The Stand- 1 Peter 2:9-10 Glory to God Alone
Luther’s discovery and proclamation of a loving God was heard and cherished by nobles and common man alike. At the Diet at Worms in 1521 he based his beliefs on the authority of Scripture and there was no turning back. His attempt to bring an end to false teaching and practices in the Roman Catholic Church was a protest that made him an enemy of the papacy and an outlaw with death his sentence. Scripture alone, was revered and believed as the source of a loving God by those in power. His Elector, Frederick the Wise protected him and in 1522 had Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum (The Word of the Lord Endures Forever) on right sleeve of his court’s official clothing. Times had changed. By grace through faith, there was a rediscovery of the Biblical understanding of the relationship between Christ and each believer. Scripture identifies our new Christ given status as members of the priesthood of all believers.
The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the papacy tolerated the Evangelicals (Lutherans) until 1530 when Charles called for a “charitable hearing” to be held at Augsburg. His declared intentions for the hearing with the German princes was to establish peace. John the Steadfast, the brother of the deceased Frederick the Wise and other princes requested Peter Melanchthon to draft a common statement of faith for the Evangelicals to present to Charles.
The statement of faith, known as the Augsburg confession, was signed and presented by seven princes, including Luther’s prince John the Steadfast, to Charles V on June 25, 1530. Charles did not accept their beliefs and demanded that the Evangelicals come back into conformity with the Catholic Church. They refused, took their stand and now there was no turning back.. The princes stood behind the Augsburg confession that defined their beliefs- to the glory of God alone.
Question: Why did Luther believe that pastors could marry, contrary to what the Catholic Church believed for priest?
|Answer: Luther condemned vows of celibacy on Biblical grounds. Celibacy had been taught as a way to be more righteous in the sight of God. Luther believed that Scripture teaches marriage is superior to celibacy except for a few who were chosen to be celibate. Luther wanted to restore freedom to everybody and leave each person free to marry or not to marry. Luther believed that mandatory celibacy led to the fall of many a priest and to the decline of the priesthood in general.
The Protest- Romans 1:16-17 Faith Alone
Just how big, how important was the Reformation? Salvation once again was understood as a gift of a loving God by grace through faith in Christ. We champion the liberation of the Scriptures. There is nothing more important, more significant than a release from damming beliefs to Gospel truth. Yet religious reform and insight also brought huge political and social change. Historian Timothy Maschke writes, “What began as a quiet protest against indulgences, made by an unknown Augustinian friar at a new university in an inconspicuous town of northern Germany, quickly, almost miraculously, transformed from gentle ripples of spiritual concern to a political and spiritual tsunami, affecting all of the European world and, rightly understood, all of Christendom.”
The tsunami moved fast. Luther’s understanding of Scripture and what Augustine and other church fathers taught expanded. He wrote and spoke for the independence of church and state. He taught and wrote that there is a direct relationship between believers and Christ who loves and forgives believers by grace through faith.
But now came the challenge from the papacy and demand for Luther to admit his mistakes and stop the protest. All watched to see what Luther would do. Would he step away from his stance that by faith alone we are saved?
Question: How was the name Luther originally spelled?
Answer: The surname Luther is first found in Saxony as one of the notable families of the region during mediaeval times. In northern Germany the name Lueder was more popular, while in southern Germany Leuther was used and in central Germany Luther was common. Martin Luther’s father wrote his name Luder. It is thought that Martin started using the spelling “Luther” during the time he studied at Wittenberg.
The Door- 1 Cor.6:11 Christ Alone
The 95 Theses led to the door to Christ being opened wide once again in the 16th century. Peter and John, in the 1st century, had testified to the Sanhedrin that the power they had received allowing them to heal a lame man had come from “…Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12 Peter and John and the other apostles declared Christ alone.
Over the centuries the truth of Christ as our only means of salvation was lost. The 95 Theses not only led to debate about indulgences, as Luther desired, but also broke the strangle hold by the church on truth. In four short years Luther would be brought to trial to defend his belief that only through Christ we have salvation. At a city named Worms, he would be instructed to confess that he had mislead people and sinned against the Pope and the church. The question he was asked was, “Are the collection of books on this table yours, and are you ready to revoke their heresies.” If he would say yes, he would be forgiven, he no longer would be regarded as a criminal with a price on his head, But a yes would keep the door to Christ closed. What was his answer?
Question: What was the Holy Roman Empire?
Answer: The Holy Roman Empire was a feudal monarchy that encompassed present-day Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland,Austria, the Czech and Slovak Republics, as well as parts of eastern France, northern Italy, Slovenia, and western Poland.
In 1512 the name “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation” became the official title of the empire. Charles V was ruler of both the Spanish Empire from 1516 and the Holy Roman Empire from 1519.