a. Without Luther this is missing from history.
2. Luther’s assertive personality made certain that Reformed theology did not bog
down in small areas isolated from one another. Had he been executed the
protestants would have been less united and Charles V would have had an
easier time crushing the movement. Luther’s charismatic personality was able
to keep the main reformed bodies away from the radicals, such as those who
were in The Peasant’s War of 1521-1525. This kept the Reformation from
being “discredited” by the lunatic fringe.
B. Luther’s stubbornness kept the Reformation from being assimilated into the
Catholic church and the Pope’s authority. Charles V desired such compromises
and his execution of Luther would have opened the door for that. Without
Luther, the Reformation might have stalled out (some form of Reformed thought
would have existed due to Calvin but he was not forceful like Luther. Calvin
was more of an academic.).
C. It is possible that without Luther you do not have the later Dutch Revolt or the
Thirty Year’s War. With the Reformation assimilated and Europe at peace,
Charles V defeats Islam at both Belgrade and Budapest. The Hapsburg House
establishes European harmony that makes people less inclined to go to
North America. Geoffrey Parker: “So just possibly: No Luther, no United States
as we know it.” That’s an amazing thought…Luther’s stand at the Diet of
Worms, a stand where he declared that his thoughts were founded on the Bible,
ripples down into history into the formation of the United States.
D. We go back to the beginning of Luther’s religious experience. He was on a
journey and a lightning bolt struck nearby sending him into a panic. “Saint
Anne, I will become a monk!” he shouted. An obscure bolt of lighting and the
thunder of it ripples down the corridors of history to this Sunday at Muncy
1. We can see that we are never certain of our deeds and the ripples they create
IV. That was Luther’s influence sociologically. However, his influence in history is most
important in another way.
A. Durer: “Luther is dead? Who will now explain the Gospel to us as clearly as he
used to?” Explaining the Gospel is Luther’s great legacy.
B. How did Luther define that?
1. Luther: “God sends us preachers, whom he has taught, to preach to us his will.
First he instructs us that our entire lives and characters, however beautiful and
holy they may be, are before him as nothing, yea, are as abomination, and
displeasing; this is called a preaching of the Law. Then he offers us grace; that
is, he tells us that he will not utterly condemn and reject us, but will receive us
in his beloved Son, and not merely receive us, but make us heirs of his
kingdom, lords over all that is in heaven and upon earth. This is called
preaching grace or preaching the Gospel. “
a. That’s the Reformation doctrine of salvation in a nutshell.
V. Jesus was also a reformer in his own time. When Jesus appeared Judaism had