“Out of love and zeal for truth and the desire to bring it to light…” Martin Luther
Burk Parsons, co-pastor of St. Andrews Chapel in Sanford, Fla., has some great insights regarding Martin Luther’s act on October 31, 1517.
“On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. He did so for the sake of the peace, purity and unity of the church. His first thesis called the church to genuine and continual repentance, and among his last theses he called the church to true peace through Jesus Christ.”
“Luther wasn’t a rebellious schismatic who sought to lead a revolt against Rome; he was an ardent herald and defender of the gospel who, due to his obstinate and unwavering faithfulness, drew Rome’s ire in the midst of its revolt against the truth of the gospel, the gospel and the true church. Luther wasn’t a divider, he was a peacemaker. For there to be true peace and true unity, there must first be truth, and truth divides before it can unite. Truth must conquer before it can liberate.”
Parsons continues by explaining that, “Luther did not divide the church—Rome divided the church by infusing the church with the false doctrines of men. The Reformer’s didn’t leave Rome – Rome left them by leaving the truth, the gospel and the church. The Reformers sought reform in Rome, and in return, Rome sought their heads. Rome divided the true church from the false church, and kicked out the true church.”
The Apostle Paul expressed similar concerns to the elders of the Ephesian church shortly before he set sail for Jerusalem. He said, “28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:28-32).
The true church of Jesus Christ must not only be on guard against its enemies from without or in the world, but also on guard against its enemies from within the church. The battle for truth continues in our day, as it did in the days of Paul and Martin Luther. Therefore, let us be like the Bereans, who received the Word of god with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see what was true. (Acts 17:10-11). Be on your guard, beloved.
Soli deo Gloria!