// B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER # 155

I Cor.. 16:9  ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’

October 30, 2009

We thank the Lord that Pastor V.S. Benjamin, head of the CLCI,  is home from the hospital and recovering. Pray for his health.

Reformation celebration

Each year we celebrate God’s work through the Lutheran Reformation. The day we have picked for this is October 31st. It was on that date in 1517 that Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses for debate on the castle church door. Sometimes we can lose sight of the fact that God used many others also to advance the reformation of the church back to the Scripture base. There were of course other reformations in other countries. We concentrate on the Lutheran. It was the one that at the time had the most far reaching effect At that time it covered the most territory and involved the most people. Times of course have changed. Now the Lutherans are just one of those listed by people today as Protestant. What has not changed for us, while it has for many other Lutherans, is our teachings. We can honestly say that what Luther and the other reformers who worked with him taught way back then, we still teach today. And why is that? It is simply that the Word of God does not change. If we base our teachings on it, our teachings remain the same.

While we call ourselves ‘Lutheran’, we are first off ‘Evangelical’, which means Gospel preaching. We are the Evangelical Lutheran Church. And to differentiate ourselves from other Lutherans we say we are the Church of the Lutheran Confession, the Berea Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Church of the Lutheran Confession of India and so on as we go through our list of sister churches with which we all share fellowship.

It is good for us to consider some of the other personalities who worked with Luther in the Reformation.

JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN was one. The following is from Wikipedia.

Bugenhagen was born in Wollin, Pomerania. After his studies at the University of Greifswald and his ordination as a priest, he held several posts as a religious preacher.
In 1517, Duke Bogislav X of Pomerania ordered Bugenhagen, who was a lecturer in a monastery at the time, to write down the history of Pomerania in Latin. The year 1518 is the beginning of historical writing of the combined territory Pomerania.
Bugenhagen first encountered the theology of Luther in the reformer’s Prelude on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church in 1520. At first he did not like Luther’s thoughts at all. However, once he had studied it more, Bugenhagen became a supporter of the Reformation and moved to Wittenberg.
Bugenhagen soon became one of the most effective reformers. Besides his job as the parish pastor in Wittenberg (after 1523), and personal counsellor of Luther, he also lectured in theology at the university in Wittenberg (today Martin Luther University).
Other than for his theological opinions, Bugenhagen also became well-known because of his organising ability. He was almost predetermined for the Reformation in Northern Germany and Scandinavia. He took an active lead in creating new church regularities for Hildesheim, Hamburg, Lübeck, Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein, Braunschweig, Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, and Denmark. Not only did he create the new rules, he also established them and convinced people to follow them. Bugenhagen produced rules and regulations for religious service, for schooling, and for social issues of the church. In 1539, he became superintendent of the Church in Saxony.
After the death of Luther, Bugenhagen took care of Luther’s widow and children. Bugenhagen died in Wittenberg in 1558.

There is also JUSTUS JONAS. The following is taken from www.luther.de

Jonas studied jurisprudence and later theology at the University in Erfurt. In 1521 he came to Wittenberg as a professor and Probst at the Castle Church. Jonas was indespensible to Luther while he translated the Bible. Jonas also accompanied Luther to the Imperial Diet of Worms and helped out during Luther’s school visitations in 1529.
Furthermore he attended the Imperial Diet in Augsburg and took part in the religious discussions in Marburg. In 1541 he moved to Halle, but after 5 years he was driven out of town. Because he was one of Luther’s good friends, Jonas accompanied him to Eisleben in 1546 where Luther died. After being the court preacher in Coburg, Jonas was the Superintendent in Eisfeld where he later died.

Another leader with Luther was GEORG SPALATIN. The following is also from www.luther.de .

By 1518, the majority of teachers and students at the new Wittenberg University had accepted Luther’s new theology, which was based on a thorough knowledge of the Bible and the ancient church fathers. Now the challenge was to win the support of his sovereign Frederick the Wise, who stood firm in his Roman Catholic faith, for the Reformation of the Church. Luther found in Georg Burkhardt from Spalt near Nuremberg the most articulate and eloquent spokesman for the Reformation at Frederick’s court. Spalatin has been inscribed in golden letters in the history of the Reformation because of his help.
Georgius Burkhardus de Spalt graduated on February 2, 1503 as one of the first Masters of the Arts from the Faculty of the Arts at the new university in Wittenberg, where he had enrolled in 1502. He soon became the tutor of young Prince Johann Friedrich; he quickly became the elector’s confidential secretary and indispensable advisor in all literary and scholarly matters. He ultimately became the archivist, librarian, and historian who provided the elector and the university with books and journals. He acquired substantial influence over the official business of the elector’s chancellery. His advice was also sought in the hiring of faculty for the university. Spalatin was an advocate for the new university at court, especially since he, as a humanist, was open to the trends of the time and strongly encouraged the new humanist intellectual developments at the Leucorea. Luther enjoyed a friendly relationship with Spalatin and wrote to him of his concern for the continued reform of the university: “I hope and ask of you that you not forget our school; namely, that you will see to it that instruction in Greek and Hebrew is provided.” Over 400 letters from Luther to Spalatin are known about and still exist. Spalatin’s contributions to the university library were especially valuable. Under Spalatin’s influence/guidance, the university’s enrollment was commendably large; the number of immatriculations was higher than all other German universities.
The Catholic Elector’s goodwill toward Luther can be attributed to Spalatin’s advocacy. His role was a decisive factor contributing to the success of the Reformation.
Spalatin did not reside in Wittenberg from 1507 to 1511. In 1525 he moved to Altenburg in Thuringia where he became superintendent. He maintained ties to Wittenberg and continued to supervise the Castle and University Library. After a tenure of 20 years in office in Altenburg, he died on January 15, 1545, one day before he would have completed his sixty-first year. (He was born on January 17, 1484.)

There were of course many others: Philip Melanchthon who was Luther’s right hand man so to speak, Lucas Cranach, who was an artist of the Reformation, Princes such as Frederick the Wise and John the Constant, who supported the Reformation even with their power and soldiers. It definitely was not one man, who carried out the Reformation. So today it is not one man but many, in other words YOU, who are carrying on the Lutheran Reformation’s teachings drawn solely from the inspired Word. May God preserve us in the truth of the Word. May we uphold the Reformation teachings clearly that we are saved: By Grace Alone, By Faith Alone, By Scripture Alone, By Christ Alone.

Pastor Koenig