Summary: A sermon series through the Augsburg Confession of 1530. Introduction.
In Jesus Holy Name August 28, 2017
Series: Augsburg Confession Redeemer
“One Man’s Pen and Paper”
On October 31, 1517 an obscure German monk named Martin Luther, desiring to spark theological discussion over the medieval practice of selling indulgences, nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This year is the 500th Anniversary Celebration of tat event. It changed Christianity and Europe.
His pen and paper ignited a flame that spread across Europe and launched the Protestant Reformation. By challenging the authority and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church’s, Luther reclaimed for Christianity the central doctrine of salvation–justification by faith alone. Peace and harmony with God.
A Jesuit priest in the 16th century complained, “Luther has damned more souls with his hymns than with all his sermons.” Few people have read his pulpit sermons, but his sermons continue through hymns which are sung every Sunday throughout the world.”
Somewhere between 1527 and 1529 he wrote the hymn that came to be the “battle-cry of the Reformation,” A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.
If Martin Luther had done nothing else but give us this hymn, we would still sing it and be forever in his debt. Those stirring final words put steel into the soul of every Christian because they remind us of what matters most:
“Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.”
This year, Christians are celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.
Beginning this week we, here at Redeemer, will begin a sermon series, weekly bible studies, based on the Augsburg Confession. Another options will be a historical video series of Martin Luther and how the Reformation began. We give thanks to God for Martin Luther and for the recovery of the gospel truth that we are declared righteous in the eyes of God solely on the basis of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us in his bloody death and victorious resurrection. We are saved
By grace alone,
Through faith alone,
In Christ alone,
To God alone be the glory.
If you do not know your past then you may not know who you are. Why is there such an interest in discovering your “ancestry” DNA? People want to know. The same is true with your faith. The Augsburg Confession (written in June 1530) is the bible based response to the Roman Catholic Church of the 1500’s.
What has happened between the posting of the 95 Thesis on October 31, 1517 that brings us to the Augsburg Confession written in 1530?
In 1517 Martin Luther did not want to start a new “church”. He like Savonarola and John Hus in the 1400’s wanted to simply correct theological abuses. In 1518 The Pope had sent a Cardinal to Germany to debate Luther on his challenges to Papal authority.
In the mean time The Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I died in 1519. (The Holy Roman Empire included all of Italy, Spain and Central Europe including the the Netherlands. Well in order to elect a new Emperor there had to be support from the Pope, the Princes in Germany, because the King of France also wanted the job. No time to deal with that pesky heretic Luther. The Pope said he was just a drunken monk and will soon come to his senses.
But a debate was scheduled to be held in Leipzig, Germany.
In 1519, in a debate held in Leipzig, Germany, Luther pointed out how the Roman papacy was making claims and decrees without the support of Scripture. That was enough….So the report of the debate and Luther’s writings go to Rome. In 1520, Luther was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church.
Then in 1521, in Worms, Germany, Luther was confronted again with his writings and teachings and asked whether or not he would recant. His answer: “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason…I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other—my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.” And because he would not bow to the pope’s demands, Luther was declared an outlaw whom anyone could legally kill.
Between 1521 and 1530 Luther wrote the small and large Catechism, visited churches, wrote liturgies, translated the bible into German.
Finally, in 1530, Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, called a council in Augsburg, Germany, to deal with two issues: the ongoing threat of Muslim invasions, and the ongoing divisions of the Christian in his empire.
In 1530, the Turkish armies were marching through southeastern Europe. These Muslim warriors were at the gates of Vienna, and the Emperor was in a fix. You see, in Germany there was this pesky religious problem. Many men were crying out against religious abuses in the Roman Catholic Church, princes and leaders of men were boldly proclaiming belief in Christ Jesus as their Savior, apart from works of the law. This religious discussion was leading to political chaos, and one can’t summon forth armies to a counter-attack, to a new crusade, in the midst of political chaos. Charles V, needed German soldiers.