Then / Now
The Courageous Leadership of Martin Luther
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.
In 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. On 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
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.