Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallows Eve

My wife and I have a fairly new tradition that we began one year ago today. It was last year on October 31st that I was thinking about what my family would do on Halloween. When I grew up, we didn’t go Trick-or-Treating but we turned off all of the lights viewable from outside, went into our basement, and played games or had a family movie night.

Now that I have a family of my own, I was not sure about what we should do, but I am pretty convinced that I do not want my children (when they are old enough) participating in the American Halloween experience. So, I was perplexed. I didn’t want to have a meaningless tradition; I wanted it to be significant. I thought that it would be fun to play games or watch a movie, but I didn’t know what games or movies would be beneficial or relevant to Halloween.

I came across a movie that was both historically relevant to October 31st as well as being spiritually focused. I was introduced to the 2003 production "Luther" when hearing audio sound bites from the diet of Worms taken from this film (you can read about my thoughts from the day after in my article, "A quick thought about the Word of God"). It was Luther’s passionate and pointed response to the pointed question looking for a recant on his writings and teachings that made me want to understand more about this time in history, the man, and his declaration of faith. The quote, a dramatic portrayal of what Luther is reported to have said at the diet of Worms, that moved me was this:

“Since Your Majesty and Your Lordships desire a simple reply... I will answer. Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason... and not by Popes and councils who have so often contradicted themselves... my conscience is captive to the word of God. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe.

I cannot... and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.”

On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door to the Wittenberg church. I visited this church in the summer 1998 while in Europe on our “Reformation” College Choir tour with my college choir. I only wish that I had a fuller appreciation of the work that was done and the courage that it took to do this act and back it up when I was there. It would have been a much more moving experience.

Soli Deo Gloria

If you click on the picture of the choir, you'll see a larger version that is "active" and will show you the names of the individual that your mouse is pointing at. Also, if you click on the “Reformation” College Choir tour link, you will be able to listen to a few of the songs...if you're so inclined.


Anonymous said...


I recommend 'The Reformation' by Diarmaid MacCulloch to you if you have not already read it. It is a very good historical account of both the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. MacCulloch is a Protestant, but when writing the book he took great care to take a neutral stance in the text itself.

I did enjoy watching the Luther movie (from a pure entertainment standpoint). I don't agree with every one of Luther's actions or theological views, but I think he did what he thought was right at the time. Luther was certainly right to condemn the popular superstitions, the sale of indulgences, and the power-hungry clerics of his day.

I do think he would be very disappointed to learn that we have split into so many different churches.

EJ said...

I think that it would grieve him (as it does any believer). But the cost of the masses having bibles and searching the scriptures for themselves was outweighed by the benefits, I think.

The cost is that so many false teachings have arisen out of more churches (for prior to that, there was only one real established and large church for false teaching to eminate from). The positive is that the individual believers of all places had full and complete access to the Bible as soon as it could be translated into their own tongue.

I believe that Rome's resopnse to what I just said would be something about how they didn't discourage Bible reading ever and still do not but that they encourage it.

The concern that I have with this statement is the simple fact that it seems that there are far more missionary minded Protestant organizations that are actively engaged in bringing God's Word to those who have never heard it and having it translated into those peoples' languages than there are Catholic ones doing it.

As far as the Luther movie goes, I too do not agree with all of his theology, but as a whole, what he did was the righ thing to do.

sola fide.

Anonymous said...

I didn't waste my time or money on such a movie... It should be listed on the "Papal Banned books and movie" shelf.


Anonymous said...


The Catholic Church does encourage Bible reading. Most of the important parts of the Bible are read during Mass over a 3-year period. The Catechism itself is full of Scripture references for most of its teachings, and we use Scripture all the time in my RCIA class. So I'm not sure where you're getting your information as far as modern times go.

St. Michael the Archangel said...


EJ is getting his info from his anti-catholic readings, I am sure his book shelf is full of such books.

St. Michael the Archangel said...

But where is Luther today EJ? Do you think he is in heaven?

EJ said...

I wonder what anti-catholic material I am using? I do not have any books that are anti-catholic and I only have listened to one lecture about the Papacy that would be considered by Catholics as "anti-catholic".

Perhaps you're right, though. The most anti-Roman Catholic book that I have (which I try to read a lot) is the Bible.

As for Martin Luther in heaven? I do not know for sure. Judging by his confession and what he did, it would seem to me that he is.

Don't worry about Luther, Michael. Worry about yourself. Catholicism says that you can never know for sure if you're going to heaven, or that you can lose it. That is not the teaching of the Bible. The bible is written so that you might know how to be saved and to know if you are saved!

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