Celebrating The Reformation

October 13, 2014 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

Happy Reformation Day! 497 years ago, Martin Luther boldly nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the chapel door in Wittenberg Germany, outwardly condemning both the selling of indulgences and the Catholic Church as a whole. Little did he know that this would spark, arguably, the most influential event in church history since the Apostolic Age and forever change the church of the future.As a tribute to Luther’s legacy and in honor of this special day, here is a brief history of the events surrounding Martin Luther’s involvement in the Protestant Reformation.
In the 16th Century, a law student by the name of Martin Luther experienced a close encounter with death, being nearly struck by lightning. After this near death experience, Luther, in an effort to repay God for sparing his life, left law school and became a monk.
For years, Luther dedicated himself to monasticism. He spent long hours in prayer and confession, but still felt far from God. It wasn’t until he was pointed away from continual focus on his sin, but on the imputed righteousness of Christ. Luther began to feel less guilt for his sin, and recognized that man is saved by faith alone.
In 1512, Luther left the monastery and went to teach theology at the University of Wittenberg, where his old friend Johann von Staupitz was the dean. It was here that Luther started to question a lot of what the Catholic church taught about salvation.
By October 31st, 1517, Luther had finally had enough. In an act of spite, he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg Germany. In this document, Luther criticized the current practices of the church at that time, most significantly the selling of indulgences.
Luther had written his theses in Latin, desiring more of an intellectual discussion with others in academia, but in January of 1518, some of Luther’s friends translated his Theses from Latin into German and printed mass copies of the document, then sent it out. Within only a few weeks, Luther’s Theses had spread all throughout Germany. After only two months, Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses had spread throughout all of Europe.Eventually, word spread to the Pope about what Luther had written, and on June 15th, 1520 he warned Luther of excommunication with the papal bull. Luther, in response, publicly burned the papal bull in defiance of the Pope.

In the year 1521, Luther appeared before the Diet of Worms, an assembly that was conducted over a period of time for approximately four months.

On April 18th, 1517, when asked to recant his writings, Martin Luther gave this quiet but famous response:

 “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason, for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they often err and contradict themselves, I am bound to the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand. May God help me. Amen.”
Luther had refused to recant. Over the next five days, a series of meetings was held to determine Luther’s fate. On May 25th, the Emperor declared Luther an outlaw and demanded his arrest and punishment as a heretic of the church.Even that couldn’t stop Luther. By the help of his friend Frederick III, he fled Wittenberg and went on to continue to write and even translate the Bible into German so that everyone, from the clergy all the way to the common man, could read the Bible.Martin Luther was a remarkable man, used by God to restore Biblical truth to the church. If not for Luther, the church as we know it today would be very different. Let us celebrate this day and remember just how important the Protestant Reformation was then and still is today!

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