As my Pastor reminded us this morning, we need to remember that Christ's Church began long before Martin Luther came along.
However, God used Martin Luther to call Christ's Church to repentance and to remind her that it's supposed to always be about Him and His Gospel.
So, while it's important to remember who we are and why we believe, teach, and confess the things that we do, it's even more important to remember that it's always about Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind and His Gospel that restores to life what His Law has already condemned and killed.
Why am I a Lutheran? It’s about the Gospel. It’s about a God, looking with love on a broken creation—looking at sinful humanity and knowing they can’t save themselves. So He steps down, takes their weakness, their sin upon Himself and suffers in their place. Jesus, the Great High Priest, becomes the Sacrificial Lamb. And He dies.
But He doesn’t stay dead. The One crucified on the cross is the same One who walks out of a tomb three days later. He conquers death with life, and He gives that life to all who trust in Him. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus,” writes St. Paul. “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith” (Romans 3:23-25).
The Lutheran Church has ever stood as the staunch defender of the Gospel. When much of the world was confused on this point, the Reformers were clear. “Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits or works,” Philip Melanchthon explains in The Augsburg Confession. “People are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favour and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. By His death, Christ made satisfaction for our sins. God counts this faith for righteousness in his sight (Romans 3 and 4).”
This Gospel—Christ dying and rising for you—is the central message of all Scripture. And it isn’t just history; it’s a living, breathing story, the story of every Christian in every time in every place. Where it is proclaimed, God is present and active creating faith. “Let there be,” God said in the beginning, and the world was. “Let there be,” He speaks in the Gospel, and faith is born—the Holy Spirit kindling hearts with the Word of God.
The Reformers understood this well, and so their writings point us ever back to Christ.
This is most certainly true.
Wanna know what else is true?
"The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone. How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?"
-- Martin Luther
"I am a Lutheran for the same reason I am a Christian. It is not by choice but by grace. The teachings of the Lutheran Church place Jesus at the center because the teachings of the Scriptures place Jesus at the center. No other confession demonstrates such fidelity to the truths of God's Word. No other confession so glorifies Christ by placing Him at the center of all it confesses and teaches. Being a Lutheran is truly all about Jesus."
-- Daniel Preus
This is most certainly true.
Then again, as another Pastor reminded me, being a Lutheran means more bratwurst and beer so there's that too!
All kidding aside, there's something extremely comforting and reassuring about being a Lutheran and I can only conclude after all these years that it's the mere fact that we adhere to "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).
In a Lutheran layman's terms, my thoughts on this Reformation Sunday are that I'm a Lutheran simply because it's all about Christ and all about the Gospel.
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!