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From Luther to the Lightning Bolt

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
October 25, 2021 12:01 am

From Luther to the Lightning Bolt

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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October 25, 2021 12:01 am

As a young man, Martin Luther was on his way to a successful career in law. God had other plans. Today, R.C. Sproul tells why Luther suddenly entered the monastery, setting out on a journey that would one day spark the Protestant Reformation.

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In the year 1505 a young Martin Luther headed back to his studies. After a visit home.

A single bolt of lightning set an emotional bench that would change the world.

Renewing Your Mind is next. What you just heard his podcast real time. That's a dramatic retelling of the events in Luther's life today and all this week. Dr. RC Sproul is going to provide details of Luther's dramatic conversion and help us understand the religious and cultural issues that gave rise to the promised information will learn that Luther didn't really set out to reform the church simply submitted to the reforming truth of the Bible.

The modern city with someone. There is a section above the city that is called the old city of Geneva and in the center of that section is a very large walking park next to the University and the main feature of the park is a giant wall of marble, which is called the Reformation wall in the Reformation wall and right in the immediate vicinity that features several statues and other imprints in the wall itself of the magisterial reformers of the 16th century Reformation.

There's the parents of Luther of Melanchthon on Calvin Baeza Knox Butte server. Zwingli and a few others and at the top of the Reformation wall chiseled in stone are the words that comprise the motto of the 16th century Reformation. Those words are they supposed Tanner brought us looks let me write them down for you. Lest we forget them post time across looks and the translation of this motto is simple after darkness, light well. The question we want to consider initially is what was the time of Ross that suggested this motto.

What darkness was in view from the Reformation standpoint, the darkness referred to what had happened gradually but relentlessly to the Roman Catholic Church during the dark ages through the Middle Ages and in to the Reformation. There had been a steady change of the Church's understanding of biblical Christianity and most importantly of the question of salvation and what developed in Rome at this time was what we call in theology sacerdotal is you may not be familiar with the term sacerdotal is a but basically what it gets that is the idea that salvation is accomplished chiefly through the ministrations of the church through the priesthood, and particularly through the administration of the sacraments and this whole system of salvation that developed within the Roman Catholic Church was what came to a crisis with the 16th century Reformation while before we get into the historical incidents that provoked it, and the persons that were used of God to bring up the past. I will make a distinction that I think is important that the reformers themselves considered their work to be Reformation, not revolution. They did not see their activities as an organized revolt against the church or against historic Christianity, but in many ways like the eighth and seventh century BC, prophets of Israel, they saw their task as calling the church back to the original forms enter the original theology of the apostolic church. That is, they were not trying to create something new, but they were not trying to do a new form, but to reform the call the church back to its roots and to its origin. This morning in the paper I read this section that I read every day that tells us what happened on this particular date in past history and I was interested this morning when I read the paper wanted said on this date in the year 1504. Michelangelo's sculpture of David was unveiled to the public. And I thought that's interesting that that happened one year before one of the most important crises took place in the life of Martin Luther, which took place in 1505 which will look at in a few moments, but I asked myself this. What was Martin Luther doing on this day in 1504. Well, in this day in 1504, Martin Luther was 21 years old. He had completed his Master of arts degree in his studies and had been enrolled at the University in law school when he completed his Master of arts degree.

His father Hans presented him the corpus jurists of that day with great pride and celebration.

So, at age 21, Luther had already distinguished himself with his intelligence and with his knowledge having been reared in the classical educational system where the students of that day were required to be able to speak fluent Latin because Latin was the language of the University was the language of those involved in jurisprudence.

It was the language of theologians and the physicians and other professional people and so Luther's training and his education to become a lawyer served him quite well throughout his lifetime. Luther was born in the year 1483.

You already know that if you've done the math from 1504 and reason backwards. 21 years of you want to get a sense of where Luther's birth fit in Western history. Just imagine this. He was born in 1483. That means that he was nine years old when the whole new world was discovered by Christopher Columbus. How do we know that because we know that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. So there were all kinds of tumultuous changes that were taking place in the Western world at this time, the discovery of the New World was not the least.

His father and mother had been peasants in Germany by the treasury and forest and Hans Luther. His father left the fields of the farm and became a minor and he was successful in the mining industry of the region to such an extent that through his managerial skills and entrepreneurial skills managed to become an owner of six foundries and elevated the economic station of his family significantly but is great during wasn't in educating his son, Martin Haywood have a son who would be a prominent lawyer who would become wealthy, and would be able to care for his parents in their old age and everything was progressing nicely in this direction as Luther in the early years of his education was already gaining a reputation as a student in jurisprudence of remarkable brilliance in the field of law. Now remember that as we continue to analyze the role that Luther played in the Protestant Reformation very much to do with his understanding of law because he took the skill in the education that he had in jurisprudence and applied it to his study of biblical law while the crisis that would change his life. That would change the World Forever Took Pl. in July of 1505 when Luther was walking home from the University and in the middle of the day, there arose a sudden thunderstorm of great ferocity and as he was walking.

Suddenly a lightning bolt struck the ground just a few feet from where he was standing in fact so close to him that it knocked him on the ground and he saw this as a message from God. He was terrified and he cried out in his fear help me saying and I will become a monk of the reason he made his appeal to Saint Anne was because St. Ann was the mother of Mary was the patron saint for minors and she had had a prominent place in the daily prayers within the Luther household. And so, in this moment of crisis.

He called to heaven for the protection of Saint Anne and truth of this bow. He moved posthaste to the Augustinian monastery in the city of Erfurt nearby the University and he chose to enter that particular monastery because it was known as being the most rigorous and demanding of the various monastic orders reflecting the depths of its founder St. Augustine now in his desire to become a monk. He presented himself at the front door of the monastery was welcomed by prior of the monastery came inside and was asked the question that every novelist was asked what do you see in Luther's answer was God's grace and your mercy, and so he was admitted into the order as an office and that the day of his ordination. There is a monk was is filled with irony I think is any moment in the history of the church as the custom was for the ordination of men into the priesthood or to the monastic orders the order man had to present himself at the front of the chancel steers and they had to prostrate himself on the floor with his arms extended his body forming the shape of a cross and he would be garbed in most uncomfortable."

But in this status of humiliation. The process of ordination would proceed. Well, what is the twist of irony about it.

Well to explain that I have to tire the several years ago, I led a tour of Luther's Germany and we visited all the important cities of his life.

City of his birth nicely been which, in the province of God also became the city of his death. We want the Wittenberg retort of the University and where he posted the 95 theses on the castle church door. There we went to forms where the Imperial diet was held in 1521. We went to Leipzig where an important disputation took place that will look at later. And of course we visited our efforts and I went into the church of the monastery there and looked at the site where Luther had been ordained and here's the irony. The year that we took that tour there was a celebration of Luther and portraits and posters of Luther were all over what was Eastern Germany on every church building billboards everywhere with a portrait of Martin Luther against the background of the silhouette of a swan and I wasn't even aware at that time of the significance of that and so I made inquiries and discovered that the reason why the image of the swan adorned these posters with the portrait of Martin Luther dated back to events that took place in what was then Czechoslovakia in the city of Prague where a noted professor in that area had published works, declaring, for example, that the Scriptures alone contain the inspired word of God and could not be equaled by the edicts in the teachings of the church and for that and other doctrines that he was teaching, he ran into problems with the established church and was put on trial as a heretic man's name was John Haas of the Ward house for loose in Czechoslovakian means goose and as it turned out one Haas was interrogated and were not recants of his writings, the presiding Bishop sentenced him to be burned at the stake, and Haas refused to recants and as he was about to be executed.

He said to the presiding Bishop. You may burn this goose or cook this goose if you will, but there will come after me, a swan whom you will not be able to silence and that story became widely known throughout your and so when Luther appeared on the scene.

He was welcomed as the prophetic fulfillment of John Ross's idea of the swan who would come. Hence the posters against the background of the swan, but where's the irony is the Army when Luther presented himself ordination. The chancel steps the monastery and Erford, and he lie on the ground with his arms outstretched, he was right in front of the altar and buried in front of the altar under the stones of the chapel was the Bishop who condemned John Haas to death. I like the rewrite history little bit, embellish it. That's the preacher's prerogative anyway. I like to think that when John Haas said to the bishop you may burn cook this goose, but there will come swan whom you will not be able to silence. I like to think that the bishop said to us over my dead body.

But as I say that's what I wish would have been the record of history, but I am embellishing the history somewhat well. It would seem, in the early years of Luther that he tended to have a crisis of some sort that would take place about every five years. First of all, the crisis in 1505 with the lightning bolt. I like the call that the lightning bolt to change the world, but he also had another crisis in 1510, when he made a visit to Rome and still 1/3 crisis in 1515, when he had his famous tower experience where he understood the gospel for the first time in his life.

But first we have to understand what happened to him when he entered the monastery.

Things were not good at home. Father Hans was furious with his son for disappointing him by not pursuing his location and career in law, Luther himself when he entered the monastery filed to become the best monk that he could possibly be the later on, would reflect and say if anyone was ever going to make it to heaven through monk array. It was I and so in the years of his novitiate and later on as a fully ordained monk. He went through the rigorous schedule that was the monastic life. The prayer several intervals during the day and that had an impact on his life because he was a disciplined man of prayer as long as he lived. But not only that there was a process of daily confessional. Every monk had a father confessor they had to meet with every day. As a matter of religious discipline and Luther gave nothing but vaccination to his father confessor and the other authorities in the monastery because the rest of the brothers would command father I've sinned in on the last 24 hours. I coveted brother Jonathan's chicken dinner last night where I stayed up five minutes pass lights out how much trouble can you get in in a monastery like so they would confess their sins in five minutes get their absolution and then go back to their tasks in the monastery brother Luther command and he would confess his sins of the last 24 hours for 20 minutes to half an hour an hour sometimes two hours or three hours until the confessor became exasperated with the missing brother Martin then comes the me with these minor infractions. If you miss give me something worth forgetting, but Luther's mind work this way. He was such a student of the law. He poured over the law meticulously, he realized, for example, that the great commandment was the love the Lord his God with all of his might all be sold all the strength of his neighbors much they love themselves.

And he knew he didn't do it first single hour. And so, as he applied the fullness of the depths of God's law to his own life. All he could see was guilt, and so he was driven by a passion to experience forgiveness that was real and that was last this passion was never in the mornings, we will hear more of this story as we continue Dr. RC Sproul series Luther and the Reformation listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Monday. Thank you for being with us and we web Luther's passion to find forgiveness is a compelling thing to observe is and it reminds us that they like Luther, we need to be aware of our own sin and aware of the incredible free gift of grace that's offered through Jesus Christ all week we are concentrating on the events that led up to Luther's confrontation with the church we mark the anniversary each year on October 31. All St. Eve it's an important day to remember because it commemorates the recovery of the gospel for featuring five of the 10 messages adductors Pro series this week that were making the full two DVD set available to you for also making the new paperback version of Dr. Sproles book Luther and the Reformation available today for your donation of any amount. This book is still in preorder, so you'll be among the first to receive it.

There couple of ways you can contact us. One is by phone 800-435-4343 or you can reserve these resources online at Renewing Your while you wait for the DVDs to arrive in the mail. You can take advantage of a great feature in her website. The digital copies of the videos will be added to your learning library, both online and on the free app phone number again is 800-435-4343 and or web address is Renewing Your tomorrow. Dr. Sproles hear more of Martin Luther's dramatic story Luther understood in the deepest part of his soul.

The chasm that exists between the righteousness of God and the righteousness of the sinner and Luther saw no possible way to bridge.

I hope you'll join us Tuesday for Renewing Your Mind

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