Let’s Get Historical

A little more than 500 years ago on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther’s strong emphasis on justification by faith (that people find salvation and life in Christ through faith only in the finished work Jesus rather than our own merit) and his tireless assault on practices like selling indulgences (assurances of forgiveness printed on paper in exchange for money) resulted in his expulsion from Roman Catholicism in 1520.

By 1521, Luther was declared an outlaw and infamous heretic. He was headed for jail when a group of armed men on horseback abducted him. Luther feared for his life but was actually spirited away to the safety of Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany, under the protection of a German leader, Frederick the Wise.

Luther lived for a year in hiding at Wartburg Castle, and in that time, he (along with help from others) completed the first translation of the Greek New Testament into the German language, giving rise to other translations including English. While at the castle, he also faced severe temptations and conflict with the devil. In fact, there’s an ink stain on the wall of his room (that has been preserved and touched-up over the years) where, according to legend, Luther threw an ink bottle at Satan in the middle of a restless night.

Whether or not that story is accurate, Luther’s ink has certainly driven away the devil through the translated words of Scripture. Nothing is more effective at guarding against temptation or standing against the enemy’s attacks than the truth of God’s word. To learn principles for resisting temptation, watch or listen to this past week’s message. And, if you haven’t started yet, you can still join the Bible reading plan for the month of November.

Stand firm,

P.S. During his time in hiding, Luther must have wondered what God was doing. If you’ve ever struggled with disappointment or confusion over God’s lack of intervention in your life or our world, be part of the start to a new teaching series this Sunday at 9:15 or 11AM, When God Doesn’t: A Study of Habakkuk.

Titus O’Bryant
Teaching & Executive Pastor of Ministries