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“Just so, I tell you, there is joy

From Repentance to Rejoicing

(χαρὰ) before the angels of God over one sinner who repents (μετανοοῦντι)” (Luke 15:10).

by Albert B. Collver III



ith the approach of the 500th anniversary union church and the loss of the Lutheran confession and of the publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Lutheran identity, a reality that still plagues the Lutheran Theses, the entire Lutheran world as well as churches in Germany and most of the Lutheran World a significant portion of the Christian world, including the Federation (LWF) today. Roman Catholic Church, has pondered how to celebrate, The Reformation celebration of 2017 will be the first commemorate or at least acknowledge this milestone “ecumenical Reformation.” The Luther Garden here in Reformation anniversary. Not without justification, the Wittenberg memorializes this ecumenical ReformaReformation has been associated with Martin Luther, tion by having the five central trees around the cross of which at times has caused the Reformation to be portrayed the Luther rose held by the Roman Catholic Church, the as nearly indistinct from the person Orthodox Church, the Anglican of Martin Luther. In the polemical Communion, the World Alliance of The remembrance battles between the Protestants Reformed Churches and the World of the Lord’s Church and Roman Catholics, the image Methodist Council.2 Churches from shows us the times of Martin Luther often determined all denominations are participating how the Reformation itself was in this Reformation celebration.3 Yet of reformation where viewed. For instance, in 1529, Hans ecumenism that does not acknowlthe Gospel flourishes Brosamer created an engraving of edge distinctive confessions of faith because repentance a seven-headed Luther to identify as it works toward unity is nothing abounds. Martin Luther as the seven-headed other than a modern enthusiasm beast prophesied in the Revelation that slowly extinguishes the Holy 13. If Luther were a servant of the devil who rose up Scriptures as the ultimate authority.4 In light of the often from the sea as a false prophet to lead people astray, then tragic history of Reformation celebrations, we should his movement, the Reformation, also must be from the ponder how to celebrate the 500th Reformation anniverdevil. Each age has held a view of Martin Luther and of sary rightly. the Reformation that reflected the zeitgeist of that period. The rationalist, the age of Enlightenment, the Marxist, the Communist, the Nazis, the nationalist and just about 2 German National Committee of the Lutheran World Federation. every other –ism has viewed the Reformation through “Luthergarten: List of All Trees,” 2015. its own lens. The Reformation celebration of 1617, the 3 Luther 2017 International. “The Luther Garden in Wittenberg.” Luther first significant celebration of the Reformation, led to 2017 500 Years of Reformation, 2015. luther-garden-in-wittenberg. “Churches of all denominations from all the execution of the 24 nobles in Prague who followed over the world are invited to become ‘godparents’ for one of the 500 the Reformation and began the Thirty Years War.1 The trees in Wittenberg and to plant a second tree in the area of their home parish.” Reformation of 1817 instituted the Prussian Union, 4 Hermann Sasse, “Ecumenical Anniversary: Ecumenical Enthusiasm,” which was commemorated by the Luther statue here in in Letters to Lutheran Pastors, trans. Peter Petzling, vol. 3. (St. Louis: Wittenberg. The 1817 Reformation was the birth of the Concordia Publishing House, 2015). Kindle location: 5749. “But this 1

Albert B. Collver, “Theological Observer: A Vision for Lutheranism in Central Europe,” Concordia Theological Quarterly 78 (2014): 2.


enthusiasm slowly extinguishes what is still left over of the churches of the Reformation … For all these churches Holy Scripture served as the ultimate authority. This is being lost through modern enthusiasm. Together with the authority of the Confessions, the authority of Scripture is in decline”

Journal of Lutheran Mission | The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Profile for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Journal of Lutheran Mission | September 2015  

The September 2015 issue of The Journal of Lutheran Mission focuses on the 2015 Reformation celebration. The papers presented in this issue...

Journal of Lutheran Mission | September 2015  

The September 2015 issue of The Journal of Lutheran Mission focuses on the 2015 Reformation celebration. The papers presented in this issue...

Profile for thelcms