Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Sr. His intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services. Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from The University Chapel Platform.
Just over 500 years ago, in October 1517, Martin Luther wrote his Ninety-Five Theses, which is considered to be the beginning of the Reformation. For the next several days on The Daily Platform, we'll be studying some of these doctrines in a series called Truth Triumphs. Today's message will be a special presentation of the life of Martin Luther by Dr. Ed Panosian, retired history professor.
Dr. Steve Pettit will introduce him. As we continue our series on Truth Triumphs, Why the Reformation Matters, we are very privileged this morning to have in chapel Dr. Edward Panosian. Dr. Panosian served for more than 50 years at Bob Jones University as a member of the history faculty.
He was chair of the Division of Social Studies and head of the Department of History. He taught church history in the Graduate School of Religion and is considered to be one of the most renowned church historians in the nation over the past 50 years. Dr. Panosian helped establish the culture of academic excellence here at Bob Jones University. With his godly testimony, keen mind, deep resonant voice, and passionate desire to convey God's truth and providence displayed on the pages of history, he has impacted thousands of lives through his ministry at Bob Jones University and around the world. He is well known for his film, radio, and stage performances and has and still is at the age of 87 years old, a sought after speaker in churches and conferences presenting first person accounts on the lives of people like Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Knox, John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon, and others. He and his wife, Betty, who also taught here at Bob Jones in the Speech Department, now live on the back campus here at Bob Jones University in Greenville. They have grandchildren in the university and Bob Jones Academy. So we are honored this morning to have Dr. Panosian come and speak.
Would you please give him a warm Bob Jones University welcome? I appreciate very much the opportunity to participate in this series on the Protestant Reformation as the university appropriately commemorates this year. The 500th anniversary, the Cinquecentennial of anything is extremely rare and few aspects of our Christian heritage have been more significant than this. In these few minutes that we have together this morning, let me ask you to imagine that I am Martin Luther, as I recount highlights in the life of a faithful man whom a gracious God used as a catalyst for a movement which proclaimed and reclaimed the scriptures and its gospel from medieval corruption. I was born an hour before midnight on the 10th of November in 1483 to a family of peasants which had been true for decades before my arrival. The next morning, as was the custom, I was baptized. And also as was the custom, I took the name of the saint whose day it was. So I was named Martin. Soon, reared in a family in which discipline was important, I learned to obey my parents.
They made sure of that. And I learned to obey God as exemplified by my parents. My father was to be obeyed. My mother was to be obeyed. And before long, I came to realize the importance of that discipline.
Soon after my birth, my father leased a copper mine, a strip mine, and we moved to a neighboring town. And soon I began my education, my grammar schooling. In those days, grammar school meant learning Latin grammar because universities conducted their classes in Latin. Every course was taught in Latin.
So you could come from any country of Europe and attend any university, and regardless of what was your native language, you could understand the lectures. I prospered and did well in those lessons. I often sang for my supper. That was a custom in those days. In the town, housewives graciously would provide supper for a young college student, a young grammar school student who was serenading. I accompanied myself with my lute. I had a tenor voice.
You may find that surprising. And enjoyed the opportunity of growth in learning. My father had prospered sufficiently so that eventually I was sent to university, the University of Erfurt in Germany, and proceeded to earn the bachelor's and the master's degrees in the arts, the seven liberal arts as they were known, geometry, arithmetic, music, astronomy, grammar, rhetoric, and logic. And that was the basis of subsequent education. Then beyond that, you chose a major, a profession. There are only three possibilities, law, medicine, and theology. My father determined that I would study law. He wanted to be well cared for in his old age, and he assumed that law was an effective vehicle for that purpose. He provided for me a recently published copy of the Corpus Juris Civilis, the collection of Roman civil law, which Justinian in the sixth century had ordered be prepared. A few of you will remember this.
Very few, apparently. And this was a basic textbook for the study of law. My heart was not in it, but my mind and will was determined to obey my father. I had come across a copy of the scriptures at the age of 20 for the first time in the university library. I was amazed to discover books that I had never heard of in that volume.
Never heard them preached on or referred to. To hold in my hands the entire Bible at the age of 20. Do you have any understanding of the gifts you have been given, of the opportunities you have shared, the scriptures? Many of you from your earliest memories here heard the words of the scripture from your parents. And now I came to realize a problem.
This problem was exaggerated when suddenly a college friend died unprepared, unwarned. And I was conscious that if that had been I, I would be in hell. I was very much concerned for the salvation of my soul. I was a good, faithful young man, but I knew not the Lord of glory.
I feared God. I was a sinner and I knew it. Oh, I was not gross in my sin, but I knew I had not the righteous. And I came to have contact with some of that scripture, which I saw for the first time.
Romans 1 16 and 17 repelled me long before it drew me. Herein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. As it is written, the just shall live by faith. I must have the righteousness of God and then I can live by faith. But how can I be righteous? I'm a sinner and I know it.
I know not what to do about it. Long years afterward, as I was teaching on the book of the Psalms, I came to Psalm 31. Preserve me, O Lord, for in thee do I trust.
Let me never be ashamed. Deliver me in thy righteousness. And I came to understand eventually that it was God's righteousness, Christ's righteousness, which was my salvation, not what I worked up and achieved, for I was a sinner. But God had made a way for my salvation.
But not yet. I had started the process of the study of law, I say, but my heart was not in it. I did, therefore, what university students have done for centuries.
I took cuts. I went home briefly to stall for time, to think about this decision. I was not a happy camper during those days and then had to return to the university, still unsettled but troubled in heart and soul and was caught in the midst of my journey back to Erfurt in a thunderstorm, a violent storm of all the thunder and lightning and I feared dying on the spot.
I knew nothing of the meteorological explanation of what was going on. In our day of superstition, we envisioned the angels and the devils in conflict and God spewing wrath on the earth. I was fearful of dying and unprepared for eternity. And in that instant, I prayed a prayer. Help me, Saint Anne.
I'll become a monk. I could think of no greater sacrifice than that. Saint Anne, because Saint Anne was the patron saint of miners.
My father was a miner. We prayed to Saint Anne as I was growing up. We prayed to Saint Anne that she would appeal to the Virgin, so that she in turn would appeal to her son, so that he in turn would appeal to the righteous, angry father. And we hoped to get some blessing of heaven by that series of steps.
So the most immediate heavenly personage for me was Saint Anne. I survived and went back to the city and immediately entered the monastery, an Augustinian monastery, gave away my loot, gave away my copy of civil law that my father had dearly purchased. And I proceeded now to become the best monk there ever was. I said later that if ever a man went to heaven through monkery, I would have been he.
I scrubbed floors, stone floors that were already clean. I confessed sins more than I had even committed in hopes of feeling forgiven. Finally, I was counseled by a visiting priest who said to me, my son, you are trying to obey God and love God, but you must learn to trust God and believe God.
These were new thoughts for me. There was not immediate help, but eventually. And then he suggested later that I become a priest. I had an education. All I needed to do was to learn the mass and becoming a priest, I could minister to others and be not so much concerned about myself. My parents came to the celebration of ordaining a priest like a wedding for other people. And my father was not pleased. He said, there is a commandment that you have disobeyed.
Honor thy father and thy mother and that you have not done. Well, I began to now minister to the souls of others. I soon was assigned to the faculty of a brand new university in the city of Wittenberg.
And the elector, the prince, the governor of my territory had established it as a rival to the University of Leipzig, long and much older. I taught medieval philosophy and didn't know what it was. Finally got to teach scripture, teach Bible, teach theology.
In the midst of writing lectures for my students, I came to understand the meaning of salvation by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Soon the Pope of Rome decided to build a new edifice in Rome to honor the apostle Peter. There had been a church there for centuries. It was in decay.
He wanted something appropriately large. So he issued a very generous indulgence to the German people to permit them to make contributions to building this building in Rome. An indulgence was a cancellation of some portion of punishment, suffering, which the forgiven sins of a penitent sinner resulted in. The church forgave the guilt, but you must pay the penalty. In this life by good deeds and gifts or in the life to come by physical suffering. No one knows how long you must be in purgatory before you're elevated to heaven. This is a fiction nowhere in scripture.
I believed it because the church taught it, but I saw its abuse. My prince forbade it being sold in our town, but my parishioners could just cross a bridge and not very far away was a town in which they could obtain these indulgences. Now, of course, you did not purchase an indulgence. You received it as a gift in return for a gift.
Figure that one out. The baker, I love your bread. It's so, it smells so good. It's beautiful. It looks, oh, here have a loaf. Oh, thank you.
I appreciate it so much. And to show my appreciation, here is some money. You call that what you will. It's not the exchange of gifts.
It's buying and selling. This incensed this priest preacher. And I, in my study, decided to do something about it.
I heard that the hawker of indulgences said, as soon as the sound of the coin is heard in the chest, the money chest, a soul flies up to heavenly rest. I went to my study and I wrote out a few questions. One of these was, if the Pope has the power to release souls from purgatory, why does he not, out of his evangelical piety, simply declare purgatory empty, rather than for filthy lucre, dispense indulgences?
There were 94 other such questions. They were written in Latin. They were not intended for the people.
They were simply subjects for debate among scholars. They were posted on the church door in Wittenberg. And soon an enterprising printer had them translated and scattered throughout Europe, throughout Germany at first. I said later it was as if the angels were my couriers, so rapidly were my words dispersed throughout the land. In short time, my thoughts and words were transferred from page to souls, and problems resulted. I was called to a debate at Leipzig, the rival university, and I had called for a church council to settle problems in the church. And my opponent in that debate said, oh, you want a council? Well, the Council of Constance, a hundred years ago, burned John Huss for teaching what you're teaching.
I was amazed at that. I thought of Huss as a heretic. The church said so. And so I discovered what his Huss taught, and discovered he believed he agreed with me. So obviously he was right, and the church was wrong, and the council was no longer defensible. And I was benefited by this, but then my writings continued and were enlarged, and I found in my communication by the December of 1520, I was excommunicated by the pope, given 60 days in which to recant, or suffer damnation. When the 60 days were up, I announced in chapel that at noontime we're going to have an event at the town square. And at that event, I publicly burned the bull excommunicating me. So much for papal authority over my soul.
Now, quickly, summoned by the emperor to the next imperial congress, the Diet, the Diet, in the city of Worms, among other things on the agenda was what to do about Luther. Finally, I was summoned and offered safe conduct, which meant that I could not be harmed, either going to or from the destination. And I arrived, was shown copies of all my writings, and asked two questions. Are these yours? Yes. Will you retract their content?
I'm not prepared for such a thing. I came here to defend my position, not to retract it. There are things here I've written that you agree with. You want me to retract them all?
Think what you're doing. Come back tomorrow. I came back tomorrow and said, unless I am shown by clear proofs from the Scriptures and by right reason, not your sophistry, where I have erred, I will retract nothing. My conscience is captive to the word of God.
To go against conscience, thus instructed, is neither right nor safe. I stand here. God is my helper.
Amen. I proceed to go home. In my absence, I'm condemned to death and live for the next quarter century under that condemnation, but died a natural death. On the way home, I was kidnapped by my friends, although I did not know it at the time, and taken to a castle where I spent some 13 months translating the New Testament into German. I made Paul speak German and Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and James and whoever wrote the epistle to the Hebrews too.
I made it available to my own people in their own language. Went back home to Wittenberg eventually. And finally, I must conclude with this. I took a wife.
Imagine that. A monk, a priest, a condemned heretic, a husband. On Easter Sunday morning in 1523, 12 nuns escaped from a nunnery. And three of them went back to their homes. The others came to Wittenberg. And in Wittenberg, we've held obligation to find a husband for each one. In those days, an unmarried woman had no opportunity for employment except as a maid.
We were successful with all but one. She would not have whom we chose for her. We thought that presumptuous of her until when we said, well, whom will you have? And she looked at me.
I'm under sentence of death. I will not hasten you to a wedding altar and then to a funeral beer. No, I said. Yes, she said. And we were married. And it was June.
And we wasted no time. And we had six children and three boys and three girls. Two girls died during our lifetime. One of the sons became a lawyer. One became a doctor. One became a preacher. The Lord helped me to be used of him to restore the biblical principle of a married pastor's home, combining the qualities of the highest earthly calling with the obligations of home and family, which for centuries had been declared unworthy of a servant of God.
God be praised. The time passed, the years passed. I was on a journey to effect a reconciliation among two friends when I was in the city of my birth and there passed from this life into a better. As the patriarch servant was sent to find a wife for the patriarch son, he said, I being in the way the Lord led me.
I didn't know where I was going, where it would end. I was led in the way out of darkness into light, out of ignorance into understanding, out of sin into salvation. And at last in February of 1563 at the age of 62 was led from this life to a better. God be praised. Our Father, we acknowledge thy mercy and goodness, the doings of thy servant as he sought to honor thee. We pray that each of us in his place shall be faithful until thou dost call us and receive us unto thyself. We pray thy blessing on these men and women in this day as they labor in the calling which is theirs now. And we pray that thou shalt guard them in the calling of years to come as thus as thy son may tarry and thou dost give us breath. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. You've been listening to a special presentation by Dr. Ed Pinozian and this was part of the series about the Reformation and its history. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we study God's Word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-07 15:09:26 / 2022-12-07 15:17:22 / 8