Just this pastpast Sunday the world recognized Halloween,(i.e., “All Hallows Eve”), but we Lutherans always consider this day to be “Reformation Day”,October 31st. On this day Dr. Martin Luthersupposedly nailed a manuscript containing thechallenge to the “organized church” in 95 thesesfor debate. He didn’t intend this action to beanything out of the ordinary—it was quite common at the time—but it caused great and immediateinterest, excitement and, yes, outrage in the entireChristian world. What it did eventually was basicallycause dynamic change in the known world of thetime and pull the western world into a entirely new, explosive time, the Age of Reformation, followedby the Enlightenment. We’d never be the same.
I’d like to make clear that, unlike the assumptionsof all too many people, Lutherans do not regardor revere Martin Luther as an object of worship.I get this a lot while making my weekly rounds.The King family were avid fans of Luther’s works.
Furthermore, Lutherans have not been named afterDr. Martin Luther King, Jr., although the King familyhas had high regard for the legacy of Martin Luther through the years and they named their sons for at least two generations after him.
Dr. Martin Luther was a professor at WittenbergUniversity in Germany. He nailed the 95 Thesesto the church door in 1517. He was definitely aman of his age, not a 21st-century person, andyet his works still greatly inspire women and menof our time and draw them into insightful and veryprovocative thinking regarding the Scriptures. Asense of sadness comes over me to think that theHoly Roman Empire and the Church allowed himto remain a heretic and outlaw until his death.
The Church of Luther’s time had come into a verydark, forbidding place. Once Luther had began tostudy the Old and New Testament he discoveredthat the church had gotten totally off-track in termsof theology and practice—what the Bible taughtabout God—and our response to God.
What got Martin upset was, initially, being concernedabout the fact that his parishioners were not comingin for Confession any more. He addressed a few ofhis regulars with the comment, “…haven’t seen youfor Confession lately…are you doing okay…?” Theresponse really got him mad, “Father, we don’t needto go to Confession any more. We’ve purchased theseIndulgences from John Tetzel, so, from now on, wedon’t need to make our Confession anymore.” Thatdid it for Luther. It was time to argue and debatethe issue of the sale of Indulgences and a lot more.
The final result was the establishment of not only theEvangelical Church, but also, a number of off-shootdenominations. There was violence and warfare.The Christian Church became split throughout theknown world. Things happened that cause us toregret the terrible things that happened as a result of Martin Luther’s insistence on reforming the Church to bring it back to compliance with the Bible. However, he never desired anything other than reform, and adherence to the Scriptures. He was, as mentioned before, designated a heretic and outlaw. Church officialsrefused to be fair and open-minded about consideringLuther’s accurate and precise exegesis of Scripture.In short, Church tradition held sway over the Bible.
Lutherans are not an obscure, fringe group of the Christian Church, as one sincere person seemed to think recently as we conversed. Lutheranism, for one convert to Christianity from another faith tradition, after thorough investigation of all thevarious denominations, is the purest Christian body in terms of interpreting the Bible and practicing the faith. I’m finished for the time being of sharing something I’ve wanted to share for a long time. One point I’d like to make is the commitment in Lutheranism to “ecumenism”, inacceptance that all believers in the Christian Church as brothers and sisters in a common faith.
For scholars and pastors of all stripes I haveencountered over the years, all love the zest andstyle of Dr. Martin Luther’s writings. I get such agreat kick out of his quote mentioned above:
“Be a sinner and sin boldly, but more strongly,have faith and rejoice in Christ.”
PURE CHRISTIAN FAITH — POST-MODERN LUTHERANISM
It simply encourages me to understand that I’m an imperfect, powerless sinner, like Saint Paul (Romans 7:15-25), saved by the precious, divine blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. However—my faith, focus and trust are in His saving power. I have daily hope and assurance in Jesus. Case closed.