Friday, October 30, 2009

10/31 Luther

(Luther translating scripture into German)
10/31/09 Luther and Calvin-

17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." (Romans 1:17)

(Calvin's Letter to Martin Luther 1545- excerpt): Would that I could fly to you, that I might even for a few hours enjoy the happiness of your society; for I would prefer, and it would be far better, not only upon this question, but also about others, to converse personally with yourself; but seeing that it is not granted to us on earth, I hope that shortly it will come to pass in the kingdom of God. Adieu, most renowned sir, most distinguished minister of Christ, and my everhonored father. The Lord himself rule and direct you by his own Spirit, that you may persevere even unto the end, for the common benefit and good of his own Church. — Yours,John Calvin

Today is the day we call Reformation Day (No, it's not just All Hallow's Eve or Halloween). It is the day that we remember that Marin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenburg Door- mainly protesting the idea of indulgences (bought forgiveness). Luther was convinced that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. He stood alone on the Word of God.

Calvin called Luther an apostle of the Reformation. In the beginning Calvin probably saw himself as a Lutheran before he developed his Reformed theology. Calvin said very little against Luther, though he spoke against his view of the church Calvin had real hopes that the Lutherans and Reformed would get together, but this didn’t happen. He had made friends with Melanchthon, Luther’s right hand man. But Melanchthon died before he could cement their bond. Later Lutherans criticized Calvin, so that he had to back off. Yet he still longed for a concord between the two. The Reformed actually allowed Lutherans to take communion in their churches, though that favor was not returned. Only in the last thirty years have the Lutherans and Reformed made realy progress in recognizing each other. Calvin would have been proud.

In our day, we can learn from Luther. Too many are consumed with doing good to earn someone’s favor or popularity. But in reality we need God to come and save us.

Prayer: Thank you for brave souls like Luther who stood up for their beliefs and changed the world.

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