The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Angry man of the 16th century

We shouldn't follow Martin Luther into the 21st century in some things. Here's why.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) didn’t intend to start a new church. A priest and a university professor, Luther believed there was only one Christian church. His study of the Bible and his personal faith experience led him to propose changes in the church’s teaching and practice, to re-form the church so it more clearly reflected the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. This “reformation” was rejected by the leaders of the church in Rome, and Luther and his followers were excommunicated.

Martin Luther by Lucas the Elder CranachA major part of this reformation movement was an emphasis on the living, life-giving word of God. Luther’s academic

training was as a biblical scholar. He translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into German, the language of the people. He published sermons and commentaries to help communicate God’s word in ways that people could understand. Most of all, Luther encouraged people to read and hear the Scriptures for themselves, expecting to receive in the inspired words God’s gracious promise for their lives.

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