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The Story of Martin Luther and the New Reformation
"I, a Poor, Stinking Bag of Dung"
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SpeakerDwight K. Nelson
Since 1983, Dwight Nelson has served as lead pastor of the Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University. He preaches on the “New Perceptions” telecast, teaches at the theological seminary and has written some books, including The Chosen. He and his wife, Karen, are blessed with two married children and 2 granddaughters.
"The Story of Martin Luther and the New Reformation:
'I, a Poor, Stinking Bag of Dung'"
- 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
- Roland Bainton: "The man who thus called upon a saint was later to repudiate the cult of the saints. He who vowed to become a monk was later to renounce monasticism. A loyal son of the Catholic Church, he was later to shatter the structure of medieval Catholicism. A devoted servant of the pope, he was later to identify the popes with Antichrist. For this young man was Martin Luther" (Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther 15).
- 4 Takeaways/Legacies for the New Reformation
- #1—Only .
- Luther: "I was a good monk, and I kept the rule of my order so strictly that I may say that if ever a monk got to heaven by his monkery it was I. All my brothers in the monastery who knew me will bear me out. If I had kept on any longer, I should have killed myself with vigils, prayers, reading and other work." (Bainton 34).
- James Kittelson: "Anfechtung was what Luther later called this grinding sense of being utterly lost. By it he intended the idea of swarming attacks of doubt that could convince people that God's love was not for them. Later he considered this sense of being irredeemably evil to be the work of Satan, who sought to make a Christian's sins, doubts, and anxieties too much even for the grace of God. At such moments just the rustling of dried leaves in a forest sounded like the legions of hell coming to seize one's soul.” (Luther the Reformer: The Story of the Man and His Career 56)
- Derek Wilson: "Certainly Luther went through periods of black depression when he retreated into himself and spoke to no one. He never fully shrugged off this particular demon and to the end of his days would retire into a room by himself when problems weighed heavily upon him." (59)
- Luther: "I greatly longed to understand Paul's Epistle to the Romans and nothing stood in the way but that one expression, 'the justice of God,' because I took it to mean that justice whereby God is just and deals justly in punishing the unjust. My situation was that, although an impeccable monk, I stood before God as a sinner troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would assuage him. Therefore I did not love a just and angry God, but rather hated and murmured against him." (Bainton 49)
- Luther: "Then [one day] I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole Scripture took on a new meaning, and . . . now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love. This passage of Paul ['the just shall live by faith'] became to me a gate to heaven." (Bainton 49-50)
- H. M. S. Richards once declared: "I have only one doctrine: I am a great —but I have a great ." And when asked “What is the Adventist message?" he replied, " only."
- #2—Only .
- Luther: "The wounds of Jesus are safe enough for us.” (Kittelson 99)
- Ellen White: "The lower you lie at the foot of the cross, the dearer and more exalted will be your conception of your Redeemer." (Review and Herald 10-16-1888)
- Ellen White: "The theme that attracts the heart of the sinner is Christ and Him crucified. On the cross of Calvary Jesus stands revealed to the world in unparalleled love." (Maranatha 99)
- #3—Only .
- Derek Wilson: "Within decades of Luther's death... all Europe was awash with Bibles in contemporary languages.... This was the richest part of Martin Luther's legacy. He bequeathed to the peoples of the world a collection of religious writings and invested them with supreme authority (or, as he would have said, recognized the supreme authority they manifestly possessed)."(363)
- Luther: "God's word cannot be without God’s people, and God’s people cannot be without God’s word. . . . For it is the word of God which builds the Church. . . . [W]here that is heard, where baptism, the sacrament of the altar [the Lord’s Supper], and the forgiveness of sins are administered there hold fast and conclude most certainly that there is the house of God and that there is the gate of heaven." (Wilson 364)
- Ellen White: "But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority—not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain 'Thus saith the Lord' in its support." (The Great Controversy 595)
- #4—Only .
- Proverbs 4:18
- Ellen White: "The Reformation did not, as many suppose, end with Luther. It is to be continued to the close of this world's history. Luther had a great work to do in reflecting to others the light which God had permitted to shine upon him; yet he did not receive all the light which was to be given to the world. From that time to this, new light has been continually shining upon the Scriptures, and new truths have been constantly unfolding." (The Great Controversy 148-149)
- John 16:12-13
- #1—Only .
"We are all beggars."
It's a fresh new year, and it's time for a fresh new Grow Groups season! Grow Groups are Pioneer's small groups that incorporate 5 S's: Shared interest, Spiritual touchpoint, Service project, Social event, Semester-based. That's it, in a nutshell! Grow Groups are for EVERYONE—all welcome to join.
Leaders, if you are passionate about something and want to use that to foster community and lead others to Jesus, we can probably help you turn that passion into a Grow Group! Let us know as soon as possible because the deadline to sign up to lead a group is January 21. For more information please email email@example.com or visit pmchurch.org/grow to sign up.
Dates to Keep in Mind:
- Digital Group Leader Registration Deadline: January 21
- Leader Orientation (via Zoom): February 1, 7:00 PM
- Spring Grow Groups Meet: February 7 – May 1
It is almost time for you to receive your Year-end Contribution Statement. Pioneer knows that you have had an unusual year and wants to make it easy for you to receive your Year-end Contribution Statement. This time around, you will receive your Contribution Statement easily and conveniently via email. If you have not recently updated your contact details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your current email address to ensure that you receive your statement. Thank you!
"Military life can be a lonely life away from family on deployment," notes James North, Pioneer's Servicepersons Coordinator. "Military families may have a difficult time in a foreign country even though they are together," he continues. "I spent 358 days (I marked each day on a self-created calendar) in Viet Nam away from my wife and 3 toddler daughters. My access to some of the following material was vital."
SDA military persons may receive complimentary subscriptions to Adventist Review, the Adult Bible Study Guide (Sabbath School), and For God and Country and the choice of 2 journals from Guide, Liberty, Message, Our Little Friend, Primary Treasure, Signs of the Times, and Vibrant Life.
A 2021 order form and instructions are found on page 28 of the current issue of For God and Country and I will post a copy of the form in next week's bulletin. If you have military Adventist family members we invite you to send this information to them.