Martin Luther paves the way to make a bold stand for our faith
Martin Luther took an historic stand when he stood before Emperor Charles V when he was asked to revoke the Word of God for the understanding of the Church of his day. Luther stated, “Since then your serene majesty and your lordships seek a simple answer, I will give it in this manner, neither horned nor toothed: Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me, Amen.”
In taking this stand, Luther gives us a clear example to follow. After all, all Christians are called to witness to God and His Word (cf. 1 Peter 2:9-10), with our lips and with our lives. As in the time of Luther, now is the time for us to give a bold witness for the proclamation of God’s Word and the practice of that Word, for it is being challenged in many ways today. Therefore, in this month where we celebrate the Reformation, I feel called to state categorically in a “Reformation style format” what I believe and what I ask the missionaries of this district to confess and follow through on. As the Mission Executive of the Indiana District – LCMS, I make the following public confession of my faith:
I confess to you that I believe wholeheartedly in the infallibility and inerrancy of God’s Word. I believe in the confessions of our church, that is, the Book of Concord of 1580, which I accept unequivocally as a true exposition of God’s Holy Word. I encourage our missionaries to teach people the Word of God in its truth and purity so that people will know the harshness of God’s Law but also the sweetness of the Gospel. I encourage our missionaries to start Lutheran congregations.
I understand and believe that God the Holy Spirit brings about conversion of people to the Christian faith through the Means of Grace. I encourage our missionaries to be diligent in sharing the message of Christ with non-believers, while at the same time I encourage them to remember that the Holy Spirit does the converting and enables people to become believers in Christ. I believe that our congregations as well as our missions should practice closed communion. I believe the teachings of God’s Word are most important. Therefore, I encourage missionaries to study God’s Word and contemplate it.
I believe that these things are necessary because this is what God’s Word teaches me. To quote Dr. Luther, “I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me, Amen.”