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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Lutherland today

Journeying to Germany's historic sites

I stood in the pulpit where Martin Luther preached his last sermon. In St. Andreas Church in Eisleben, Germany, I thought of the 63-year-old reformer 562 years ago, wracked with physical and psychic pain, preaching comfort based upon Matthew 11:25-30, then at the end, delivering a bitter diatribe against the Jews and all who opposed his attempt to cleanse the church.

Charles Austin stands outside Wartburg
Charles Austin stands outside Wartburg Castle, overlooking Eisenach, Germany.
It was one of the somber, but necessary, moments that I had while visiting places where the Reformation began. For in celebrating Reformation blessings — the gospel of salvation by grace through faith, the emphasis on the Bible, the “priesthood” of all those baptized — we remember also the dire consequences of those times.

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