October 31 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church, the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. In recognition of the anniversary, Brown Memorial is featuring a four-part preaching series, Oct. 8 through Oct. 29, with topics shaped by Reformation themes.
In the first sermon in the series, “The Law and Gospel,” Andrew Foster Connors preached:
“In many ways the Protestant Reformation grew out of taking sin seriously. Martin Luther was acutely aware of his own sin. He followed the church’s teachings severely, yet could not find relief. At the same time, Luther saw the Church monetizing a monopoly on dispensing grace. For the right price, the wealthy could buy indulgences to make them ‘cleaner than Adam before the Fall.’ ‘As soon as the coin in the coffer rings,’ said one seller, ‘the soul from purgatory springs.’
Luther’s great insight was that human beings are not made right with God because of our faith, as if we earn God’s saving with our belief or our practice. God doesn’t demand faith from us as if we could earn God’s favor. Rather, faith and justice (or righteousness) are both the work of God. Both are free gifts…”
Other sermons in the series:
Oct. 15, “The Word Did Everything” (guest preacher McKenna Lewellen)
Oct. 22, “The Polemic Against Adolatry” (Andrew Foster Connors)
Oct. 29, “Reformed and Always Being Reformed #metoo” (Andrew Foster Connors)
Learn more about the Protestant Reformation from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Watch a video about the Reformation anniversary.