Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Reformation’

Yesterday was Reformation Day.  It is the Sunday that Lutherans worldwide reflect not so much on a man, but on the request made by that man of his church.

Martin Luther saw some abuses in the church.  Worldy ideas and opinions had crept into the church and affected both teaching and practice.  Luther was greatly concerned by what he saw.  As one called to speak truth and lead away from danger, Luther warned the people not to put too much trust in one particular practice.  Those in authority over Luther were angered by his boldness.   He was told to stop speaking.  To mind his manners and know his place.  But, Luther grieved for the people who were affected by the abuses of wrong teaching and practice.

Luther’s conscience found no peace in silence.  So, he brought his concerns to the attention of the church by inviting his fellow professors to a debate.  His thoughts were carefully composed into 95 Theses (or ideas), printed and, with a few blows of a hammer, nailed for all to see on the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church.  There was nothing unusual in this action.  It was the customary way to announce a debate.  Luther was now public with his criticisms of Rome and concerns for the people.

Rome heard the blows of Luther’s hammer.  “We are the church!  Who is this man?” spoke the pride of authority.

“Behold!  This is a work of Satan to stir up division within the church!” spoke well-meaning but frightened leaders.

“This is an attack!  An apology must be written, or else!”  spoke angry voices in well-established positions.

But, what did Luther request?  And why did his request anger certain people in the church?  Anyone reading Luther’s written concerns today would recognize that he was a loyal son of the church.  He spoke and wrote with respect for the church, but also caring concern for those under the influence of the church.  Luther was not guilty of questioning the Word of God, but of questioning the church’s interpretation and application of that Word.  A practice, indeed, built on human and flawed assumptions.

Luther was heard and understood by many of his peers.  After all, he was not the first to speak up.  Others had recognized certain church practices to be more faithful to human opinion than the Word of God.  Pointing out errors in scholastic theology had already cost some believers their lives.  Luther, who by the mercy of Christ had experienced his own reformation, was motivated to ask important questions of the church.  His concerns were faithful to The Good Shepherd and sensitive to the sheep.  But, Luther’s public posting drew fire.  It caused some to move into a defensive posture.  Ears were ringing from the hammer blows on the church door.

Some ears are ringing today from the blow of another hammer on a church door.  For a long time, some parents have seen certain abuses in the church.   They have been “speaking up” with valid concerns about the teaching and practice of sex education.  Sex education is a concern for Christians in particular because it is founded on human and flawed assumptions.  Alfred Kinsey, often called the “father of modern sex education,” did not seek Wisdom (Jesus Christ); therefore, his perspectives on male, female, modesty, patience, purity, marriage, children, and society are directly opposed to the Creator and Redeemer of life.

So, when a concerned Christian parent does not see that the church’s teaching and practice of sex education is distinctively different from the world’s, she feels compelled to speak.  She writes a kind of request, asking that the church wake up.  Listen.  Think.  Dialogue on the issue.  When he posted the 95 Theses, Luther did not attack the pope. Neither does a discerning and concerned parent attack a particular person.  Instead, she relies on the fact that she has a duty to request that pastors and all church leaders be faithful to The Word and consider the source of every teaching and practice.

With the best of intentions, the church may want to equip parents to better teach their children about male and female, relationships and love, marriage and procreation.  Unfortunately, a weakness of sinful Christians is to believe we can sort through worldly models and make proper use of the “good stuff” in our teaching.  There is wisdom in a lesson from history.  The Israelites, returning from captivity to rebuild Jerusalem, were overwhelmed by the responsibility given to them.  They were tempted to accept the help of unbelieving neighbors in the land.  But, God warned them not to accept such help.  To do so would be to compromise faith and practice.

Luther posted 95 Theses in a public place because faithfulness to the Word — Jesus Christ — would not allow him to be silent.  His compassion for people would not let him be silent.  Once he saw abuses and the consequences that followed, he could not un-see.  It was long past time to dialogue.  To correct error.  Even though he was told not to do anything that might disturb the church, Luther would not — could not — recant.

A Christian parent posts a thought in a public place because faithfulness to the Word — Jesus Christ — will not allow her to be silent.  Her compassion for people, especially children, will not let her be silent.  Once she sees abuses and the consequences that follow, she cannot un-see.  It is long past time to dialogue.  To correct error.  Even though she is told that her concern is inappropriate and might disturb the church, this parent will not — cannot — recant.

Read Full Post »