This week I've been reading Roland Bainton's book called "Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther".
In the 1520's Luther challenged Catholic authorities on their practice of selling indulgences, arguing that it contradicted the Scriptural doctrine of justification - of being made right with God - through faith in Christ alone.
What was interesting to me was that for someone focused so much on faith instead of works, the works that Luther produced in the 1520's are truly staggering. During the course of just a few years Luther:
- wrote three major treatises (starting in 1520) on Christian freedom, "the priesthood of all believers", Two Kingdoms and the sacraments
- translated the New Testament into German (first published in 1522)
- wrote "On the Bondage of the Will" (first published in 1525) on the sovereignty of God and the limitations of humans to choose good and their inability to be right with God on their own strength
- wrote the "Large" Catechism (published in 1529), as instructions to parents and teachers
- wrote the "Small" Catechism (also published in 1529) for instruction to children
One of the most lasting legacies during this period is his hymn "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" written between 1527 and 1529. Here's a link to the lyrics: http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh110.txt
After nearly 500 years, the words to the hymn remain poignant and incredibly stirring.