Martin Luther was a a German Monk whom God used to start the Reformation. Martin Luther is remembered for many things such as his famous 95 thesis published on October 31, 1517 that went viral. He is remembered for translating the New Testament into German, the language of his people. However, one of the most dramatic events in Luther’s life was the Diet of Worms. It was at this meeting that Luther was asked by the Catholic Church leaders to recant all his beliefs such as the justification by faith alone. It is here that Luther faced with excommunication and possible execution as a heretic, he would have to make his choice. Luther asked for a night to think about whether he would recant or stand firm on his beliefs. The turmoil in Luther’s soul was fierce that night, and when he arrived the next morning his mind was made up. Here is what the german monk said:
Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason- for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves – I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.
For those who prefer the movie version of this historic scene you can watch the clip from the 2003 movie Luther. (In the movie version they skip the night he takes to dwell on it)
What lessons can Pastors today learn from the life of Martin Luther? Well there are more than can be written in this blog post, but let me suggest to you one primary one.
Just like Martin Luther, pastors today must unapologetically stand on the Word of God for all things regarding faith and practice. There is a temptation for ministers today to let tradition or culture dictate how the church must be. Pastors must boldly stand on the Word of God, even in the face of incredible opposition.
The Bible will continue to be more and more controversial as our western culture continues to secularize. Soon, and to some extent even now, faithful pastors will be marginalized for their commitment to the truth of the Scriptures. Sooner than we think we too must make our stand. When that time comes we, just as Luther, must make our conscience captive to the Word of God. We must stand firm on the sufficiency of Scripture and we must do so unapologetically. God help us. Amen.