At around 3PM on June 25th a doctor stood up in front of one of the most powerful men in the world. In a loud, clear voice he read from the paper in his hand. 200 or so people in the hall sat on the edges of their seats. Many more people in the courtyard strained to hear the voice that drifted from the open windows. When the doctor was finished he presented the paper to the Emperor.
“Most gracious Emperor,” he said, “this is a confession that will even prevail against the gates of hell, with the grace and help of God.”
The year was 1530. The paper was the Augsburg Confession. The doctor was Dr Christian Beyer. The Emperor was Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire. The significance was that from that day forward there would be two churches in Europe. June 25th 1530 is widely recognized as the birthday of the Lutheran Church.
It all started thirteen years earlier when a Catholic monk and professor in Germany made a discovery. For years he was torn apart because he thought it was up to him, at least partially, to fix his relationship with God. He dedicated his life to God. He prayed, he fasted, he slept on cold stone floors. He did everything he could think of to fix his relationship with God, but he had one problem: He never knew if he had done enough, and this thought kept him up at night, it tormented and tortured his life for years. Continue reading