by Evi Rodemann
All across the world celebrations around the 500-year anniversary of Luther will take place in 2017. Many events, book launches, tours, etc. are being offered, and the most important stations where Luther worked and visited are hosting thousands of pilgrims this year. As remember the Reformation and the implications of it, we know that not everything Luther did or did not do was good.
In this post, I am not seeking to endorse him, but instead to highlight the Reformation. Most importantly, we remember Luther nailing the 95 Theses on the church door, which on the one hand confronted the payment/misuse of indulgences and on the other hand endorsed faith in God, which comes out of trusting the grace of God alone.
The Book of Romans was very dear to Luther´s heart and shaped his understanding of God´s wrath and grace. Luther struggled for weeks and months to come to terms with grace that was received, not worked for: “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law” (Rom. 3:28).
Luther rediscovered God and gained a new understanding of grace. We have this challenge in front of us today as well. We must rediscover God where church practices, Christian lifestyle, the secular surroundings, etc. have hidden or changed the gospel. Dr. Bedford-Strohm (Bishop of the Lutheran church in Germany) once said, “On the basis of the word of God and tradition. we need to rediscover God. When we want to raise the interest in God, we need to make people curious.”
The word of God is essential for raising this curiosity. Luther put the Bible into the people´s hands—translating, printing, distributing, and teaching. This was revolutionary for that time. The Bible became the central point of guidance and hope. It became a personal point of guidance and hope.
It’s time to do this again: place the word of God into the people´s hands and guide them to discovery. As we read the Bible with seeking friends, God´s word comes alive and transforms hearts and minds.
Luther and the Reformation caused these five exclusive particles:
- solus Christus – »only Christ«
- sola gratia – »only through grace«
- solo verbo – »only in scripture«
- sola scriptura – »only through scripture«
- sola fide – »only through faith«
The use of the word “only” demonstrates the exclusiveness; other things are not allowed next to it. These five are core ingredients for evangelism.
As we share the good news, we remember that it is only possible to experience grace and forgiveness through God alone. In today´s society, our understanding of exclusivity has changed. Youth culture can handle several truths at the same time, even when they might contradict each other.
So where are the modern Luthers who are pointing to the only God, the only truth, the only faith? Where are those willing to stand up against the streams of liberalization, uniformity, and secularization when they go against the gospel?
One of Luther´s famous remarks was: “Here I stand, I can do no other!” May this encourage us to think about what makes us stand and where we will not compromise. Let each of us carry the DNA of a reformer!
- When did you last have a personal grace experience with God?
- Where are the key moments in your life where you can use Luther´s inspiration to share God´s word with an individual?
- Where do you feel challenged to share the Gospel in new and maybe also culturally contradicting ways?
Evi Rodemann (@erodemann) is part of the Lausanne European steering team and a member of the Lausanne YLGen Development team, living out her passion of reaching young people and developing younger leaders, especially with a focus on Europe. In 2016, she completed her MA on European Mission with Redcliffe College, UK.