500 years ago, a young monk from a small town of Eisleben, Germany presented 95 Theses that set in motion reforms in the church and world. His name was Martin Luther.


Initially, Luther desired to correct some abuses within the Roman Catholic Church concerning indulgences and purgatory, but his challenges to the status quo had generated many ripple effects that soon made him the most popular and wanted man in the Holy Roman Empire. In 1521, Luther was put on trial before Holy Roman Emperor, King Charles V, for challenging Catholic doctrine and authority.


In response to the charges, Luther famously said, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God.”


Standing up to tyranny, Luther became the most wanted man in the 16th century. Some wanted his ideas and writings to flourish, while others sought his life and excommunication.


This German monk turned pastor, theologian, and university professor remains a significant historical figure. “His writings continue to inspire and challenge, but above all in Luther we see the Scriptural focus that man is saved by grace alone (in Latin: sola gratia) through faith alone (sola fide) in Christ Jesus alone (solus Christus)–that is, salvation by God’s grace revealed in the incarnate and crucified Jesus, and not by our works and strivings to satisfy God,” says Rev. Derek Roberts, pastor at Praise Lutheran Church in Maryville.


The public is invited to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation at Praise Lutheran Church (LCMS) with a Festival Divine Service (think lots of red, lots of choir accompaniment to the liturgy, organ and brass fanfare, along with Christ-centered preaching and rejoicing) on Sunday, October 29 at 10:30 a.m. For more information, call (865) 977-5810 or visit praiselutheran.com.


Thank you to Elder Ed Bagley for helping inspire and write press releases on the Reformation.