Muncy Presbyterian Church


Text: John 3:1-3 and 2 Cor 5:17

Title: The Importance of the Reformation


I. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of what is called ‘Alternative History’, also known

   as ‘counter-factuals’.  I have in my library a number of books that take civilization

   altering events and suggest what might have happened if things had gone differently.

   A. Alternatives to the Civil War began not long after the war itself, with Robert E. Lee

       once remarking that if he would have had Stonewall Jackson with him, “I should

       have won the battle of Gettysburg.” 

   B. In volume three of the series “What If?” there is an article by David McCullough

        called “What the Fog Wrought” where he speculates what might have happened if a

        fog had not settled in on August 29, 1776 and allowed Washington’s forces to

        escape from the British military.

        1. Washington’s forces had been defeated at the Battle of Long Island and were on

             the verge of being destroyed by the British army. 

             a. Just when the British thought they would apply the finishing blow, during the

                early morning, a thick fog blew in and allowed what McCullough calls “the

                Dunkirk of the American Revolution”. 

        2. What would have happened to Washington had the fog not blown in?

             a. McCullough: “Washington and half the Continental Army would have been in

                 the bag, captured, and the American Revolution all but finished.” 

      C. For those that like science-fiction there is an article about the Cuban Missile

           crisis turning into a nuclear exchange, with Washington evaporated and then a

           response that completely destroys the Soviet Union.  The exchange is called The

           Two Days War.


II. The famous artist Albrecht Durer lived during the time of the Reformation and

     Renaissance.  He became interested in Reformation theology.

     A. Durer: "And God help me that I may go to Dr. Martin Luther; thus I intend to make

          a portrait of him with great care and engrave him on a copper plate to create a

          lasting memorial of the Christian man who helped me overcome so many


     B. When he heard that Luther had been abducted by the troops of Fredrick III

          disguised as highway men, Durer said in grief: “Luther is dead?  Who will now

          explain the Gospel to us as clearly as he used to?” 

     C. Durer need not have worried.  Luther was not dead but escorted to a castle where

          he continued his writing. 


III. What would have happened if Luther had died?  That is one of the articles.
      A. What would have happened if Luther had been executed by Charles V at the Diet

            of Worms?  First, there would be no translation of the Bible into German.  We

            would not have 3100 other publications he wrote that total 60,000 pages. Geoffrey

            Parker: “The Reformation would have been weakened in two ways.

1.      Luther’s writings balanced the different forms of regional speech used in Germany.  His Bible had a glossary of terms that the southern Germans could use.  As Luther’s writing style became more available and in turn readable to all of Germany, the movement of Reformation theology was accelerated.

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.                                                      SERMON PAGE ONE