Remembering the Courage of Martin Luther

Today is Reformation Day. It was on this day in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed the “95 Theses” to the castle door at Wittenberg, Germany. Thus began a movement of which we are still feeling the effects today, some 491 years hence. Luther’s stand against the Roman Catholic Church was ostensibly about indulgences. But really, it was about the gospel—how sinners are justified before God on the basis of Christ’s redemptive work.

In every generation, the Christian church is called on to herald and to defend the gospel before a watching world. That is what Luther did, and that is what we must do as well. My favorite quote from Luther is also a call to arms, as it were, for preachers of the gospel.

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

-Luther’s Works. Weimar Edition. Briefwechsel [Correspondence], vol. 3, pp. 81f

I am grateful for Luther and his courage. May the Lord grant that we all be willing to lay it all on the line for the gospel like he did.


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