Tag Archives: 95 Theses

Martin Luther and #Reformation500

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 29, 2017

Martin Luther stained glass

Martin Luther and #Reformation500

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran minister, theologian and seminary professor. I am not certain, but I suspect he might have been pleased to celebrate with much of the Protestant world this year. Celebrate what? Martin Luther and his posting of the 95 theses, of course.

Today is a festive day in the church. Reformation Sunday, the last Sunday in October every year when we remember the bravery and determination of Father Martin Luther, Professor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg in Germany. He was brave and determined for nailing up the 95 theses (or, grievances) against the Catholic Church on the door of the Wittenberg chapel on All Hallow’s Eve, October 31, 1517.

500 years! A huge anniversary, indeed. I care very much about this celebration. I was baptized and confirmed a Lutheran and spent two full years studying Luther’s Small Catechism in confirmation preparation. Yes, Martin Luther and his theology are important to me and to my personal history of faith.

I’ve preached on the five “Solas” (or, “onlies”) of the Protestant Reformation throughout the month of October. I started the month with Sola Scriptura, then Soli Deo Gloria on October 8th. Solus Christus on October 15th, Sola Gratia on October 22nd, and today—Reformation Sunday—my text was Romans 3:28, and I preached on Sola Fide. These phrases are the hallmarks of the Reformation! I was so pleased to research these important scriptural ideas and preach messages on them to commemorate such a foundational event.

The posting of the 95 Theses was not supposed to cause a rift in Christianity. No, Martin wanted to reform his beloved Church from the inside. However, due to many internal and some external reasons, it did not happen. Luther founded the denomination that bears his name to this day. (Also, several other streams of Protestants sprang forth at this turbulent time of the 1500’s. Sadly, many bloody battles were fought over religious and theological differences. This has not stopped today. However, new cries for ecumenism have been heard for the past few decades. After several hundred years of separation, now, at least, there are also calls for joining together.

Perhaps fractured Christianity might come closer together, in our time. One can dream. One can hope.

Let us pray, using the words of President Abraham Lincoln (adapted): “Grant, O merciful God, that with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as You give us to see the right, we may strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the world’s wounds….to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all the world, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”



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Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

To Rock the Church, To Tip Sacred Cows, To Pray

matterofprayer blog post for Friday, October 31, 2014

God refuge and strength Ps 46-1

To Rock the Church, To Tip Sacred Cows, To Pray

Today is Halloween, October 31. Today, in Chicago, it‘s a cold and windy day for trick or treating. (Bundle up those children! Brrr.)

But today is also All Hallow’s Eve. The day before All Saints Day, which for centuries is the day that liturgical churches have traditionally commemorated the saints who have died, who have gone before us. That great cloud of witnesses that Hebrews 12:1 talks about.

Today is the 497th anniversary of the date that Martin Luther, at that time Catholic priest and Doctor (or Professor) of Theology at the University of Wittenberg, had had enough of the church establishment of his time. He posted a list of formal disagreements on the university bulletin board, which happened to be the door of the university chapel. That list—which we now know today as the 95 Theses—sparked a sea change in religious thought from that time forward. Martin Luther and his list rocked the church. Tipped sacred cows.

I was baptized and confirmed in a Lutheran church in Chicago several decades ago. Martin Luther and his declaratory act on that All Hallow’s Eve five hundred years ago has been dear to my heart since I was a teenager. I have traveled a long way down religious, spiritual and theological roads since then, but I always remember Martin Luther. His great emphasis on being freed from the bondage of sin, and saved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, remains with me.

Also, Martin Luther was a great man of prayer. He would spend many hours in prayer each week. This was on top of his busy schedule, managing, teaching, traveling, lecturing, preaching, and preparing his sermons and talks. And then, he wrote many volumes of commentaries, translated the whole Bible into German (both Old and New Testaments), plus handled a huge correspondence with people all over Europe. Yet, there was always time in his life for prayer.

Whatever tradition each of us, individually, springs from, I hope we may all affirm Martin’s wonderful focus on prayer as the foundation of his life. He depended on prayer. Moreover, prayer and Scripture are so closely linked in his mind that he could not imagine one without the other. Like Martin, I ask for earnestness of heart to be able to follow God daily, and to give prayer the highest place of priority in my life.

Let’s pray. Dear God, gracious Redeemer, we thank You for examples like Martin Luther, who we remember as a great man of faith as well as prayer. We remember with him that You are our refuge and strength, a mighty fortress that never will fail us. Thank You for Your love and faithfulness. Help us as we continue to follow You. In the mighty name of God we pray, Amen.


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