ESSAYS on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation: ESSAY 2: Influences of Dr. Luther’s Reformation.
While many associate October 31 as a “Trick or Treat Day,” October 31 for us Lutherans has special significance. In 1517, Dr. Luther nailed 95 thesis to the North Door of The Wittenberg Church beginning one of the largest movements in human history, The Reformation of The Church. During the course of the next three months sermons, bulletins, worship services, Bible Studies and special emphasis will be placed upon the Reformation as we celebrate the blessings of God and His free gift of grace. The Reformation was more than just some objections and changes to theological and church practices. The Reformation brought significant and lasting changes that not only affect our spiritual life, but our daily life in ways that many might not have imagined. Here is the 2nd essay over some of those influences.
- The Reformation was instrumental in the separation of The Church and the State. To Luther, these were both divine institutions in which God ruled over, worked through and blessed His people and all that lived in that land. Luther wrote extensively on this topic. Demonstrating with his teachings that with our daily vocations, the church and the state are the three great institutions of our lives. His teachings held that each institution was used by God with very different roles and purposes. Luther called the state part of the Kingdom of the World or ‘The Left.’ He called the church, The Kingdom of God or ‘The Right.’ His Biblical and logical knowledge on these roles and institutions helped to even influence our nation’s founding documents.
- The Reformation also clearly defined the role of the church. While many have heard of the 95 Thesis, in those thesis he expresses one of Luther’s key objections within The Roman Church at that time was The Church and The Pope had too much influence and power over the affairs of the state. Luther in his writings eluded that Bishops don’t make good kings and princes don’t make good Priests. The Church was to be concerned with the soul and the state more concerned with one’s physical well- being. The Reformation helped to form godly citizens!
- The Reformation also paved the way for scientific knowledge and exploration. In our modern day and age when critics of religion falsely accuse the church of being anti scientific, the Reformation in limiting The Church’s role in the state, allowed for freedom of scientific and natural exploration. Scientific knowledge was no longer controlled by The Church. Christians, who saw nature as God’s created order, now had freedom to explore and find key discoveries of the natural world that had and still has profound influences on the quality of our lives.
- The Reformation also paved the way for new uses of the media and the spreading of information. Luther’s nailing of the thesis on the North Wittenberg door church was a profound and effective way to communicate with the masses. The 95 Thesis were written in Latin, the common international language of that day, much like English is now. The Guttenberg press was then utilized for quick and massive printing of Reformation ideals. Luther wrote Catechisms and Theological essays from Scripture using this press to inform ALL. This is part 2, in future months and newsletters even more significant influences of the Reformation will be shared for us who by faith treasure, “Christ, Scripture, Grace and Faith alone!” May we always cherish, that “The just shall live by faith.” In Christ, Pastor Mews