How’s this for a most fitting 2017 Halloween mask?
500 years ago today… All Saints Eve, 1517… for some entrenched and important people, this would become the face of a true bad boy, the “mad monk” of Wittenburg, an unholy outlaw.
On this very day, 5 centuries ago, this guilt-ridden, German monk Martin Luther publicly took issue with questionable and corrupt practices by Roman Catholic Church leadership of his day. He challenged these leaders, his Church superiors, to debate 95 theses he felt outlined needed reforms in the Church.
Thanks to the recent innovation of the printing press, Luther’s 95 statements of necessary Church change spread quickly and widely. This one man’s ideas shook the world and helped a movement spring forth that still shapes our world — the Reformation.
Among his more outrageous theses: “a simple layman armed with Scriptures” carried more godly power than popes or Church high councils.
Luther’s outlaw status was solidified with many Church and political leaders by his foundational belief that Scripture teaches that all people are justified (set right) with God ONLY on the basis of Christ’s self-giving, God’s gift of undeserved grace.
Not our traditions, not our merits, not our good works, not our rituals, but Christ Jesus alone saves the world. Scary stuff to some, a refreshing wind to others.
Only by trusting God’s grace in Jesus are we freed from sin’s hold and only through this unmerited mercy do we find true peace. Luther insisted on this assertion even when excommunicated and threatened with death.
500 years ago, on All Hallows Eve, Martin Luther began inciting the world to debate and choose whether this idea of “justification by grace received through faith” was blasphemy or blessing, trick or treat.
Martin Luther’s legacy highlights a Scriptural truth for Halloween and always:
So maybe Martin Luther – earnest monk, tough guy, bad boy, hero of the faith – is a most fitting costume for Christian disciples on this, our 500th Halloween anniversary.