Saturday, October 31, 2009

October 31 - Reformation Day

As the end of October draws near, I'm always reminded of God's grace and mercy to a simple monk by the name of Martin Luther and how God used him in his day--and continues to use his writings in our day--to awaken the Church to its great need for reform.

"Luther became convinced that the Church had lost sight of several of the central truths of Christianity taught in Scripture the most important of which being the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Luther began to teach that salvation is completely a gift of God's grace through Jesus received by faith." Theopedia

Naturally, Luther became deeply concerned at the practice of selling indulgences as a means to salvation. Indulgences are certificates purchased by family (a good friend of ours owns one purchased/used by his ancestors in 19th century Louisiana) that absolve individuals from the penalties of the sins they had confessed. You could purchase one for yourself or for a deceased relative reportedly in purgatory. In Luther's day, a Dominican friar, Johann Tetzel, was charged with the task of traveling around promoting and selling such indulgences to raise money for the renovation of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. He was quite successful at this and known to advertise the indulgences by chanting, "as soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs".

Luther grew more concerned with the church's departure from Scripture as well as the greed and worldiness found within it. On October 31, 1517 Luther reportedly nailed his 95 Theses on the door of Castle Church inviting open debate on the noted concerns. Read Luther's 95 Theses HERE .

And for those interested in his relationship to his wife (a former nun), Katharina von Bora, and his home life, I highly recommend you read THIS BOOK. I am particularly fond of "Kitty" Luther--we sound like kindred spirits,
"There is a lot to get used to in the first year of marriage", Luther discovered. "You wake up in the morning and find a pair of pigtails on the pillow which were not there before." The pigtails belonged to a determined young lady with a mind of her own...she had a strong sense of her own identity and worth which she would need if she was not to feel swamped and overlooked in her husband's forceful presence.

A shrinking violet would not have suited him anyway. His personality needed someone to come up against, someone who would always be herself. He called her 'My lord Katie' or on occasion pronounced her name 'Kette', German for 'chain'.

He said that if he wanted an obedient wife he would have to carve one for himself out of stone."

No comments: