It is hardly surprising that one of the things Martin Luther was absolutely adamant about has been swept almost completely away! He was condemned to death by the Roman Church for, among other things, translating the Bible into the ‘vernacular’ (German language) and distributing them to all. The Pope said that would ‘open the floodgates of iniquity’!
Luther thought that a Bible read and understood by the individual brought one far closer to God than church membership did. That is he did not believe that church membership protected one from the fires of Hell, but that Jesus was the only intercessor between God and man.
The Roman Church was adamant, the church alone was the arbiter of the Word of God and no individual was fit to interpret the Word of God outside its aegis. Luther started a tectonic shift in the way many, many, people worshiped God.
Now, 499 years after his push to ‘open the floodgates of iniquity’, the protestant or evangelical branch of Christianity has slid right back into the arms of the pope (small p). That is the individual in the pew, by and large, feels that they don’t know enough to make the ultimate decision on what the Word of God says on many of the topics necessary to holiness. Most want the preacher/pastor to tell them what they need to believe. This attitude equals a return to the Roman Church before Luther!
Today’s believers are so weak in their faith that they are blown about by every wind of doctrine! These Christians, for the most part, are no way going to stake their very lives on the Truth of what they say they believe. Because they have not been discipled by the church of which they are members, in God’s Word. They have never even considered that discipleship is less about what the church teaches them about God, than it is about what God teaches them about themselves and His expectations. It is a personal relationship!
Discipleship of the type Martin Luther, the Apostle Paul, Moses, and Abraham exemplify are the greatest examples is the only real avenue for the church in this land of plenty to redeem itself. The five hundredth anniversary of the Posting of the 95 Theses on the Chapel Door at Wittenberg will be even less noticed than this one unless personal discipleship is embraced as the true discipleship.
This is not to say that history and good doctrine should be ignored! God Forbid! No but nothing should be accepted just because someone else believed it or because the church vehemently supports it! Remember the Inquisition? No. Discipleship should allow the individual to prove not only to themselves but for themselves the truth of every doctrine of Christ they profess. The Truth will set us all Free!