Most people associate October 31 with Halloween, but for those with a background in Protestant church history it marks the start of the Reformation. Martin Luther, on October 31, 1517, posted his Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, or Ninety-Five Theses, on the Castle Church door (pictured) in Wittenberg, Germany. Though the document centers on the Roman Catholic use of indulgences, it also speaks to the ultimate authority of the Word of God.
But Luther never credited himself with starting the Reformation, nor was he fond of the use of his name for a new denomination. Luther writes,
The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone...How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?
He further writes,
I simply taught, preached, wrote God's Word; otherwise I did nothing. And then, while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my Philip and my Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.
And this was not Luther's sentiment alone, but the sentiment of every Reformer: that they be nothing and the Word be everything. Praise be to God!
Thank you to all who participated in our Fall Festival, and especially to our organizer, Kayce Clark. Last night's weather was perfect as we welcomed hundreds of people to our campus. What a beautiful way of expressing our love to our community. In many ways, this kind of outreach is local missions, evangelism and hospitality all wrapped up in loving our neighbors well. One visitor inquired if we had a similar event in the Springtime. That may be something to think about!
This is a big weekend coming up. No, not because of Florida-Georgia. But because our Lord and Savior will be worshiped. I hope you join us.