Then / Now

Then / Now


The Courageous Leadership of Martin Luther

lutherBorn in Germany in 1483, Martin Luther became one of the most influential figures in Christian history when he began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. He called into question some of the basic tenets of Roman Catholicism, and his followers soon split from the Roman Catholic Church to begin the Protestant tradition.

Through his studies of Scripture, Martin Luther finally gained spiritual enlightenment. Beginning in 1513, while preparing lectures, Luther read Psalm 22, which recounts Christ’s cry for mercy on the cross, a cry similar to his own disillusionment with God and religion. Two years later, while preparing a lecture on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, he read, “The just will live by faith.” He dwelled on this statement for some time. Finally, he realized the key to spiritual salvation was not to fear God or be enslaved by religious dogma but to believe that faith alone would bring salvation. This period marked a major change in his life and set in motion the Reformation.

parchmentIn 1517, Pope Leo X announced a new round of indulgences to help build St. Peter’s Basilica. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a sheet of paper with 95 theses on the university’s chapel door. Though he intended these to be discussion points, the Ninety-Five Theses laid out a devastating critique of the indulgences as corrupting people’s faith. Luther also sent a copy to Archbishop Albert Albrecht of Mainz, calling on him to end the sale of indulgences. Aided by the printing press, copies of the Ninety-Five Theses spread throughout Germany within two weeks and throughout Europe within two months.

In January 1521, Martin Luther was officially excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. In March, he was summoned before the Diet of Worms, a general assembly of secular authorities. Again, Luther refused to recant his statements, demanding he be shown any scripture that would refute his position. There was none. luther2On May 8, 1521, the council released the Edict of Worms, banning Luther’s writings and declaring him a “convicted heretic.” This made him a condemned and wanted man. Friends helped him hide out at the Wartburg Castle. While in seclusion, he translated the New Testament into the German language, to give ordinary people the opportunity to read God’s word.

From 1533 to his death in 1546 at the age of 62, Martin Luther served as the dean of theology at University of Wittenberg. Martin Luther is one of the most influential and controversial figures in the Reformation movement. His actions fractured the Roman Catholic Church into new sects of Christianity and set in motion reform within the Church. A prominent theologian, his desire for people to feel closer to God led him to translate the Bible into the language of the people, radically changing the relationship between church leaders and their followers.



The Compounding Growth of The Global Church

Since October 31, 1517, the Gospel spark that was lit through Martin Luther’s courage and words, has continued to intensify throughout the centuries into a powerful raging fire today. Today, the Global Church is growing faster than ever before; even faster than population in many world regions. This is the first generation where the Church has move from the west going to the rest to the best around the world going to the rest of the work. The mission field has become a mission force!

Just the following statistics alone will take your breath away:

  • Africa will become the first ever Christian continent by approximately 2035. David Livingstone called the Africa the “dark continent,” but today the Gospel is moving north each year. Presently, there are at least 350 million Christ-followers in Africa.
  • In China there are more Christians than there are card carrying communists, numbering 108 million. An average of 45,000 Chinese come to Christ each day.
  • Christian is growing faster than the populations of India and Asia.
  • In India there are at least 60 million Christians.
  • Christianity is growing faster throughout Eastern Europe and Russia than ever.
  • There are more than 100 million Christians in Latin America.
  • In North America, there are more than 50 million Christians.
  • The total combined Protestant Christian population exceeds 1 billion people, 8 million churches and 40,000 denominations.

Throughout the Global Church today, Christian leaders have recognized the importance of synergizing efforts and energies together to maximize each today toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission in the 21st Century. On October 30, 2017, an international gathering of Christian leaders will convene in the Wittenberg area of northern Germany. At this historic gathering, the three main focus will be:

  • Realign To The Word of God
  • Reaffirm The Body Of Christ
  • Recommit To The Great Commission

Pastors and leaders are invited to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses on the door of the All Saints Church, in Wittenberg, Germany on October 30, 2017. An event of this magnitude only comes ever 500 years! Each attendee will hear and experience keynote presentations from world class Christian leaders. Additionally, there will be times of intercessory prayer, seeking the Lord for courage for the future, harmony in the Body of Christ and for fresh vision pertaining to the Great Commission.

500 years of Church Growth



Annual Church Growth Rate


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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What is included in the registration? Registration covers all sessions and events for The Wittenberg 2017 Summit scheduled for October 31-November, 1, 2017.
  2. What about my spouse? There is only room for 150 spouses on a first-come-first-serve basis. Of course, your spouse can stay at the hotel with you and can also go on the Reformation Tour, if you choose to take the tour. The minimal cost for your spouse is only $200, which will cover three meals. However, if she/he plans to go the plenary sessions and go to Castle Church (final session), the cost is $500.
  3. What about my staff? Unfortunately we cannot accommodate staff pastors, associates, etc. They would have to register separately and pay the full registration fee to attend the Wittenberg 2017 Summit.
  4. Are scholarships available? Unfortunately, scholarships are not available due to the nature of the event and venue location.
  5. Do I need a visa? Most countries have diplomatic relationships with Germany; therefore, a visa is not required. However, be sure to check your country’s website to verify its status with Germany and any specific visa requirements. Additional helpful information can be found on Germany’s Federal Foreign Office website by clicking GERMANY VISA. It is your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of all information on foreign travel and visa requirements and to secure a visa if necessary.We cannot write visa invitation letters.
  6. What about hotel, air and land transportation?
    • Hotel
      • In order to book your hotel reservations and air travel, please contact Fellowship Travel (call 800-235-9384) or provide the necessary information by clicking here and filling out this web form.
    • Transportation
      • You must make your own travel arrangements (air, rail, etc.) to and from your country to Germany.
      • Once in Germany, you must make your own arrangements to get to and from the airport, rail station, etc.
      • You are responsible for any other sight-seeing adventure you may choose to take while in Germany. The exception is if you choose to purchase the Reformation Tour being offered by Fellowship Travel International in conjunction with the Wittenberg 2017 Summit.