New Life in Christ Weekender
A short reminder of events happening this weekend.
Elections and the Reformation
Dear New Life in Christ Family,
We are now two weeks away from the end of the 2012 election season. While I’ve escaped the incessant negative campaign ads (we don’t subscribe to television service), I will be glad to stop my twice-a-day habit of checking realclearpolitics.com for new poll results and editorials.
Especially in light of the passionate views we may hold for our particular candidate, it is at times like this that we should realize how much we have to give thanks for as a nation. The continuing influence of our nation is a testimony to the principles that were critical in its founding. October 31 has a lot to do with that. It’s not just simply a “holiday” for kids to dress up and swallow down unconscionable amounts of candy, it is a day to remember the hammer blow that was heard around the world. On that day in 1517, the monk Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church.
This was the act that started the Protestant Reformation and the act that played a significant role in the formation of our nation.
At the time Luther wrote his theses, the Roman Catholic Church was building St. Peter’s Basilica. In order to raise money for the church, the sale of indulgences increased. The people of Germany were told that “When a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from Purgatory springs.” Certain unscrupulous men were capitalizing on the sentiments of the rich and poor alike who believed that if they spent their money to purchase indulgences, their loved ones would be forgiven and released from Purgatory. An indulgence was a sort-of “get out of jail free card” for many, bringing forgiveness for a past transgression to the purchaser or one of his loved ones.
Martin Luther brought the biblical truth that “justification was by faith alone” back into the theology of the church. He started the tidal wave of theologians and scholars who proved that salvation was found in Jesus Christ alone. No person will ever go to heaven or live in the pleasure of God by rituals or activities done without faith.
While Martin Luther was not trying to start a new Christian denomination, he was attempting to reform the one church that existed at that time. He was attempting to bring the church back to the standard contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the Word of God itself. Where church and civil authorities deviated from that standard, Luther showed that it was better to obey God and not men.
This came to a head as Luther stood for trial as a heretic. Under the obvious threat of death, church leaders demanded that he recant his teachings and his writings. Luther’s response echoes through history as a champion of religious liberty. “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”
Luther’s conscience was bound to the Word of God, to a standard outside of himself. He knew his obligation was first and foremost to his Maker.
Luther reminds us that unless we know that we belong to God, we will be far too easily moved by other, more malevolent, authorities in our world. All of life starts with faith. It’s foundational to any one of our responses to our environment.
The world has always needed individuals and communities to take a stand of conscience against constant waves threatening to bury individual convictions under contemporary prevailing norms. History shows us that were Christianity has grown and spread religious liberty has also spread and grown as these communities recognize that a just and loving God lays claim upon their lives. In knowing this, the power of tyrannical governments begins to wane.
Many of the colonies of our nation were established with the belief that a person stood primarily accountable to God for his life and this conviction entered into the federal system of government after our independence. Knowing that an individual stands responsible to God has a way of defeating tyrants. Sadly, the loss of a Christian memory leaves us vulnerable to the increase of power from other spheres of authority like the state. As we lose this memory, liberty of conscience will be the primary casualty. We already see it today as government requirements are forcing Christian groups to provide medical procedures that they find morally objectionable. It is still recent news that Christian groups have stopped doing charitable work as government laws require these agencies to violate matters of deeply held conscience. All of society loses as a result.
It is a question that individuals and churches must begin to address. Even though the power of our government is balanced through three branches, human nature shows that power will likely over people unless there are people of faith to show us where our first obligations lie. The biggest threat that our nation faces is in the disappearance of moral fiber that only a rightly informed conscience can produce.
Esther Musical Schedule
We are very excited to present our 2012 musical “Esther: For Such a Time as This”. While tickets for the dinner theaters on Friday and Saturday night, you can still come to the open dress rehearsal on Thursday night (start time at 7:30 PM). We also have tickets available for the matinee on Saturday at 2 PM.
Here is the schedule:
Friday and Saturday Dinner Theater:
6 PM Doors Open
6:30 PM Dinner Begins
7:30 PM Show Begins
1:30 PM Doors Open
2:00 PM Show Begins
Thursday Open Dress Rehearsal
7:00 PM Doors Open
7:30 PM Show Begins
- Sunday School – 9 AM (see our web page for a list of classes)
- Worship Service – 10 AM – Pastor Doug Preaching
- Reformation Service at Hope of Christ Presbytery Church (Colonial Forge High School) – 6 PM
This is a special combined service with Hope of Christ Presbyterian Church and New City Fellowship. Come and worship as we reflect on the Reformation Conviction of “sola Christus” – Salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Hope of Christ is hosting us at Colonial Forge High School at 6 PM. The address for the church is 550 Courthouse Road Stafford, VA 22554.
- NO Junior and Senior High Youth Groups – Not meeting this week due to Reformation Service
- NO Intercessory Prayer– Not meeting this week due to Reformation Service