I believe there’s too much religion in the Christian Church today, and it is extremely rare to hear the gospel being preached in its radical, non judgmental way. By religion, I mean things (deeds) that church goers are asked to perform in order to stay in a relationship with God.
I like the story of Martin Luther (the father of the Protestant Reformation) , I like to call him as the Apostle to the church! Let us look at his story today, especially how he became the missionary to the church.
HIS QUEST FOR PEACE WITH GOD
According to tradition, a near encounter with death during a fierce thunderstorm was the immediate reason for Luther to decide entering the monastery. He is reputed to have cried out, “St. Anne help me! I will become a monk.”
At a deeper level, Luther took monastic vows in order to cope with a pervasive sense of personal sinfulness and accompanying fear of an all-powerful, all-righteous God. Unfortunately, Luther’s monastic sojourn accentuated rather than resolved his anxiety. Brother Martin fully dedicated himself to life in the monastery, the effort to do good works to please God, and to serve others through prayer. Yet peace with God eluded him. He devoted himself to fasts, flagellations, long hours in prayer and pilgrimage, and constant confession. The more he tried to do for God, it seemed, the more aware he became of his sinfulness.
THE LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL
His superior, Johann von Staupitz, advised him to study the mystics, following their path of surrender to the love of God. However, on self-examination, Luther found what he felt for God was not love but hatred. Rather than counseling him out of the Augustinian order, Staupitz took the bold step of ordering Luther to study for his doctor’s degree, to begin preaching and to assume the chair of Bible at the recently established University of Wittenberg. By serving others, Staupitz reasoned, Luther might best address his own problems.
In 1507, Luther was ordained to the priesthood. In 1508, he began teaching theology at the University of Wittenberg. Luther earned his bachelor’s degree in biblical studies on March 9, 1508 and a bachelor’s degree in the Sentences by Peter Lombard, the main textbook of theology in the Middle Ages, in 1509. On October 19, 1512, Martin Luther became a doctor of theology, more specifically Doctor in Biblia, and became university professor of Bible. He offered exegetical lectures on Psalms (1513-1515), Romans (1515-1516), Galatians (1516-1517), and Hebrews (1517-1518). In 1512, he was appointed director of studies in his Augustinian cloister, and in 1515, was made district vicar in charge of eleven monasteries. In 1511, he began preaching within the cloister and in 1514, to the Wittenberg parish church.
Luther’s “evangelical breakthrough” did not come all at once, but unfolded within the context of his teaching and pastoral responsibilities. However, a turning point came in 1515, when he was lecturing on Romans, in particular the passage on the “righteousness of God” (1:17). Luther previously regarded God’s righteousness as an impossible standard by which human beings were punished. Now, based on his immersion in Psalms and Romans, he came to see that the righteousness of God was a gift to be received. Christ, through the cross, had taken on all human iniquity and desolation. To be righteous, one simply needed to accept this. Luther, following Saint Paul, affirmed that one who is righteous through faith “shall live.” Once he understood that human beings were “justified” before God by faith and not works, Luther wrote, “I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise.”