08 Apr GS 1983 art 57
GS 1983 ARTICLE 57 – Reopening
The chairman requests to sing Hymn 41, reads Psalm 46, and leads in prayer. He mentions that this day is the 500th anniversary of the birthday of Martin Luther. He speaks the following words:
“Today is the five-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther. We, too, wish to remember gratefully the gift which God gave to His Church in this man.
It is a strange thing that almost the whole world celebrates this anniversary. Various countries have issued stamps, honouring the Reformer. In East Germany even the communist authorities are involved and busy themselves with this event. They turn and twist to fit him into their pattern of social and economic theories and actions. Of course, they will never succeed, for they cannot understand the life and the striving of this great man of God.
Luther was brought to what he said and did not by a spirit of revolution and of turning things upside down, but by the Spirit of God. This Spirit guided him.
He was overcome by the Word of God, and thus he became a victor. He was conquered by the truth and thus he became more than a conqueror in the Lord Jesus Christ. He went obediently there where the Lord pointed the way. In this respect the pattern which the LORD set in the father of all believers, in Abraham, was continued in this child of the covenant. It is the pattern of unconditional obedience, an obedience which does not ask what the consequences will be and what the outcome will be of the road that is followed. It is the pattern of proceeding in faith, for the righteous one shall live by his faith.
The Lord provided Luther with powerful protectors, for He had a task for His servant. And the blessing which resulted from Luther’s work is immeasurable.
Certainly, this brother had his faults, and his understanding of the Holy Scriptures was not without shortcomings or mistakes. Many of his followers capitalized on his mistakes and worked out the points which gradually led to a weakening of this line of the Reformation. With many of those who still call themselves after Luther not much of Luther himself is left in our days.
To us, however, he still speaks after he has died.
The Holy Scriptures exhort us to listen to those who preceded us and to follow their faith.
Thus we, too, obey the command of the Lord and follow His ways, not knowing where we shall end up, not having been told what the outcome will be.
Following in Luther’s line, we, pupils of Calvin, thank God for His mercies in the Reformation of His Church and count on the promise – the truth of which we have experienced in our own lifetime – that whoever forsakes all for the sake of Christ and for the sake of the gospel, shall receive a hundredfold in this life, and in the life to come everlasting happiness, undisturbed joy, blessedness which knows no end.”