My mind got to wandering and wondering what would happen today if there were an upstart priest who questioned the Catholic Church doctrine and seemed to foment a kind of “faith revolution” that got youth excited about the faith again and got adults reading the bible and caused priests and prelates to preach with conviction. Today of course was a momentus occasion in the life of the Western Church. Today is the anniversary of the excommunication of Martin Luther from the Roman Catholic Church. On January 3, 1521, Pope Leo X issued the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem, excommunicating Martin Luther from the Church of Rome.
Martin Luther, was the young revolutionary who didn’t see himself that way at all. He was a professor of biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg in Germany. He wrote 95 theses or statements that challenged the Roman Catholic Church teachings and some of its corrupt practices such as selling indulgences (forgiveness of sins for money). He wrote vociferously and his fiery words set off a religious reformation all across Europe.
But it all came to a boil in January of 1521. Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther and three months later, Luther was called to defend his beliefs before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms (pronounced Vorms). He was given a chance to recant his writings but his refusal to recant caused the emperor to declare him an outlaw and a heretic. When Luther finally died in 1546, the course of Western civilization had been unalterably changed causing Time Magazine to declare Luther one of the top ten “Persons of the Millennium.”
It was these verses from the Bible that set him on a course with destiny and the Pope: (Romans 1:16-17)
16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
We have so much more to be thankful for these days among Christian people. Yet, there is a long way to go. If you have time today – stop and think of the friar from Erfurt and his impact on the world.
Be Well – Be Revolutionary…