Summary: Background and history of Luther's Small Catechism

In Jesus Holy Name September 16, 2018

Series: Luther’s Small Catechism Redeemer

Text Deuteronomy 6:5-7

“Thinking the Things of God”

Introduction to Luther’s Small Catechism

Everyone has an identity. Often time our real identity; who we are, what we feel, it doesn’t often match our names. For many today, names are arbitrary. The day you were born your parents thought long and hard about the name you would carry. They may have even given you two middle name along with your first and last name. Sometimes they are thinking of bible characters and you get a bible name. Sometimes they are thinking of a long loved relative and you get an old name on your new body.

Sometimes parents didn’t know what to do so they came up with names like “Pee-a-boo” Street because as a baby she like to play “Pee-a-Boo” Studies of gang members reveal that when a person chooses to join a gang, he or she often receives a tattoo to identify him or her as a member of that gang. This signifies that the gang’s claim on that person is permanent. It is a mark of ownship as much as identity.

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.

Since that Day we have been called Lutheran Christians. It is a unique identity within the larger World Wide Christian faith.

Both Deacon Jim Fennacy and Deacon Scott Jacobsen are in the process of preparing to be ordained in the Lutheran Church as Specific Minister Pastors. One of the requirements was to read and study both Martin Luther’s Small and Large Catechism. So I said to myself….why not enable them to share that knowledge. So, I ask Deacon Jim to write this seven week bible study on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.

This study is about our identity. You can join a small group. Sign ups on the Patio. You can down load it from our web site. You can take it home and study it on your own. This series isnot about how to find peace with God…It does help us understand why Christian values and behaviors are important. I really like the title that Deacon Jim has given to this study.

“Thinking the Things of God”

He writes; “How do you make sense of the Bible? The Bible contains sixty-six books and letters, bound together, forming one book. In reality it has one author and one plan. It reveals God’s plan for offer you and me the gift of forgiveness and eternal life. And yet to try to read the Bible like a novel…cover to cover is difficult. What am I supposed to do with what I just read? How do I make sense of the entire book?

Martin Luther was born in 1483 and died in 1546. The Reformation begin in his heart in 1505 -1517 as he read and taught the Bible. Martin Luther did not want to start a new religion. He wanted to see the Roman Catholic Church renewed. He did not intend on people leaving the church in droves, even whole communities.” ( Bible Study, Deacon Jim Fennacy, Redeemer Lutheran Church web site)

But as they did, and as monks left monasteries to become the first pastors, Luther was worried about the lack of knowledge of God’s true gospel, the lack of bibles and educational material for church and home. Martin Luther wrote the Small and Large Catechism in 1527 to explain the core concepts of the Bible.

Other religions focus on people doing things to appease God; to make Him happy. In doing the “right” things it is hope that God will keep those people from eternal damnation, which is eternal separation from Him. This is not the message of the bible.

The bible was written to tell us about God’s love. The Ten Commandments were given so that people, societies and cultures could live in peace and community.

In the 1500’s there was no easy access to the Bible. Luther published hundreds of pamphlets, monthly. He was a publishers dream. His books and pamphlets sold. He wrote the Small Catechism so that parents could teach the fundaments of Christianity. The Small Catechism has 6 chief parts. The Ten Commandments, with explanation. The Apostle’s Creed, with explanation. Which we will use today. The Lord’s Prayer. The Sacrament of Baptism. Confession and the Office of the Keys. The Sacrament of the Altar. . This will be our seven week sermon and bible study series. I hope you take time to renew your identity.

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.

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