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Here I Stand

09.28.17 | by Ron Burcham

    Here I Stand

    It was 500 years ago this month that a Monk posted a series of statements, 95 of them to be exact, on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Posting notices on the church door was a common practice and this Monk had some things on his mind that he wanted to discuss. Little did he know at the time that this act would change history; the history of the world, and the history of the church.

    The Monk, of course, was Martin Luther and the posting of the 95 Theses started the Reformation. Luther never intended for the church to split like it did, which is why this time in history is called the Reformation, not the Revolt. Luther thought that once the issues were discussed that the light of the Gospel would shine through and changes would be made in the church. This, of course, was not the case for a whole host of reasons.  In fact, in 1521 when Luther thought he was going to have the opportunity to defend his writings at a formal hearing of the church, he was unpleasantly surprised.  They had no interest in hearing what Luther had to say, all they wanted was for Luther to recant or in other words, say that what he wrote was untrue.  Having now discovered the Gospel in scripture, Luther could not recant and he said these famous words; "Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me".

    At the risk of being overly simplistic the reformation was centered on one issue, how are people saved so that they can go to heaven?

    The church, at the time, said that salvation was something one had to earn. It was thought that God was a harsh judge who watched your every move. One must be good and give money to the church so that they might have a chance to go to heaven one day.  To not follow this standard one would be at risk to fall under the judgment of an all-powerful God.

    Luther and other leaders at the time took issue with this view of God. In reading the Bible, they did not discover an angry God, but a compassionate and loving God. Salvation was God’s gift to mankind. Through the sacrifice of His own son, He put the punishment of sin on Jesus and then declared all who believe in Him to be forgiven. 

    During the Reformation, five statements were developed that became the guiding principles. They were written in Latin, and known as the “Solas”. Sola in Latin means “alone”, and the five statements were Sola Scriptura or “Scripture Alone”, Sola Gratia or “Grace Alone”, Sola Fides or “Faith Alone”, Solus Christus or Christ Alone, and Soli Deo Gloria or “Glory to God Alone”.

    During the month of October we will be looking at each of the “Sola” statements in worship. The guiding statements of the Reformation are just as relevant today as they were 500 years ago. The word of God and His salvation remains the same. I hope that you will be able to join us each Sunday we as take this journey. The Reformation is not just a time in history, but a time when the truth of the Gospel was brought back to God’s people.


    Pastor Ron Burcham