31 Oct
2017

REFORMATION!

Anniversaries.

They come in all shapes and sizes. We celebrate the anniversary of our births…AKA birthdays…we celebrate wedding anniversaries…the anniversary of the day we met our significant other…our first date…our first fight…the day we graduated from college…we mark the anniversary of the deaths of loved ones.

Anniversaries are important to us.

Anniversaries mark the passing of time. They make us stop and remember.

Well, we made it. We’ve spent six weeks together traveling down a road of church history that was FIVE HUNDRED YEARS in the making. Today is the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, but not just any anniversary…it’s the 500th Anniversary. How do you feel about that?

I confess, that I have some mixed feelings. As a proud, card-carrying Lutheran, I am excited about this…but…my contemporary side has some reservations. If I am a contemporary, should I be clinging so tightly to the past? Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen Luther stand up for change and reform within the Church. He wasn’t going to sit idly by while the Church took advantage of her people. He pushed for reform and forgiveness. Now, here we sit, five hundred years later, and some of us are still leaning heavily on tradition.

Are we in need of another reformation? Thankfully, indulgences are not sold next to the baked goods on Sunday mornings at the Ladies’ Aid Country Stores in our LCMS lobbies across the country. But I must say, we have earned the “Frozen Chosen” title with alarming accuracy.

We live in a rapidly changing world. I can’t even begin to keep up with the latest and greatest technology that is being released. I can barely type out these blog posts. Society is a living and breathing organism that is constantly moving and growing. Our churches need to be ready to move and grow and adapt to its ever changing needs without compromising her fundamental and foundational beliefs. We cannot do that if we are desperately clinging to the “well-we’ve-always-done-it-this-way” mindset.

Martin Luther risked his life to alter the status quo of his day. He challenged the leaders to re-examine the standard operating procedures that did business, and return to the Bible. The Church was run more like a business rather than a house of worship. While, I’m not suggesting we are on that direct path today, I am cautioning us to be careful to hold too tightly to the temporal, rather than to the things that actually matter.

I consider myself a traditionalist with modern tendencies. Which means, I like my creeds and confessions with a splash of modern music. However, none of that really matters if we are unable to reach the people with the Word of God. Back in Luther’s day, the church services were in Latin. How reachable, attainable, and usable do you think the Word was if the people attending services couldn’t understand what was being preached to them? If we don’t speak the language of the people that are coming into our churches, with their technology and their somewhat dis-jointed shorthand lingo, they won’t understand the Good News we are preaching.

Some die-hard Lutherans are cringing right now. Of course, they had the same feelings when our pastors stopping wearing robes for contemporary services (Confession: I was one of those people), or when pastors switched from hardcover Bibles to iPads. These are signs of the changing times.

Question: Do these issues really effect your eternity?
Answer: Probably not….but strange as it may be, it could effect someone else’s.

It might be time for another Reformation.

A change as minor as a plain-clothes pastor could be the difference in breaking down the intimidation factor to a new believer or a non-believer as they step foot inside your building. To that tech-savvy person sitting in the middle of your sanctuary who sees your pastor holding an iPad while he preaches his sermon, bells go off inside his head to download a daily reading Bible app. And just like that, walls come down, and a dialog opens…a Reformation begins in his heart.

I am Christian because I believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for my sins, and rose again…all to save me, a poor miserable sinner. I am Lutheran because I believe that Martin Luther’s interpretation and teaching of the Bible is correct:

Only Faith
Only Grace
Only Scripture

Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the castle door because he saw some fundamentally broken things within the church. He wanted to start a conversation. We can all agree that he accomplished that! Because of his courage and his bravery, we are able to have the freedom to worship how ever we choose today. Luther taught us how to communicate. Christ is still our foundation and our door to eternity, and that is what makes all the difference.
Happy Anniversary!

-Dallas

 

1 Comment

  • AMEN! Dallas, thank you for the wonderful church history. Yes, it is an amazing anniversary. Being modern carries the caution that we might forget the history that brought us here to our current condition. Tradition combined with a touch of the modern, we are all products of our history. We can never forget that. Onward Christian soldiers!

So, what do you think?