A quiz question: What are 74 million Lutherans around the world celebrating this year?
The answer: 500 years ago, Martin Luther started a major “Reformation” of the medieval Church by posting 95 “Theses,” or debate points, about unbiblical church practices.
The tipping point that led this scholarly but lowly monk to stand up against the powerful Church in Rome was when the representatives of the Pope started selling “indulgences” – a strategy to raise money for the cathedral in Rome by convincing believers they could spring their loved ones from purgatory – a place for purging one’s sins after death.
Lutherans and other Protestant churches -- and the Catholic Church -- are celebrating the central truth of the Reformation: that we are saved not through our works, but by accepting through faith God’s gift of grace in Jesus Christ.
Luther’s careful reading of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians opened his eyes to this religious truth. In sermons and printed pamphlets, using the mass media of his day, Luther publically criticized the Pope. That brought swift condemnation and a heresy trial.
Facing officials of the Papacy and Emperor Charles V, Luther boldly asserted that, unless he could be shown where his interpretation of Scripture was wrong, he could not recant. “Here I stand; I can do no other,” was Luther’s bold statement of faith.
A question for me is, where do I take a stand today that boldly proclaims a truth about a wrong or unjust practice in our culture? What stand would you take?
I’m Connie Seraphine, and that is my perspective.