October 2017 Letter

October is More than Halloween:


When we flip the calendar each fall to October, most people think of All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) on October 31st. For Christians and Lutheran Christians in particular, October 31st is celebrated for a much more important reason. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted on the door of the castle church at Wittenberg, Germany, 95 Theses (or statements) for debate. Luther, an ordained priest and Doctor of Theology, questioned some of the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings and practices—especially the selling of ‘indulgences’ as a payment for one’s sins.

The German people welcomed the Theses so enthusiastically that the Church leaders felt compelled to act against Luther. He was accused of heresy (false teaching) and was summoned to appear before various gatherings of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. When he resisted the papal threats, and kept on questioning the teachings and practices of the Church, the pope excommunicated him in 1521.

Luther refused to recant (take back) what he had written unless he could be shown from the Bible that he was wrong. The Holy Scriptures, he maintained, are our supreme authority and not the pope or other church leaders. While hiding in seclusion from church authorities after his excommunication, Luther translated the Bible into German. For the first time in their lives, ordinary people could read the Bible for themselves.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, Luther discovered the only true way to salvation in Romans 1:17, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” He wrote of his discovery, “And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which merciful God justifies us by faith [italics added] as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.” Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.” Luther’s discovery unlocked salvation for all people ever since, as we read in Ephesians 2:8, “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”


Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Sola Gratia (Grace Alone), Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone),


Pastor David A. Feddern