Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Luther on Outreach

Wednesday after Pentecost 18
October 7, 2009

The Lord be with you

On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his now famous 95 Theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg, which sparked the Reformation. As this is October, and in light of this historical tidbit, it seems appropriate to include a quote from Martin Luther.

One of the things Luther is falsely accused of is a disregard for outreach (evangelism). The following quote is one of many that show Luther’s commitment to sharing the Gospel by all believers.

    1 Peter 2:9: That you should proclaim the deeds of the one who called you from the darkness into his wonderful light.

    We live on earth only so that we should be a help to other people. Otherwise, it would be best if God would strangle us and let us die as soon as we were baptized and had begun to believe. For this reason, however, he lets us live that we may bring other people also to faith as he has done for us …

    This is part of being a priest, being God’s messenger and having his command to proclaim his Word. You should preach the “good work,” that is, the miraculous work that God has done as he brought you from darkness into light. This is the highest priestly office. Consequently, you preaching should be done so that one brother proclaims to the other the mighty deed of God: how through him you have been redeemed from sin, hell, death, and from all misery, and have been called to eternal life. You should also instruct people how they should come to that light. Everything then should be directed in such a way that you recognize what God has done for you and that you, thereafter, make it your highest priority to proclaim this publicly and call everyone to the light to which you are called. Where you see people that do not know this, you should instruct them and also teach them how you learned, that is, how one through the good work and might of God is saved and comes from darkness into light. (Luther Texts on Mission, The Church Comes from All Nations, page 20, by Volker Stolle, Translated by Klaus Detlev Schulz, Concordia Academic Press, Concordia Publishing House)
When Luther says “this is part of being a priest” he is not referring to called clergy, but to the priesthood of all believers.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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