Where the Battle Rages
Viewpoint of Mark Cadwallader, Creation Moments Board Chairman
The date: October 31, 1517. The place: Germany. The event: Martin Luther, as tradition has it, nails his famous 95 Theses – a "Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" – to the Wittenberg church door.
Luther felt compelled to expose the fraud that was being sold to people and issued a challenge to anyone who was willing to discuss the theses in a scholarly debate. Within two months, his 95 Theses had been published all over Europe. Luther unknowingly had launched the Protestant Reformation – which also led to reform in the Roman Catholic Church.
In Luther's day, the Church's sale of certificates of "indulgence", promising to forgive all sins, had become a lucrative means to raise funds – offering spiritual merits, not in exchange for faith and confession as the Bible says, but in exchange for money. It was strengthened by the unscriptural teaching that the dead had to expiate their sins in the flames of purgatory before passing to paradise. As Johann Tetzel, the chief seller of indulgences, proclaimed to the crowds, "When a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs." Luther was outraged at the corruption of what the Bible says is a free gift from God.
The Protestant Reformation rallied enormous changes, both religious and social – including the decline of Feudalism, the rise of the Scientific Revolution, and the ascendancy of Western Civilization. To commemorate the history-making event, many Christians celebrate Reformation Sunday on the last Sunday of October.
This month is also Pastor Appreciation Month, with some churches celebrating Pastor Appreciation Sunday on the second Sunday of October. The nature of the service provided by pastors is unique. God has entrusted to them one of the most precious of assignments — the spiritual well-being of believers.
Pastoral responsibility for his flock is what actually sparked Martin Luther's actions with the 95 Theses. Some of his parishioners who had traveled to another town to purchase indulgences, came to confession and presented the certificates, claiming they no longer had to repent of their sins. Luther was furious that his flock had been sold a "lie" by the Church that obstructed the truth of God and the true path to salvation.
Similarly, we should be equally outraged about the Satanic lie of evolution – as it has also become accepted in whole or in part by the Church at large. Though contrary to the Scriptures, evolution has become for many an obstruction to the truth of God and the true path to faith, repentance and salvation.
God is always at work, reviving and restoring His Church in all generations when it goes astray. And He is at work now in the modern creationist movement. Almost 50 years ago, Creation Moments became an important part of that movement, founded as we were in 1963 by Lutheran Minister Walter Lang. Here is a battle in which the Church must be engaged, for it is the point on which our materialistic/naturalistic and humanistic culture turns.
As Luther put it, "If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest expression every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point."
Martin Luther saw the biblical revelation to be foundational and quite clear about creation. And in his pithy way he told the skeptics, "When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days. But if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are."
Luther stressed the biblical view that the Word was God's instrument of creation, the Word which spoke things into existence and the Word which became flesh to win our salvation. In raising the text of Scripture to the level of highest authority in all things … and using reason as a servant captive to Scripture … Luther's was part of that view which gave birth to modern science – founded in the West by biblical creationists!
In the modern age, historic mainline denominations have been battling over biblical interpretation for many years now. Liberal theologians have insisted that the Church must adapt its doctrines to modern thinking, particularly the claims of "science" which seem to contradict the Scriptures. Evolution is, of course, the underlying problem for them.
Their whole system of theology is adapted to it – for they teach that as history displays the "evolution" of biology, so history also displays the "evolution" of human society and of religion itself. But, in fact, most of what we see looking back at things is devolution, not evolution – including devolution of societies and religion. We often see decay of original capabilities, devolution of people and societies to debased states. Yet, evolutionism continues to have such a hold on modern culture that the term has become ingrained, and people use it often to simply mean "change" or "progress"!
Loose interpretation – and in some cases complete disregard – for Scripture is paralleled by similar disregard and loose interpretation in the political world. Those who see fit to disregard the Scriptures are often the same as those who see fit to disregard "original intent" by America's founders who wrote the Constitution of the United States. I suppose if it is easy to reinterpret the Bible, it is also easy to reinterpret and consider the Constitution as meaning whatever you want it to mean for your purposes and times!
The point is that acceptance of evolutionism is the root of so much damaging and destructive relativistic thinking in our day. Thus, the need continues mightily to expose the fraud of evolution! Martin Luther's example still holds for us today. At Creation Moments, we work to expose this fraud to the light of truth. And we are thankful for your help in this battle. We don't want to be on the sidelines of "where the battle rages", and we don't want you to be either! This month you can help especially by thanking your pastor for his service in the Lord's work and by suggesting that he utilize any number of resources available from Creation Moments – such as our popular Church Bulletin Inserts. Thank you for your prayers and financial support. God bless you!