Every year on October 31, Christians from around the world are reminded of a “reforming” movement that brought back to light the central message of the Bible, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Freedom, Life, and Salvation were again heard as God’s gifts offered to sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Martin Luther’s rediscovery of the uniqueness of the freedom of the Gospel as God’s saving work in the world for all shook the foundations of the medieval world. It ushered in many of the precious freedoms that we enjoy in this world today. It clearly identified and distinguished the uniqueness of the eternal freedom that comes from knowing and trusting in God’s gracious work in Jesus from the cultural/political freedoms that come from public policy and citizenship. Distinguishing, cherishing, and engaging both freedoms is part of what it means to be a Christian citizen in the world for the sake of the culture and the mission of the Church.
Does such differentiation matter today? Is the awareness of the distinction between God’s preserving work from His saving work still important today? Or is it the product of a bygone era that no longer matters to a society so “advanced” as ours? What if I told you that Luther’s teaching, often called “Two-Kingdoms,” is more vital today than ever before? James Madison said as much he wrote about the uniqueness of the American government and its inspiration from the Reformation in a letter to Rev. Schaeffer, Dec. 3, 1821, saying:
It illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.[1https://www.kfuo.org/2020/10/01/coffee-hour-100120-lcms-life-ministry/">Listen here.
Did you know that the Becket Fund assisted The Luthearn Church—Missouri Synod in clearing the way for in-person worship in Minnesota earlier this spring? Learn how here.
“I pray that the love of Christ emboldens you to rejoice in the Word and to speak it without fear of consequence … may future generations speak of us like we do of David, Josiah, Luther, and our forefathers. May our children say of you and me, ‘Our forefathers stood their ground on Christ alone, on His Word of truth alone.’ The truth has set you free. Enjoy your own personal reformation. Then let your freedom in Christ be contagious! Let your life continue to shout: Thank Jesus Christ my Savior! I’m free at last … and so are you! Amen.” –Rev. Peter Sulzle, St. John Lutheran Church, Redwood Falls, Minn., for Lutherans For Life
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