Join Christians throughout the world in observing the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. The Lutheran Church of Vestavia Hills is sponsoring a Reformation Celebration at Hodges Chapel on the campus of Samford University on November 15. There will be preservice music by the Shades Mt. Brass Quintet at 6:30pm and worship at 7 pm. Service music will feature hymns that are a confession of a Lutheran’s faith. Luther understood the significance of music: “Next to theology I give music the highest and greatest honor.” Luther desired to communicate the Gospel message that sets people free from the bondage of sin. What better way to spread that message than to teach what we believe through music.
Rev. Dr. Gregory Steltz, who has served as speaker of the Lutheran Hour Radio Program from 2011 to 2017, will be the keynote speaker at the Reformation Celebration. Dr. Steltz follows in the footsteps of Dr. Walter A. Maier the first and founding speaker of the Lutheran Hour ministry that gained worldwide popularity in the 30’s and 40’s with the largest radio audience of the 20th century. The Lutheran Hour has a current audience of over 1 million listeners, airing on more than 1,600 stations across North America as well as the Armed Forces network.
Dr. Martin Luther gave the Reformation its impetus when he nailed the 95 theses to the church door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. These theses called the church leaders to discuss major teachings of the church that Luther believed were contrary to Scripture and to stop the unbiblical practice of selling indulgences which the common people were led to believe shorten time in purgatory and even forgave sins. As a young man, Luther had an obsessive fear that he stood under the judgment of a harsh God, “my sin lay heavy night and day” he wrote. In his study of Scripture, he discovered that a person’s relationship with God was a total gift – it is by grace through faith in what Jesus accomplished on the cross that a person stands justified before God. Man is not saved by doing good works but by the good work that Jesus did when He died on the cross for the sins of the world. Luther taught that God does not need our good works but our neighbor does. Good works are the evidence that the person is walking and living in a faith relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther’s reforms focused on these three solas: sola scriptura, sola gratica, and sola fide. Scripture alone is the source of teaching and doctrine; grace alone is responsible for sins forgiven; faith alone receives the gift of a relationship with God for now and in eternity.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
-Rev. J. Mark Kuehnert