KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Believers around the metro got a head start celebrating the start of the Protestant Reformation.
Tuesday marked 500 years since Martin Luther shared his 95 Theses with the world.
When Luther posted his statements at Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, he meant to start a debate. Instead, it spread quickly and sparked a revolution in that day’s religion.
Luther was eventually excommunicated from the Catholic Church and translated the Bible into German.
“Martin Luther really emphasized the importance of God’s word being in the language of the people, and so translating the Bible into the language of people, groups around the world, is an ongoing process,” said Trinity Lutheran Church’s Lead Pastor Mark Schulz. “Probably the greatest impact of Luther today is expressed by the phrase my church body is using as this 500th anniversary of the Reformation is here, and that phrase is, ‘It’s still all about Jesus.’ Luther really focused on Jesus as the way that we understand who God is and how God is.”
Luther was a musician and linked song with theology. He wrote many hymns, including “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Luther’s simpler songs allowed the congregation to participate. He also brought instruments back into the church.
“Any kind of drums, keyboards, guitars, what we would call contemporary music today, or even singing hymns, that’s all attributed to what he did,” said Eric Thomason, an Associate Pastor at World Revival Church. “He broke down the barrier of what was happening in the Catholic Church. He bridged the divide between what was happening in the crowd, or the audience or the congregation, and what was happening on the platform. Everything goes together, and when it does that, it glorifies the Lord.”
Twenty local churches partnered for a musical celebration honoring Luther in October. “We Sing The Faith” sold out two nights at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center.
“The original reformation event in a sense was very divisive,” Schulz said. “We have the opportunity now as we focus on Jesus Christ and on His Word and His ministry, to be brought closer together.”
Catholic and Lutheran churches around the metro partnered for special services on Sunday, ahead of the anniversary.