It has been 500 years since a irritated German Monk nailed 95 Theses to the church doors at Wittenberg in 1517. It was that moment that sparked a Reformation of the church and began a movement that has swept across the world. Today there are almost 900 million Christians today who gather for worship in a church that can trace its beginnings back to this moment of the posting of the 95 Theses.
Now should be certain of one thing up front, when Martin Luther nailed those 95 Theses to the church door, he was not thoroughly protestant. Luther was still a faithful catholic priest who wanted to see some reforms in the church. He never expected a full and total break from Rome. The break with Rome would come later when he would refuse to back down from his teaches and his stance on scripture alone. It is from this point that Luther began to set out on his goal to put a bible in the language of the people into the people’s hands. It was what Rome feared the most, people reading scripture for themselves and seeing that many of the church teachings and traditions were merely the opinions of councils and bishops.
Now in 2017 the direct heirs of the Lutheran Reformation and Protestant reformation are sorely in need of a new reformation. I say this because we have in many ways turned inward and no longer speak to a world and culture that needs to hear the voice of the Gospel. In many cases it is like we are speaking an entirely different language to those around us. The language of the scriptures, the language of worship, and the language of the Gospel itself is foreign to many people around us. The church needs a reformation that is going to put us back to engaging our culture, where we speak, worship, and teach in a way that can be understood and in a way that will deepen their faith.
But we also need to be completely honest. The church needs a reformation, the Lutheran Church needs a reformation, in particular the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod needs a reformation. We are arguing and fighting over things that no one outside of the church understands or cares about any longer. We have become consumed with the writings of the Confessions in the Book of Concord rather than the writings of scripture, although those confessions are important. We need a reformation. In some cases we have begun to elevate and teach Luther and not Christ. We are in need of a Reformation. In the midst of all of these issues we have begun to close our ears to any voices outside of the LCMS thinking that they cannot possibly have the truth or be as "right" as our church. We need a reformation. Our mission in many church locations has simply become maintaining the status quo, keeping the members happy and taking care of our own needs rather than reaching beyond the walls of our churches to a world that needs the Gospel. Yes the world needs the Gospel, not Luther, not Lutheran Worship, not Lutheran identity. The world needs to the good news of salvation by grace alone, received by faith alone, declared through scripture alone. If we were to return to that idea, that goal, then nothing could be more "Lutheran". We need a reformation.