Happy Reformation Day!
Reformation Reflections: So it was October 31, 1517, when a German monk, priest, and university professor marched on Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and he nailed a piece of paper to the church door. That hammer's pounding on the church door is still heard today in 2019. It was not just any piece of paper; it was a piece of paper, which changed the world forever. That German was Martin Luther and that piece of paper was the famous 95 Theses. The world would never be the same after that fateful day. The Holy Catholic Church started to break a part into different traditions. There were Lutherans, Anglicans, and Calvinists aka Reformed Christians, who left the church of their youth and they read The Holy Bible in their native tongues; German, English, and French. Even though it was not Martin Luther's intention to divide Christianity into three more traditions, that was the sad reality of the Reformation. Luther only wanted to reform the Holy Catholic Church and he even wrote kindly of Pope Leo X and of his office of Pope in The 95 Theses. Pope Leo X sadly did not share Martin Luther's concerns, so the pope condemned Luther as a heretic in the Papal Bull.
So what was the problem or what were the problems, which Martin Luther addressed in his 96 Theses? Luther was furious with the selling of indulgences, which were scraps of paper declaring the forgiveness of sins or the right to look at large collections of holy relics. Plus Luther wanted people to truly repent of their sins. Jesus said in Matthew 4:17, "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, 'Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand'" (KJV 1611). Repentance comes from True Faith in Holy Trinity as the one True God and in Jesus' Universal Atonement of every single person's sins. You and I both deserve to burn in Hell and to have Satan and his demons torment us day and night, as we are on fire for all eternity, because we are sinners and we murdered Jesus by sinning. However, praise be to Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, we have been objectively justified for our sins aka atoned for our sins by Jesus. After we experience water Baptism and we believe, that Jesus died and resurrected for us, and we confess the Holy Trinity to be the one True God, we can repent of our sins, because we are saved by water Baptism and Faith. We must be subjectively justified by both Grace and Faith in order to be saved.
Martin Luther also wanted people to confess their sins both directly to Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and even to their pastors, who speak the Word of Absolution to them. Confession of sins is both a private matter between a penitent sinner and the Triune God and it also a time of counseling with one's pastor. A person does not need to confess their sins to a pastor, but there is nothing wrong with it either. Confessing one's sins to their pastor is gift from the Holy Trinity. The pastor speaks Jesus' Words to the penitent sinner, "I forgive you of all of your sins." Confession with the pastor happens both at the beginning of Lutheran Masses and in private with the pastor. During the Mass, Confession and Absolution Liturgy is spoken by both the pastor and the congregation. Although the sins are not revealed to the pastor or any of the other people, since there is usually a few moments to reflect on one's sins. The people are forgiven and they are free to eat the literal Body of Jesus and and drink the literal Blood of Jesus.
Even though only verses 8, 9, and 10 are used in the Confession and Absolution Liturgy of Lutheran Masses, let us look at all of 1 John Chapter 1:
"1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life; 2 (For the Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That, which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 5 This then is the Message, which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say, that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say, that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us" (KJV 1611).
Confess your sins and live out your Baptismal Life in both Grace and Faith. If you have not experienced water Baptism yet, then you need to have this life changing experience, so you can be saved, receive the Holy Spirit, and have Faith in the Holy Trinity. Even though you are a sinner, once you experience water Baptism, you are saved and you are a Christian. You sadly can lose your Salvation by not reading or listening to the Word of God and the preaching of this Word and by refusing to take the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Hopefully you never lose it. Amen!
November 2019 Book Signings: My 2019 Christmas Book Signings will take place in November 2019 and December 2019.
1. I’ll be having a book signing at the Ottoville Rosary Altar Society Craft Show on Saturday November 2, 2019 from 9 AM to 2 PM at the Ottoville Parish Center in Ottoville, Ohio.
2. I’ll be having a book signing at the Holiday Art Bizarre in the St. Marys Union Hall in St. Marys, Ohio on Thursday November 7, 2019 from 5 PM to 6 PM.
3. I'll be having a book signing at The Menagerie at 1178 Indiana Avenue in the St. Marys Business Complex in the St. Marys, Ohio on Saturday November 9, 2019 from 11 AM to 5 PM.
4. I'll be having a book signing at the Eastgate Hallmark Store in Lima, Ohio on Saturday November 16, 2019 from 11 AM to 1 PM.
5. I’ll be having a book signing at Jen’s Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) on High Street in between Circle K Gas Station and Zion Lutheran Church (NALC) on Santa Claus Saturday 2019 (November 23, 2019) from 11 AM to 3 PM.
6. I’ll be having a book signing at Jen’s Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) on High Street in between Circle K Gas Station and Zion Lutheran Church (NALC) on Black Friday 2019 (November 29, 2019) from noon to 6 PM.
7. I'll be having a book signing at the 2019 Holiday Showcase Craft and Vendor Show at The Centre at 601 N. Main Street in Bluffton, Ohio on Small Business Saturday 2019 (November 30, 2019).
General Rule About Book Signings: I’ll be signing copies of my Christian romance novels The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 1 and The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 2 and my Greek and Roman Mythology book A Survey of Classical Mythology at all of my book signings. More books are coming soon! :)
Stores Carrying My Books: My new books, which I’ve written and published, are also available at the following stores: Brunner News Agency on Flanders Avenue in Lima, Ohio, Jen’s Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) on High Street in St. Marys, Ohio, The Menagerie at 1178 Indiana Avenue in the St. Marys Business Complex in St. Marys, Ohio, Readmore Hallmark Stores out at Eastgate Plaza and on Elm Street in Lima, Ohio, Wagner’s IGA Grocery Store in Minster, Ohio, in the Book Mart section of ohiobookmart.com, and in the Shop section of my website ohioirishlutheranpress.com .
James W. O’Flannery, President and Founder of Ohio Irish Lutheran Press (OIL Press)