Greetings from the Red Roof Church, St. Paul Lutheran in Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder the senior pastor and I would like to invite you to join us for worship this Sunday at 8:30 AM or 10:45 AM as we celebrate the birth of the Lutheran Church.
When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg castle his sole hope and desire was to help move the Christian church back to Scripture and the authority of God’s Word which takes precedent over our human rites and traditions, as much as we may love them. Sadly, over the years, the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church had become entranced with the power, prestige and wealth they had accumulated. As the expression goes, “They started to believe their own press.” They moved from being servants of God to the people and began to think of themselves as lords to be served by the people.
Jesus faced the same problem and attitude in His day with the religious leaders of Israel. They, too, had an attitude problem. As Jesus told them, they heaped upon the people rules and regulations which they themselves did not follow. (Boy, that sounds a lot like what our elected leaders in Washington are doing to us. We should have health care or retirement packages or fringe benefits like they have. Better yet, maybe they should have to deal with the same garbage they dump on us.) God called these religious leaders to be caretakers of His Word, not corruptors. He called them to be ones who nurtured and helped people in their relationship with God, to know Him, not a source for driving them away from God’s truth.
I mention this sad reality this week because it is Reformation for many of us. In Jesus’ day, He stood against those who had failed in their office and responsibilities and called them “Hypocrites!” In Martin Luther’s day he faced a civil government and a church hierarchy that wanted him silenced and dead, even at the cost of God’s truth in the Bible. Luther was given the chance to take back what he had written and said, but rather than do that he declared, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures and by clear reason (for I do not trust in the pope or councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by Scriptures I have quoted. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me.”
Time moves on but things don’t seem to change. In our own times we have church leadership that has abandoned God’s truth in the Bible because it is inconvenient in our modern, politically correct church and world. Likewise, we have an elected leadership that wants to re-write or discard our founding documents. More than ever, we need for people of faith to stand on God’s Word because the world continues to seek the silencing of His truth so the world’s standards of morality and ethics can prevail.
Our founding fathers understood that as they forged a nation that put God first, our existence seen as a divine gift. As they declared in our independence almost 250 years ago, they did so standing on the presence of God as vital to our existence. Jefferson wrote in the conclusion of the Declaration: And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence (that’s God for the poorly informed) we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. He also wrote: God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are a gift from God?
It’s time we reform ourselves to have the courage to stand boldly in the face of those who attack and act upon our faith in God and His Word. If those who attack through diminishing, discarding & denigrating the Word of God are allowed to go unchallenged, Satan wins and the forces of evil prevail over truth.
Both in the Christian Church and in the governing of this nation, we have been silent for too long.
When they took prayer out of our schools — we were silent.
When they removed the Ten Commandments from the halls of Justice — we were silent.
When they re-write our history and condemn it or fabricate falsehoods about it, denying divine Providence — we are silent.
When they set aside the Old Testament as well as selective verses of Christ from the New Testament because they don’t fit in the world’s standard of morality — we are silent.
It’s time we break our silence and make a bold stand on God’s Word.
Soon our nation will again vote for the persons who will represent “We The People” across the width and breadth of this Judeo-Christian nation. Shouldn’t the people who are nominated to serve “We The People” in all branches of government be willing to stand on the principles and morals that established this Republic in the first place? Our founding fathers established a nation that had “Freedom OF religion, not “Freedom FROM.” Yet, on both sides of the political spectrum, supported by large swaths of the Christian Church, we see a growing trend of movement away from God’s truth to embrace a secular humanism that will destroy us.
Look, I’m not trying to be political because I speak for no party. However, I do speak for the values, ethics and morality that the grace of God in His infinite love has generously given to us for our well-being and benefit. For the one who confesses to being a disciple of Christ, if we compromise our values and morality for worldly gain and acceptance, can we really call ourselves Christian?
At this time of Reformation, as we hear the God-given courage of Martin Luther and others, when we consider the candidates, all the candidates, let us stand firmly on God’s Word as we determine their worthiness to serve as our representatives in government. I want persons who will uphold our Judeo-Christian, God given values to serve “We The People.”
And those are my thoughts.
Pastor Lee R. Harder