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Early Reformation Years

Pastor Gary McCluskey
Pastor Gary N. McCluskey

Pastor's Notes
Gary N. McCluskey, Pastor

There is an easily missed point concerning the Reformation. We rightly celebrate the reform movement begun five hundred years ago in a small, obscure German town called Wittenberg. Most Lutherans, many Christians, and others simply interested in history or religion can high light many of the events of those early Reformation years.

One does not have to be a Reformation scholar to retell the story of a monk nailing 95 points of debate on a church door. One need not be pious or faithful to know this monk was "kidnapped" and carted off to lonely castle high on a hill overlooking Eisenach and the area of Thuringia.  Those learned in German or religious history know well the story of Luther translating the Bible into German, thereby helping to create a more unified German language. Many can tout the Reformation slogans, "Grace Alone!" " Faith Alone!" "Scripture Alone!" (yes, that is three "alones"). 

The Reformation is rich and full of stories, people, personalities, drama, theology, faith, politics, and history. In many ways it served to change the Western world and much of its influence lives on.

Yet.....yet....there is a point so easily missed. The point is that was it not for doubt, was it not for inner turmoil and a tremendously tortured conscience, this Reformation may not have occurred. The birth pangs of the Reformation came from a person terribly torn by his faith, his life, his church, and the world around him. The point, then, so easily missed is this: Great discoveries often begin with doubt. Great change and reform often comes not in spite of inner struggles, but because of them.

So, immovable ones, take heart! Stubborn ones, risk something new! Those of us who feel stuck, don't give up! You and I who struggle may be at the doorstep something new, something different, something that can reform at least a part of us and our life.  Struggle in life can be more than judgement on our imperfect life. Struggle can be the start of exactly what we hope for ourselves. Doubt does not block faith, certainty does. Doubt holds the possibility of new discovery. 

A troubled professor ( I prefer to call Luther a Campus Pastor) wanted to spark a conversation within the church. Instead he lit a fire that cleared a way for a new world. A troubled and doubtful mind and heart became a way for God to work God's renewal.  God is never done with us. God can even make use of the walls we construct between us and God. 

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