From the Pastor :: October 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This month we celebrate the Reformation of the Church begun with the posting of the Ninety-five Theses by the sainted Dr. Martin Luther.  On October 31, 1517, Luther posted his theses of the purpose of debating the practice of selling indulgences. Indulgences had to do with the forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism.

According to the Roman Church, the sacrament of penance included the performance of certain satisfactions. These satisfactions would remove the punishment for sins which would be endured on earth or in purgatory (a place on the way to heaven according to medieval theology). Indulgences provided a substitute for these satisfactions. Many people believed that satisfactions and indulgences themselves earned forgiveness of sins.

As Luther studied the Holy Scriptures, he rediscovered the truth that God forgives sins because of the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. Luther said this about grace, “God is merciful to us, shows Himself gracious for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, forgives all sins, and will not impute them unto us for eternal death. This is grace: the forgiveness of sins for the sake of the Lord Christ, covering up all sins.” (from What Luther Says)

Martin Luther was simply echoing what St. Paul wrote, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

On June 25, 1530 (almost 13 years after Luther posted the Ninety-five Theses), this Scriptural truth was presented to the world in the Augsburg Confession, “It is also taught among us that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own merits, works, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith, when we believe that Christ suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteous, as Paul says in Romans 3:21-26 and 4:5.”

Did you notice the date Luther posted the Theses? 1517.  We are only two years away from the 500th Anniversary of this historic event.  This year, in fact, this month, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod will begin rolling out resources for our congregation to celebrate this Anniversary.  This Fall, the Adult Bible Class has begun looking at the life and work of Martin Luther in a Bible Study that will span three years during the Fall months. Our Missions & Evangelism Board is considering applying for a grant that will help us reach out with the Gospel to the Logansport community. Catechesis within our congregation is returning to an emphasis on learning/memorizing Luther’s Small Catechism and we have begun reading parts of it in our Sunday morning worship

Beginning this month and continuing through 2017 and beyond, we will have many opportunities to explore, learn, and rejoice in the work of Martin Luther and the Reformers who followed him.  Our kick-off event is the Reformation Celebration on October 4 (details on the "Home" page of this website) and I hope that many of you will take the time to join in this event.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Dehning