Commemorating the protestant reformation – Part 2

Austen C. Ukachi

There are two outstanding legacies Martin Luther bequeathed to the Protestant Church that are worth emphasising here. The first is his doggedness for the Scriptures to sift out and proclaim the truth, and the translation of the New Testament from Latin to the language of the common man, thereby bringing light to them. The second legacy is the exceptional boldness he displayed in the face of public pressure on him to recant his convictions. His exceptional courage paved way for Protestant Reformation.

The Legacy Of The Scriptures
Luther’s translation of the New Testament into the German language coincided with the invention of the modern printing press. As people read the Scriptures they were liberated. “Luther pursued the Word of God above everything. And the more he did, the more he saw things in black and white. Out of an indignation that came from heaven, Luther tore into the religious spirit that had taken all of Europe captive.” Luther was not the first reformer to translate the Scriptures. Other reformers like John Wycliffe and John Hus preceded him. However, his translation received a great boost with the invention of the printing technology.

Exceptional Boldness
The other legacy that transcended Martin Luther was his exceptional boldness. If there is one thing he must be remembered for, it was his holy boldness that enabled him to stand against all pressure of political and religious institutions of the day. Two statements credited to him define the extraordinary boldness he had.

The first was made when he was summoned for trial at Worms, in Germany, in April 1521. He was required to recant his views or face the pain of death. His response was: “Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open clear and distinct grounds and reasoning – and my conscience is captive to the Word of God – then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience. God help me. Amen.” One of the witnesses reported that Luther added: “Here I stand: I can do no other.”

The second statement is recorded in one of his writings thus: “I was born to war with fanatics and devils. Thus, my books are very stormy and bellicose (war-like and belligerent). I must root out the stumps and trunks, hew away the thorns and briars, fill in the puddles. I am the rough woodsman, who must pioneer and hew a path.”

Wanted: Men Of Holy Boldness
Courage is necessary to advance any just cause, be it the fight for social justice, the advance of a political cause or the principled stand for one’s faith. Many noble causes have been sacrificed on the platform of fear, timidity and lack of courage. Where would the Protestant Church have been today, especially Pentecostalism, but for Martin Luther’s principled stand? Threatened and disparaged by the authorities, he stood his ground. All around us today, we see victims of injustice, oppression, at home, in offices and in the society at large, with no one standing up to their defence.

Many of us behave like the children of Ephraim, who though armed, turned back in the day battle (Psalm 78:9). When the disciples were required to stand up to be counted as true disciples of Jesus, they abandoned their Master and fled. This has to change!

May God give us the uncommon courage Jesus had, when He was arraigned before Pilate (John 19:11) Contact: pastoracukachi@gmail.com



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