Monday, October 30, 2017

Martin Luther*

Martin Luther (1483—1546) is the figure most-closely identified with the Protestant Reformation. It was 500 years ago — on October 31, 1517 — that he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. It was not Luther’s intention to separate from the Catholic Church, but to draw to the attention of its leaders that some of its common teachings were contradicting what the Bible teaches.

In particular, the teaching that people could have the souls of their departed loved ones released from Purgatory through a donation to the Church, was false and undermined true faith. Luther realized that Scripture expresses, “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” (Romans 1:17)

A recent article from Christianity Today begins:
----"In the sixteenth century, the world was divided about Martin
----Luther. One Catholic thought Martin Luther was a "demon in
----the appearance of a man." Another who first questioned Luther's
----theology later declared, 'He alone is right!'

----"In our day, nearly 500 years hence, the verdict is nearly
----unanimous to the good. Both Catholics and Protestants affirm
----he was not only right about a great deal, but he changed the
----course of Western history for the better."

In other words, celebrating the anniversary of the Reformation is not to further division between Protestants and Catholics, but to remember Luther, and the other reformers, who have helped all of us in our desire to follow the truth.

Come, Holy Spirit, God and Lord

Come, Holy Spirit, God and Lord!
In your believers’ hearts be stored
The fullness of your grace and light;
Your burning love in them ignite.
O Lord, what has your radiance done!
Within the faith you’ve made as one
People and realms of ev’ry tongue!
For this, O Lord, your praises e’er be sung!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

O Holy Light, Shield Supreme!
The Word of life upon us beam
And teach us all the highest art—
To call God, “Father,” from the heart.
O Lord, keep us from falsehood free;
Let Jesus our sole master be,
That with a faith correct and right
We place our trust in him with all our might.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

O Holy Fire, Cheer so sweet!
Help us, with joy and cheer replete,
To serve you steadfast, come what may,
Nor by our trials be driven away.
O Lord, lend power for the fight,
Repress for us Old Adam’s fright,
That we as knights wage battle brave,
Press on to you in heaven through grief and grave.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about Martin Luther: first post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.