It was a brisk day on October 31, 1517, in Wittenberg, Germany. An Augustinian monk walked up to a church door with a document, a hammer, and some nails in hand. On this historic day, he purposefully affixed the paper to the door. As he walked away, onlookers could see his 95 theses (protests) written above his signature: “Martin Luther.”
In the past, other people had taken similar actions, as this was a common practice to solicit debate on topics of the day. But the content of Martin Luther’s theses struck at the very heart of Church practice. He had but one desire—to bring the Church back to its scriptural foundation. Thus began the great “Protestant Reformation.”
Next year will mark the 500th anniversary of this great moment in Church and world history. It was Martin Luther’s desire to remind everyone of the teachings of the Apostle Paul, who wrote that we are all “saved by grace through faith and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). It is upon this truth that The Salvation Army bases its 8th doctrine, “Justification comes by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I love the old song of the Church, “Grace there is my every debt to pay. Blood that washes every sin away. Power to keep me spotless day by day. In Christ for me!”*
The people of 1517 heard Martin Luther’s call to reform their beliefs. Today, it is my prayer that you too will experience for yourself that grace of God by putting your faith in Him.
— Colonel Kenneth O. Johnson, Jr.