Dear Friends in Faith,
In 1981, while I was at my first call, Viking Lutheran Parish in Viking, MN, we had a huge celebration service with a dozen Lutheran congregations joining to mark the 450th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession.
That document was an attempt by Lutheran reformers to defend themselves from false charges made against them by enemies in the church and to convince the church-at-large that Lutherans were genuine Christians and not heretics.
The Augsburg Confession is a critically important document in explaining Lutheran beliefs to this day; but it didn’t succeed in heading of the split in the church that we call “the Protestant Reformation.”
On the Eve of All Saints Day, October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a poster on the doors of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. He intended to sponsor a debate on some practices he was sure the whole church would agree needed reforming. But, the resistance to change in the church was so great that it split much of the church in northern Europe away from the church at Rome over Luther’s “protest.” So, those Christians who supported Luther and the other reformers came to be called “Protestants”!
That reform-turned-rebellion forever changed life in the church like only a handful of other events have ever done. It is an event with vast importance to all the church to this day.