Who Made #1

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Last week we shared that Luther was ranked number 3 on the Time-Life millennium list. Time-Life undertook to amass a list of the most important events and people of the past 1,000 years. After several months of “very contentious meetings”, they arrived at the top 100.

So while the good Dr. Luther made number three on the list I know the burning question in your mind is who made number one!  That belongs to Johann Gutenberg, but more precisely the Gutenberg Bible! That is an anniversary worth celebrating as well!

In 1455 Gutenberg marked a milestone in the millennium’s technology revolution when he mastered typeset printing. Gutenberg printed 300 of his amazingly beautiful Bibles, today know as the “Gutenberg Bible.” Today only 48 copies are known to have survived, and they are an amazing treasure.

You might be asking why an event from 1455 is being talked about on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation? Simple – without the printing press Martin Luther’s 95 theses might have died on the church door where he posted them. But it was the wide circulation of his works that sped the reformation along.

Luther Made The List

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Luther Made the List

There are lots of lists on which you might find Martin Luther’s name.  Some of them might include; Most Prolific Authors, Great Hymn Writers, Great Lutheran Theologians, Well Know Excommunicated Catholics, just to name a few.

There is one list that came out in 1998 as the world prepared for the new millennium. Time-Life undertook to amass a list of the most important events and people of the past 1,000 years. They gathered ideas from around the globe from scholars, world leaders, and everyday people. They then began to draw the list down and after several months of “very contentious meetings,” they arrived at the top 100.

It might not surprise you at all that Martin Luther was on the list, but it might surprise you that he was ranked #3. The event that put Luther on the list is what we are celebrating this year – the nailing of the 95 these on the church door.

“The Reformation had begun: Political authorities would never again be fully subject to the dictates of a distant clergy, and the map of Europe would be determined by the nationalism that still dominates world politics today.” (from “The Life Millennium”)

Luther Facts You Might Not Know

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Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483, in Germany to Hans and Margarette Luder. Did you catch the fun fact yet? Martin Luder changed his name. Many believe choose to change his name to something that sounded more academic. While his father was a successful miner and ore smelter his upbringings were quite humble. Luther would begin his academic adventure on the route to becoming a lawyer but would later forego that route to begin a spiritual journey he could have never planned for.

The Reformation could have ended before it ever started. At the age of 19 Luther almost died. He was on his way home from school, when a dagger pierced his leg, cutting an artery. A classmate and friend of Luther is credited with saving his life by quickly fetching a doctor. Lying at the edge of the road till the doctor came, he cried to the mother of Jesus, “O, Mary, help!” His Wittenberg friends later criticized him for appealing to Mary instead of Jesus.

By the time Luther’s life was over he had written over 60, 000 pages. His great desire was not to be remembered, in fact, it is reported that he once hoped that “all of my books would be gone and only Holy Scripture remain.”

EGO SOLUS

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EGO SOLUS (Self Alone) is not one of the great Solas of the Reformation.

American culture has been chronicled by some great and not so great magazines over the years. These magazine titles can tell us a great deal about our self-centered human nature.

LOOK was a bi-weekly publication that began in 1937 it was a general purpose magazine with short articles and lots of photos.

LIFE began as a humor magazine in 1883 and ran until 1936. Starting in 1937 it started telling the great stories of life and living.

PEOPLE hit the shelves in 1974 and took our focus from all of life to just the people and their stories.

US which began in 1977 narrowed our focus down even more from all of the people to just -US, and not them.

SELF narrowed the focus down, even more, starting in 1979 as it began to concern itself with only me.

The reformation’s great Solas remind us that we are not at the core of our life and salvation but it is by Faith Alone, through Grace Alone, in Christ Alone, as revealed in Scripture Alone that we can proclaim:

Soli Deo Gloria – “glory to God alone.”

Martin Luther was not a “King”

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Martin Luther was not a “King”

Growing up as a young Lutheran boy I was often confused as I heard about two Martin Luthers. Martin Luther and Martin Luther King Jr. while both were pastors and both had a large impact on their world, they are two distinctly different persons.

Christianity Today writes; “It is claimed that there have been more books written about Martin Luther than anyone else other than Jesus Christ. The name Martin Luther inevitably shows in the top ten on those lists pundits compile about who were the most influential in shaping our modern world. He is one of those few who can be indisputably proclaimed a ‘hinge of history.’”

Becoming a world changer was never on Luther’s bucket list. He was too busy trying to save his own soul. It was a promise made in the midst of a thunderstorm that brought the timid Luther to the monastery.  Caught out in the storm Luther feared for his life and in a moment of panic called out “Saint Ann, save me and I will become a monk.” She did, and He did.

It was from the walls of the monastery that Luther’s great journey of faith and discovery began.

LutheranReformation.org has a 12-week bulletin series to help your congregation celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  We have created a 12-week series to run the back of their inserts to share more of the story of the reformation.  They are available for FREE as a .pdf (unbranded) for you to use.

500th Anniversary What Does This Mean?

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500th Anniversary, What Does This Mean?

Several people have asked me what exactly is this the 500th anniversary celebrating. It is the first in what could be a whole long line of 500th anniversaries.  2017 marks five hundred years since the young monk Martin Luther posted his “95 Theses” on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg – October 31, 1517.

Luther was alarmed with some of the things that he saw happening in the name of the church, not the least of which was the sale of indulgences. Through the purchase of a single sheet of paper, you could free your family members from the pains of purgatory*.  You could also buy a “get out of purgatory free” indulgence to cover your past and future sins.

These together with other teachings that Luther found troubling were posted in the theses for scholarly discussion and debate. Thanks to the invention of the printing press in 1440 and it’s ability to mass distribute information, news of Luther’s concerns spread quickly and were not well received!  This was the moment that sparked one of the greatest reformations the world has ever seen.

LutheranReformation.org has a 12-week bulletin series to help your congregation celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  We have created a 12-week series to run the back of their inserts to share more of the story of the reformation.  They are available for FREE as a .pdf (unbranded) for you to use.