A Man Named Martin Part 1, Session 4

Reformation: Understanding Our Lutheran Church Beliefs

A Man Named Martin Part 1, Session 4

Lutheran Hour Ministries (2015) – In ‘A Man Named Martin – Part 1: The Man’ viewers encounter a 15th/16th-century religious reformer from Germany who broke ranks with the Catholic Church. This Bible study is the first of a three-part series devoted to Martin Luther — a monk whose Spirit-inspired grasp of God’s justification of sinners through faith in the Savior was the cornerstone of the Protestant Reformation.

A Man Named Martin

• Where did the name “Lutheran” come from?
• Throughout history, many movements were named by opponents. The Jews tried to insult the followers of Christ, by calling them “Christians.”
• Roman Catholic Church leaders began calling followers of Martin Luther, “Lutherans.” And just as early Christians considered it an honor to be named after Jesus Christ, Lutherans were honored to be named after Martin Luther.

A Man Named Martin
• Dr. Haemig pointed this out in the video: “For several years after the posting of the 95 Theses, Luther was publicly very respectful toward the Pope.”
• But in time Luther saw the Pope and his representatives refused to consider the matter. He faced a huge decision— should he let the matter be, or change his tack—and his audience?
• Since the matter involved God’s Word and the salvation of countless souls, Luther could not let the matter go. When he could get no traction with church authorities, he decided to take his concerns to laypeople and political leaders like the Christian princes.

A Man Named Martin
• In the book of Proverbs, God gives the following advice:
• Proverbs 9:8-9 – Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
• In what way did the Pope and his officials show themselves to be scoffers rather than wise men?
• What reminder does this passage give when someone under your authority comes to you with a question or challenge?

A Man Named Martin
• Dr. Biermann said, “In the Heidelberg Disputation, Luther starts to advance his teaching of the ‘theology of the cross.’ The idea that the cross challenges and undoes everything that makes sense to us, everything that seems reasonable to us.”
• Luther warned that the Roman Catholic Church was practicing a “theology of glory,” claiming we can know God through creation as well as through special revelation as in the Bible. Thus if someone attained glory or power, they claimed it was proof of God’s favor.
• What grandiose promises have you heard from pastors and TV evangelists who embrace a theology of glory?

A Man Named Martin
• The basic premise of a glory theology is that when things are going well in your life God is happy with you, but if you’re struggling, then you did something wrong or your faith isn’t strong enough.
• Luther argued that God was hidden in suffering. He wrote, “It does one no good to recognize God in His glory and majesty unless one recognizes Him in the humility and shame of the cross.”
• In what ways does human reason find Jesus’ humiliating death on the cross senseless and even foolish?
• Why does human reason think we must work out our own salvation?

A Man Named Martin
• Dr. Biermann continues, “And now in the Heidelberg Disputation he’s getting to the point where he’s even challenging the idea somehow that we can earn our way into God’s forgiveness, or that our good works count before God … It’s our brokenness which is our reality and our need for God’s forgiveness.”
• In Psalm 51 King David finally owned up to his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah killed in battle. He goes on to ponder what it takes to become right with God.
• Psalm 51:16-17 – You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

A Man Named Martin
• Give a modern day example of this “brokenness” David is speaking of.
• The night Jesus was betrayed both Judas, who betrayed Him, and Peter, who denied Him, ran off with broken hearts. Judas turned inward and being overwhelmed with guilt killed himself. Jesus appeared to Peter and restored him.
• Why is it so hard for people to accept there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn heaven, but that Jesus did it all for us?

A Man Named Martin
• Dr. Maier explains Luther’s thoughts as he came to the Diet (assembly) of Worms: “So Luther thought maybe he was going to martyrdom … It’s probably one of the most dramatic scenes that we find in all of the history of the second millennium A.D. We have not only the secular powers represented by his Imperial Majesty Charles V, and all the princes both Catholic and Lutheran in Germany, but also all the church people and their representatives as well.”
• Luther was prepared to be martyred like John Hus before him.
• What do you think made Luther willing to risk his life to stand on the Gospel of Christ, who was crucified for him?
• Describe ways the world is pressuring Christians to be silent and not take a stand. What are some social issues where you think it is necessary for the church to take a stand?

A Man Named Martin
• In his great hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Luther described things we might lose for standing on our faith: “And take they our life, goods, fame, child, and wife ….”
• Christians around the world face this risk every day. Many live in slavery, are imprisoned, tortured and executed for their faith. Christian parents watch their children dragged off and sold into slavery, or crucified before their eyes by radical Muslims.
• What things would you find most difficult to sacrifice for your faith?

A Man Named Martin
• The conclusion of Luther’s final stanza explains why Christians are willing to take that stand and sacrifice all: “Though these all be gone, our vict’ry has been won; the Kingdom ours remaineth.”
• Jesus said it this way in Matthew 10:26, 28 – “Have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be made known. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”