… this year, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation? On October 3, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his list of 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg, Germany, castle church. Here at Zion, there are many activities planned throughout the year to commemorate this important event in history. So now you know we are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
… Martin Luther wrote hymnbooks? He once said “Next after theology I give music the highest place and the greatest honor.” His first hymnbook came out in 1524. In it were 23 hymns which he wrote and may have been part composer on some. The hymn we love, “A Mighty Fortress”, came out in a later hymnbook. Referred to as the “great battle hymn of the Reformation”, it is based on the 46 Psalm.
… Martin’s father Hans was miner and later owned half a dozen foundries. His parents hoped Martin would become a jurist, be prosperous and support them in their old age. When Martin entered the monetary his father was enraged. Eventually his parents accepted his decision and on the day that Martin gave his first Mass his father came riding in accompanied by 20 horseman and gave a great donation to the monastery. Martin could barely get through his first Mass, he was terrified, but he was able to restrain himself and left the altar limp and shuttering.
… Martin’s decision to become a Monk in some ways parallels St Paul’s conversion. On a  hot July day in the year 1505 he was traveling alone when the sky became overcast. A storm came up suddenly and a bolt of lightning came down and nearly struck him. He was so afraid he cried out “St Anne help me! I will become a monk”. Is it ironic that the man who called on a saint would later repudiate the cult of saints, would later renounce monasticism and then shatter the structure of Catholicism in the Middle Ages?
… there is a Website www.here-i-stand.com about Martin Luther, the Reformation and it’s results. It features posters you can download, 3D objects from Luther’s life you can print and other information. Also #HereIstand. Other websites you may want to visit: for Luther!95 Treasures-95 People go to www.Lutherstadt-Wittenberg.de; for Luther and the Germans go to www.luther.de and for The Luther Effect go to www.vistberlin.de. All are in English and have a wealth of info on Luther and the Reformation.
… there are many books about Martin Luther. A new one entitled “Resilient Reformer: The Life and Thought of Martin Luther” by Timothy Lull and Derek Nelson is published by Fortress Press (2015). Mr Lull was president of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and Mr. Nelson is Associate Professor of Religion at Wabash College. This is an outstanding biography of a person who they say was by 1545 “one of the five most famous people alive, three of the others being kings (Charles V of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, Francis 1 of France, Henry VIII of England, and Pope Paul III. This was quite an achievement for a man whose grandfather had been a peasant and whose father had started out in life as a copper miner.” Some of the material for these blurbs come from “Here I Stand, A Life of Martin Luther” by Roland H. Bainton. This book was first published over 50 years ago and contains Renaissance drawings, woodcuts and engravings from Luther’s era.
… that in Medieval times you could buy your way into Heaven? The Roman Catholic Church issued Indulgences that granted full or partial remission of sins. The first ones were used as a means to enlist men to participate in the Crusades. Help to liberate the Holy Lands from the Turks and you could avoid Purgatory. Since not everyone could join the armies the Church began to sell Indulgences. The more Indulgences you bought the longer you stayed out of Purgatory. You could even buy them to save your dead relatives from a life in Hell. In Germany a Dominican Friar, Johann Tetzel, is famous for pushing Indulgences for the dead with his saying “When a penny in the coffer rings, A soul from Purgatory springs.” Indulgences were the bingo of the 16th Century. They financed the building of the gothic cathedrals, churches and monasteries. The rebuilding of St Peters in Rome was financed this way. Martin Luther finally put an end to this system.
that Martin Luther suffered from bouts of depression for most of his life. He said these mood swings began at a young age and became more serious as he prepared to enter the monastery. In the year 1527 he had mood swings more severe than usual. He said “for more than a week I was close to the gates of death and hell. I trembled in all my members. Christ was wholly lost. I was shaken by desperation and blasphemy of God.” Luther gave 3 rules to avoid depression. One, faith in Christ, two, get angry, three, the love of a woman. He also recommended music because the Devil hates gaiety. When despondent he sought out the scriptures. Faith and miracles that he found in both the Testaments uplifted his spirits.
that in 1511 Martin Luther was transferred to Wittenberg. Here at the University of Wittenberg he obtained a Doctor of Theology degree and assumed the Chair of the Bible. He also preached sermons in the town church. It was during his early years here that he formed his theology. He studied and lectured on the Psalms, on St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, and the Epistle to the Galatians. For him the Old Testament was a Christian book foreshadowing the life and death of Christ. He saw that what God first worked in Christ he must also work in us. In his studies of the Epistles of Paul he said “Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that the just shall live by his faith. Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith…This passage of Paul became to me a gate to heaven…” This justification by grace through faith for Christ’s sake is for us Lutherans the heart of the Gospel.
… that Luther’s 95 Theses were 95 propositions for debate forged in anger against the Pope and the power of Rome. On the eve of All Saints Day, October 31, 1571, he nailed these arguments, written in Latin, onto the wooden door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg. There were 3 main points: An objection to the payment of Indulgences, a denial of the power of the pope over Purgatory and a consideration of the welfare of the sinner. First the poor German peasants were purchasing these Indulgences and the money was going to Rome to build a basilica as a home for the bones of St. Peter while their own churches needed money. Second Luther felt God and only God had the power to forgive sins. The pope could not reduce the penalties of Purgatory no matter how many Indulgences he sold. And thirdly Luther said “Christians should be taught that he who gives to the poor is better than he who receives a pardon…did Christ say let him that has a cloak sell it and buy an Indulgence? Love covers a multitude of sins and is better than all the pardons of Jerusalem and Rome.” These Theses were not meant to be read by the people but were intended for scholars to debate. However others had them translated into German and they soon became the talk of Germany.
…that Martin Luther was excommunicated? Pope Leo X issued a Bull on January 3, 1521 excommunicating Martin Luther from the Catholic Church for failure to recant his views which in the eye of the church amounted to heresy. Even after this action the Pope was not done with him yet. He was summoned to appear at a meeting in Worms, Germany. Here at the Diet of Worms Martin Luther stood before his accusers and said “Here I Stand I can do no other.” Luther was charged with attacking the seven sacraments of the Church and was to be regarded as a “convicted heretic…no one is to harbor him. His followers also are condemned. His books are to be eradicated from the memory of man.” His followers, referred to as “Lutherans”, rejected this decree and the Reformation had begun.
that Frederick the Wise, ruler of Saxony, became a follower of Luther , and after Luther’s appearance at the Diet of Worms arranged for Martin’s exile in the Wartburg Castle in Eisenach.   Here his only contacts were with the warden and 2 serving boys. To disguise himself he dressed as a knight and grew a beard. Loneliness brought on depression and to battle that he immersed himself in work. He wrote close to a dozen books of the Revelation and translated the New Testament into German. Meanwhile the Reformation continued. Priests, monks and nuns were marrying. The Mass was being said in German, the people could actually receive the bread and wine. People realized the Reformation meant something and this pleased Luther.

… that Luther regarded motherhood very highly. To him Genesis1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply” was in his words “more than a command, namely, a divine ordinance which is not our prerogative to hinder or ignore.” Luther frequently celebrated the blessings of children and the wonderful calling of motherhood. Luther had strong beliefs in marriage saying “but the greatest good in married life, that which makes all suffering and labor worthwhile, is that God grants offspring and commands that they be brought up to worship and serve him. In all the world this is the noblest and most precious work, because to God there can be nothing dearer than the salvation of souls. Most certainly father and mother are apostles, bishops and priests to their children, for it is they who make them familiar with the gospel. In short there is no greater or nobler authority on earth than that of parents over their children.”

Excerpts taken from “The Hausvater Project”

Compiled by Bob Jones


     Guess where Flat Luther has been visiting? So far, he’s been to Disney World, Hong Kong, Take a Flat Luther with you when you travel.

     The best photos are taken this way. Have the subject holding Flat Luther to his/her side about shoulder high. The subject should be close to the camera, not the background. The background should be some feature like a sign or an recognizable object. Setting up the shot like this provides an image with a nice size subject and Flat Luther and a recognizable background.

A visit to Disney World
A visit to Hong Kong
At rug hooking.
At rug hooking.
At Ned Foltz’s open house
Ark Encounter, Williamstown, Ky.
Ark Encounter, Williamstown, Ky.
Heidelberg, Germany