Dear Friends in Christ,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Welcome to 2017: The Year of Grace. As we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the Northwestern Ohio Synod will celebrate the gift of God’s grace through prayer, worship, Bible study, and book reading circles.
A few years back, I was teaching an Adult New Members Class. As I covered some of the basic theological insights of Lutheranism, one of the students asked, “Pastor, if you were to pick 1 word to describe Lutherans, what would that 1 word be?” I didn’t hesitate. The word is “grace”.
One of the great gifts of the Protestant Reformation was a renewed emphasis on God’s transformational grace, and the word transformational is fitting. The Protestant Reformation was a transformational event, which caused a seismic shift in Western Civilization. In the book, Brand Luther: 1517, Printing, and the Making of the Reformation, Dr. Andrew Pettegree captures the spirit of the Protestant Reformation by focusing on the transformation that occurred in 4 related areas:
- The transformation of Martin Luther, from unknown monk to Europe’s bestselling author – ever.
- The transformation of the printing industry.
- The transformation of book production and marketing.
- The transformation of the town of Wittenberg.
What follows is a 13-session reading guide based on Andrew Pettegree’s book, Brand Luther: 1517, Printing, and the Making of the Reformation. I want to encourage you to get a copy of Brand Luther, gather with a group of friends, get outside the 4 walls of the church, and read, discuss, and learn what God may be saying to you and your community through Brand Luther.
Let us pray, Lord Jesus, transform our minds to see the world as you see the world. Transform our will to do your will. Transform our hands to serve as you call us to serve. Transform our hearts to love the world as you love the world. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Bishop Daniel G. Beaudoin
January 26, 2017
St. Titus, Pastor and Confessor