Summary: 1517 the Reformation began with the 95 Thesis
Let us pray.
As disciples of Mt. Pilgrim who are we, what are we?
Are we righteous people?
Are we saved?
What should we be doing?
What should we not be doing?
If someone was to ask you when you walk outside this building this morning who are you and what do you believe in and what do you do, could you answer them?
I guess we could say first and utmost we are all Christians.
Then we could say we are Evangelical Christians.
We could go further and say we are Evangelical Lutheran Christians.
Maybe we could really answer with a mouth full of fancy words and say we are Evangelical Lutheran Christians in America, i.e., ELCA.
What if some one said what is LUTHERISM, what does that mean?
REFORMATION is where it began.
Now I do not want to make this a history class but some history is required.
This morning we are going to briefly go back 491 years
to the year 1517.
What happen in 1517? 95 Thesis of debate
What happen 1529? Small/Large Catechism (explain)
1530 the Augsburg Confession was presented to
Emperor Charles V
1580 The Lutheran Book of Concord agreed to which began our doctrine as a church. As Lutherans we ascribe to the Book of Concord.
(Show the Book of Concord, it is RED)
So does any of this information answer any of the questions we have?
Folks I can not in a 25-30 minute sermon explain what has transpired over the last 491 years, but I do want to peel this onion back just enough this morning so we leave knowing something about Lutheran heritage, something Lutheran doctrine, and what we should be doing and not doing with it?
We all should know that the reformation begin in October of 1517 when a Roman Catholic monk, Martin Luther nailed his 95 topics of theological debate on The Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany.
Some of you may have noticed a copy nailed to our church door this morning on the way in.
Martin Luther did not want to leave or be excommunicated from the church he just wanted to open the debate on interpretation of Holy Scripture as compared to the interpretation by the church in 1517.
Unfortunately his actions did lead to Martin Luther’s excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church and even a price being place on his head.
I believe it is likely if Martin Luther were alive today he would probably be an active and faithful disciple of the Roman Catholic Church and most likely an Archbishop.
You see of the 95 topics of theological debate from 1517 there is only a small percentage of the debate left in the 21st century church of today. We have much more in common then uncommon today as Christians.
Does this mean we do not have denominational differences; NO there are differences between all denominations of the Christian Church, Baptist, United Methodist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterians, Reform Church, as well as debate within the Lutheran Church, i.e. ELCA and Missouri Synod versus Wisconsin Synod.
Wait a minute, what does it mean when we state in the Apostles Creed “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,” ……we proclaim this every Sunday?
It is amazing how one word can change the whole meaning of what is being said, or how one word can be misunderstood to change what is really being said.
I believe in the holy catholic church.
This means we believe in the universal church. By saying the church we mean an event not an institution.
The event is the gathering of believers in Jesus Christ to hear the gospel and receive the sacraments. That is what the church is it is not a building or institution.
The church includes the Baptist, United Methodist, the Reform Church and Roman Catholic Church as well as “all” Lutheran churches, no matter what synod they belong to. They are believers coming together to hear the word of God and receive the sacraments.
Sooooooo what makes us Evangelical Lutheran Christians or ELCA?
Christians = We believe Jesus Christ is the only son of God who shed His blood for the sins of the world.
Evangelical = we sign up to the reformation of 1517 theological debate, and some would say what small percentage that is left today to be debated.
Lutherans = We believe in Holy Scripture alone!
HOPEFULLY WE ARE GETTING CLOSER TO ANSWERING SOME OF THESE QUESTIONS.
Here are two major theological points All Lutherans hang their hats on;
1) Scripture alone
2) Justification by Grace through Faith
Scripture alone, faith alone and Grace alone!
Lets look at them one at a time.
We believe in Scripture alone, then what is the Lutheran Book of Concord?
Let us peel this back some to understand.