In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God.All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.In him was life, and the life was the light of men.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.(John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
Happy 500th Reformation Day! The Reformation did not begin with Luther. Rather it can be traced back as far as 1200 A.D. with Peter Waldo (who was forced to live in hiding), then John Wycliff (labeled a heretic), and John Hus (who was burned at the stake). All these men realized the Roman Catholic Church teachings were contrary to Scripture, and worked to put Scripture in the hands of common people… which Rome feared would undermine their influence and authority.
After Darkness. Light.
500 years ago Martin Luther posted the Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, also known as the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle. Although Luther intended to debate these issues and wanted to reform the already divided Catholic Church, it resulted in the Protestant split from Rome. Thanks to new technology, the Guternberg press, Luther’s writings were widely distributed. Although I wouldn’t agree with much of Luther’s ideas, I would agree with him on the main issue of the Reformation about how men can be justified before God. The Roman Catholic Church erred by teaching that justification is by faith plus doing good works. That is, that salvation and standing before God is not entirely dependent on God’s work, but by God’s work plus our works. As a result of that unbiblical teaching you get many of the other issues surrounding the reformation (such as indulgences), but the central theme is how man can be saved. Luther taught from his understanding of scripture that salvation is by faith alone. There is no good work a sinful man can do to be saved, but rather it is God who saves man by His grace. There is nothing one can do to improve their standing with God. Even the best of our good works are tainted in sin, worthless to God.
Rather, our salvation relies on Christ who died on the cross to take the penalty for our sins, and by faith, believing in that work that Christ did, sinful people can be justified before a holy and righteous God. The glory for our salvation does not belong to us even partly; but solely to God.
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 ESV
This October 31st, 2016, is the 499th Reformation Day, alongside All Hallow’s Eve (or Halloween).
We owe much to the reformers. Many were involved, most notably Ulrich Zwingli and later John Calvin, but Martin Luther is said to have started the Reformation by posting the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. He intended to start a discussion, but the Church did not take it too kindly.
Martin Luther believed through his study of Scripture, especially Romans, that forgiveness of sins was a gift that God alone could give, and those that taught people could receive forgiveness from the Pope through indulgences (which were used to fund massive projects for the Roman Catholic Church) were in error.
Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money? — Martin Luther, The 95 Theses
Luther hoped he could change (reform) the Roman Catholic Church, but instead he was labeled a heretic and excommunicated. The Church wrote him a letter saying he did not have their permission to go to heaven which Luther later burned publicly.
I admire Luther the most for the doctrine of Sola Scriptura–that the Scripture is the supreme authority. It does not mean we don’t have others in authority over us–but all authorities are subject and corrected by the Word of God.
Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-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, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen. — Martin Luther, at the Diet of Worms
Here’s some Reformation Day Trivia… feel free to print it out or borrow from it for your Reformation Day Party.
1. The Reformation was started by:
A. Martin Luther B. Martin Luther King, Jr. C. John Calvin D. John Bunyan
2. The Reformation started in ___
A. 1571 B. 1517 C. 1715 D. 1751
3. The reformation is said to start when Martin Luther published
A. The Diet of Worms B. 95 Theses C. A Treatise on Good Works D. An Open Letter to Christian Nobility
4. Martin Luther was an….
A. Austrian Monk B. Augsburg Monk C. Austere Monk D. Augustinian Monk
5. In 1521, Luther was summoned before ____
A. The Diet of Worms B. Johann Eck C. Rome D. Frederick of Saxony
6. Emperor Charles V Commanded Luther to appear in order to….
A. Defend and Debate his ideas. B. Murder him during passage to the trial C. Force him to recant D. Repent of his Heresy
7. What belief was NOT part of Luther’s theology?
A. The Pope has no special relationship to God B. Scripture is the sole source of authority for Christians. C. The bread and wine used during Communion only symbolically represents the flesh and the blood of Christ. D. Salvation is by Faith Alone.
8. The 95 theses were widely distributed thanks to….
A. The Internet B. The Printing Press C. The Telegram D. Lots of Facebook Likes
9. 95 is a prime number.
A. True B. False
10. What is NOT true about the 95 theses?
A. The 95 Theses are largely concerned with the sale of indulgences B. The 95 Theses was originally written in German C. The 95 Theses was a point of argument in a scholarly debate D. 95 Theses questioned the Pope’s motives E. 95 Theses were widely distributed thanks to the printing press
11. The NLCS and ALCS series always occur on Reformation Month. They are…
A. Rivaling Lutheran Synods B. Where the Arminian Lutherean Christian Synergists and the National Lutheran Calvinist Soteriology groups get together to debate theology. C. A conference of two groups: the Advent Libertarian Catholic Supralapsarianists and the Nicene Liturgist Creed Semi-Pelagianists where they get together and enjoy food, fellowship, and try to understand each other and resolve their differences. D. Have nothing to do with the Reformation
12. What’s another name for the 95 theses?
A. Disputation Against Scholastic Theology B. Disputation on the Power of Indulgences C. On the Papacy in Rome Against The Most Celebrated Romanist in Leipzig D. The Misuse of the Mass
13. What was an Indulgence?
A. A way to reduce the duration or amount of punishment one has to pay for their sins. B. Self-gratification through wealth, food, sex, or social status. C. The Catholic luxurious churches D. Over-tolerance of others that makes Christians passive toward sin
14. Fill in the Blank. “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from _______ springs” – Johann Tetzel
A. Hades B. Purgatory C. Hell D. The Nether
15. Luther was excommunicated by the Pope for:
A. Marrying a Nun which was not allowed for monks (or nuns). B. Calling the Pope an “Antichrist” C. False Teaching D. Condemning Infant Baptism
16. In 1515, Pope Leo X granted a plenary indulgence which would:
A. Allow people to suffer less in Hades who bought it B. Pay for the emperor to send runners to the mountain to get snow for ice cream C. Reduce the number of worms people have to eat in Hell D. Finance the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
17. At Leipzig, Johann Tetzel was asked by a nobleman if he could buy an indulgence for a future sin. Tetzel agreed as long as the nobleman paid at once. What pre-paid sin did that nobleman later commit?
A. Murder B. Adultery C. Eating worms D. When Tetzel left Leipzig the nobleman attacked him along the way, gave him a beating, and sent him back to Leipzig empty handed.
18. Which of the following is NOT one of the 5 Solas? (pick two)
A. Sola scriptura – Scripture Alone B. Sola ecclesia – Church Alone C. Sola fide – Faith Alone D. Sola gratia – Grace Alone E. Sola caritas – Love Alone F. Solus Christus – Christ Alone G. Soli Deo gloria – Glory to God Alone
19. Which Famous Hymn did Luther write?
A. A Mighty Fortress is Our God B. Amazon Grace C. How Great Thou Art D. When I survey the Wondrous Cross
20. When Luther Went into Hiding, how long did it take him to translate the NT into German?
A. 10 days B. 10 weeks C. 10 months D. 10 years
21. What is something Luther loved to eat?
A. A Diet of Worms B. Waldorf Salad C. Meat Pies D. Jibaritos
22. Who did Martin Luther Marry?
A. Sarah Pierpont B. Katharina von Bora C. Idelette Storder de Bure D. Fanny Crosby
23. What Reformation Anniversary is it?
A. 50th B. 99th C. 499th D. 500th
24. Was Luther Poor or Rich?
A. Poor as a youth and rich later in life B. Poor later in life and rich as a youth C. Poor D. Rich
25. How Old was Luther when he died?
A. 59 B. 60 C. 61 D. 62
26. Which Book is NOT a book Luther tried to remove from the Canon?
A. Philemon B. Hebrews C. James D. Jude E. Revelation
27. Name all 95 theses….
(answer on the door)
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, ESV
A. Martin Luther
B. 95 Theses
D. Augustinian Monk
A. The Diet of Worms
A. Defend and Debate his ideas.
C. The bread and wine used during Communion only symboically represents the flesh and blood of Christ.
B. The Printing Press.
B. The 95 Theses was originally written in German
D. Have nothing to do with the Reformation.
B. Disputation on the Power of Indulgences
A way to reduce the duration or amount of punishment one has to pay for their sins.
C. False Teaching
D. Finance the constructoion of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
D. When Tetzel left Leipzig the nobleman attacked him along the way, gave him a beating, and sent him back to Leipzig empty handed.
Idaho has been having some issues with immigration lately, my thoughts:
Immigration is a good thing. It would be un-American to discriminate against any person based on his religion, national origin, ethnic group, operating system preference, etc.. We should be welcoming to all people with good character who are willing to become Americans. That is, as Theodore Roosevelt said:
In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.
We should not abandon prudence when bringing in immigrants, but judge each person based on their character. There are those who are flying non-U.S. flags, committing crimes, breaking laws, disrespectful, not seeking employment, not trying to learn English, not willing to take up arms to defend America, these should not have entered U.S. soil in the first place.
I, for one, welcome immigrants from any birthplace who have good character and work diligently and are willing to take an oath to defend this country. But we, in the United States, are clearly lacking in our ability to judge incoming immigrants and refugees and need to address that first.
Once we’re able to distinguish between those with good intentions and those who have no business entering the U.S., we need a better plan to integrate them into society. The current plan doesn’t seem to be working out so well. Locating a bunch of refugees together into ghettos isn’t helpful–I don’t see how this will not result in another class of government dependent people and also resentment from Americans because of their lack of assimilation. Let them integrate into the rest of America and learn our language and culture, give them jobs.
Merry Christmas! Looks like a white Christmas for us… It’s been snowing almost non-stop for the last few days.
One of the things I’ve started to understand more this year is Christ’s humility, not only in dying on the cross to offer us salvation, but also in leaving heaven and revealing Himself by stepping into His creation and becoming a man. Here’s an except from our church newsletter:
He deserved the worship of myriads and myriads of angels. He enjoyed unbroken fellowship with the Father from eternity past. He was untouched by sin and human sinfulness. He was unaffected by this creation and its fallenness. He had the conveniences, pleasures, and joys of Heaven. The glory of that place was His.
If He were to leave that and come to the greatest palace on earth, to be fawned over by thousands of servants and waited on hand and foot, it would be an infinite condescension. If He were to leave Heaven and have His every need met, His every wish fulfilled, and receive the best treatment ever afforded a King, the incarnation would still be an unimaginable humiliation.
We started a tradition last year where Eli and I make a Birthday King Cake on New Years day (which is also Eli’s Birthday). We still had to call Kris a dozen times to help us interpret the recipe but I think we did a little better this year.
Eli has gotten pretty good in the kitchen, a month ago I was making Beignet Donuts and I needed a few eggs, I cracked one egg and turned my back on Eli to dispose of the shell and I hear “WHACK!”–I turn around in time to see Eli decided to take it upon himself to crack the next egg and… fortunately he got it in the bowl! So I let him do another one, “WHACK!” …the second one missed and ended up on the floor. Oh well. You have to learn somehow… while I was cleaning up Eli helpfully decided to get a new egg from the fridge and “WHACK!” .. but for some reason the yolk didn’t come out… and that’s when I realized he got an egg from the refrigerator door that Kris had hard boiled! Sometimes you just can’t win! But today he cracked two eggs perfectly for our King Cake.
The tradition of the King Cake dates back to the middle ages. The cake is made to honor the wise men who followed the star to find Jesus. Today the tradition is most popular in New Orleans where the cake is decorated with the Mardi Gras colors–created in 1872 by Krewe Rex. Purple for Justice, Green for Faith, and Gold for Power. Hidden inside a King cake is a plastic baby so as you eat the cake you’re looking for it just as the wise men were searching for Christ. When I was a kid we often visited Grandpops and Grandma Bee in New Orleans and their tradition was that whoever found the baby got to be king for the day… although I think most people have the tradition that whoever finds it gets to bring the King Cake next year.
Here’s what we know of the visit from the Wise Men from Matthew:
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying,
“Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”
And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.
(Matthew 2 ESV)
The cakes are usually made during Carnival season anytime from Epiphany (Jan 6th) until Mardi Gras. The best gluten free King Cake recipe I have found is gfjules King Cake Recipe except I use the Namaste Perfect Flour Blend (Amazon). If you haven’t tried King Cake I highly recommend it, it also makes a great breakfast!