Tuesday, October 31, 2017
MARTIN LUTHER: A LEGACY OF COURAGE FOR THIS GENERATION
If Martin Luther was anything, he was bold and courageous, so much so that his own friends sometimes thought he was too bold. In giving a report to Spalatin about Luther’s performance at his heresy trial, Frederick the Wise said, “How excellently did Father Martin speak before the Emperor and Estates. He was bold enough, if not too much so.”
It was no time for timidity or reticence. The church was in shambles. God’s people were enslaved to an oppressive religious system that was obsessed with power. The times called for a courageous voice that would not flinch in the face of the greatest powers on earth. Luther became that voice that God used to change the course of history.
Such bold voices are in great need in the church today. There is so much hedging, weaving and ducking by Christian leaders today when it comes to making a clear sound for truth.
For example, I was astounded to hear a well-known evangelical pastor and leader, dance in circles when asked by a popular TV icon if Jesus is the only way to God. Instead of giving a simple straightforward answer, he ducked, weaved, swerved and feinted, but never gave a clear answer to such a simple, straightforward question.
We have heard other leaders bob and weave when asked their views on same-sex marriage. One popular answer is, “We are having a conversation about that.” My question is, “Why are you afraid to take a clear and loving stand for truth?"
Contrast Luther, who at this trial for heresy in the city of Worms, was ordered to recant by what the historian, Philip Schaff, called “a fair representation of the highest powers in Church and State—a numerous array of dignitaries of every rank.” The emperor himself was there along with barons, counts, bishops, cardinals and personal legates of the pope, all glaring at Luther and demanding that he recant.
Knowing his life was on the line, Luther did not flinch. There was no dancing, weaving or ducking. Instead, he boldly declared,
I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus, I cannot and will not recant anything, because acting against one's conscience is neither safe nor sound. Here I stand! I can do no other! God help me! Amen!
We can all be thankful that Luther did not duck, weave and dance around the issues of his day. He obviously made mistakes, but no one could ever complain of not knowing where he stood. He changed history by being clear, concise, courageous and bold.
May God raise up a generation to proclaim His truth with that same spirit of courage and boldness.
This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s latest book, The Charismatic Luther, with the subtitle, Healings, Miracles & Spiritual Gifts in the Life of the Great Reformer, now available from Amazon in Kindle, and soon to be available in paperback. Check out his website atwww.eddiehyatt.com.