On 31 October 1517 an insignificant monk called Martin Luther challenged the mighty religious powers of his day by calling the church back to the basics of the Christian faith. It had some amazing spin-offs not always realised. In collaboration with Johann Gutenberg and his printing press, Luther put copies of about 300 000 of his 95 theses in the hands of ordinary people to read and respond to in their mother tongue, within a matter of weeks. It was the same 95 theses that he hammered onto the door of the university chapel in Wittenberg, Germany. It was a true forerunner of social media and networking, so familiar today. With this explosion in the printing industry, also came emancipation of the ordinary citizen, and stimuli for research, learning and debate in almost all spheres of life – also called the Enlightenment. And with it came the reshaping of society in numerous ways. But at the root of it all was the unchaining of the great truths of Scripture, through translations and publication. People could hear and understand the good news (the gospel) that they are being loved personally by God, and brought into an intimate though respectful relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. In Romans 1:16-17 Paul writes, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.” We receive a status of righteousness before God, and are accepted as his children, purely by faith in Jesus Christ.
Strauss de Jager, NG Kerk