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On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted 95 Theses on the Door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. It was like a blog post that went viral. He wanted to discuss the Gospel: that man is justified before God by faith in Christ and not by works.
Just a few years later, at the Diet of Worms on April 17, 1521, Luther got his chance…or so he thought. He stood in front of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the papal representatives, and their soldiers dressed in their parade uniforms. But they wanted no discussion. It was simple: “Are these are your books? Do you recant?”
All Luther could say to the first question was “Yes, these books are mine and I have written more.” To the second question he asked for a night to pray, for the Gospel itself was at stake. Luther was ordered to either recant this Gospel or become an outlaw. He prayed that God would keep him from repenting a “single jot or tiddle.”
Everyone had already decided that Luther was guilty. And in a way, he was! He was teaching the truth of the Gospel that had come clear to him back in 1517, when he posted those 95 Theses that started it all: Jesus saves sinners by grace alone that is received by faith alone, and this is found in Scripture alone.
“Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds and reasoning—and my conscience is captive to the Word of God—then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”
“Here I stand.” That’s daring to be…Lutheran! What words! What a theme! So on this 500th anniversary of Dr. Luther’s firing the Gospel shot heard around the Church, Higher Things is excited to continue to stand and confess the Gospel with Dr. Luther at our 2017 Summer Conferences.