Ask someone what is significant about October 31, and the vast majority of people will say, “Halloween.” The reality is that October 31 marks the five hundred and first anniversary of the Reformation. A priest, named Martin Luther, hung 95 theses (discussion statements) on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The goal of these discussion statements was to have the Church take a serious look at itself and see if it was being true to the teachings of the Word of God.
Every institution, including the church, needs to take a serious look at itself from time to time to see if it is being true to its foundational principles. Luther believed that the foundational principle of the Church was, and is, the Word of God. One of the phrases that came out of the Reformation was that of “Sola Scriptura” which means “Scripture Alone.”
The guiding force, the “true North,” for the Church is the Word of God and the Word of God alone. The Church’s sole reason for existing is to follow and proclaim the Word of God. Everything that the church does is driven by the Word of God and is done for the express purpose of proclaiming the Word of God.
Jesus’ command to the Church was to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”
The mission statement of Immanuel Lutheran Church is quite simple. “To Proclaim, Live, and Share God’s Word.” Our sermons, our Sunday School, our youth, and our educational programs are grounded in the fact that we have, are now, and always will proclaim God’s Word and God’s Word alone.
“To live,” means that the decisions we make in life, are guided by God’s Word and by God’s Word alone. Living it out means we are kind, caring, forgiving, and loving. The Word of God literally affects me in the way I relate to others, my work, leisure time activities, and the list goes on and on.
“To share,” means that I support those who go to the ends of the earth bringing God’s Word to those who have never heard it. It means providing for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. “To share” also means that I am not ashamed to share my faith, my belief in God with others.
If the Word of God is not the final authority on all matters of faith and life, are we the Church?