Reverend Dennis Smith spoke on the history of Lutheranism, on Wednesday (March 6) at Messiah Lutheran Church in Constantine. The program is one a series of mid-week studies of various denominations during Lent, entitled “God is Still Working-Understanding our Christian Traditions.”
Lutheranism as a religious movement originated in the early 16th century Holy Roman Empire as a reform movement within the Roman Catholic Church. It began in 1546 when Luther nailed a copy of 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg–an event now seen as sparking the Protestant Reformation. It became a major religious and political movement within the Holy Roman Empire, soon after the adoption of the printing press. The spread of books and higher had an obvious impact on the Lutheran reformers. The Gutenberg Bible was first printed in 1455, with subsequent editions of the Bible becoming more widely distributed than than ever before.
“Luther believed in the doctrine of justification–God’s act of declaring a sinner righteous by faith alone through God’s grace,” Smith said. “He began to teach that salvation is a gift of God’s grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the Messiah.”
“Faith for Luther was a gift from God. He explained his concept of justification in the Smalcald Articles: The first and chief article is Jesus Christ our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification. He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and God has lain on Him the iniquity of us all. All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merit, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, in His blood. This is necessary to believe. It is clear and certain that faith alone justifies us.”
Smith quoted five guiding principles of Lutheranism by Pastor Kelly Fryer: “To answer the question of, ‘Who are we?’ we state Lutherans believe Jesus is Lord, everyone is welcome, love changes people, everyone has something to offer and the world needs what we have,” Smith said.
The next mid-week Lenten service will be at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13 at Messiah Lutheran Church, 185 W. 5th Street, Constantine. Sister Maxine McGee will speak on Catholicism. McGee retired after 20 years of ministry at St. Joseph Catholic church in White Pigeon, and currently resides at Sisters of St. Joseph in Nazareth Center. The public is invited. For more information call (269) 435-9785.
Source: Story and photo contributed by Angie Birdsall.