As we enter into October we are mindful, as Lutherans, that Reformation Sunday is just around the corner. We are no longer celebrating milestone Reformation years, but perhaps in 2030 our church body will once again celebrate with gusto the 500th Anniversary of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession. The Augsburg Confession, also known as the Augustan Confession or the Augustana from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Protestant Reformation. June 25, 1530 is the date when the Augsburg Confession was presented to Emperor Charles V by the German Princes. Many Reformations will pass between now and then, so, we’ll see what happens.
I don’t know about you, but I remember in 2017 watching a PBS special on Martin Luther for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and being struck by a particular quote from Luther. The quote was in regards to what Luther thought his followers should be called. He, or more precisely the character playing Luther responded by saying, “The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone.” The primary focus of Luther was getting back to what the Bible taught about the Christian faith, not getting the praise for starting a large movement. I think this is a good reminder for all of us.
So, now you are thinking, “Pastor, wants us to change the name of our church!” Before you get too far ahead of me, I am NOT suggesting we do that. But I am suggesting that we give God the glory, Soli Deo Gloria, in all that we do and point to his love in Christ, Solus Christus, and grace, sola gracia, as the reason for our hope and the reason why we serve our neighbor. I am suggesting that we always stand on scripture, sola scriptura, as Luther did and that we always proclaim to the world that we are saved by faith alone, sola fide.
Like Luther, we live to point others to Jesus. He came. He lived. He died. He rose. He ascended. He is coming again. Repent. Believe the good news. It’s as simple as that!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bryan E. Drebes
Pastor Drebes attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, beginning in 1997. He spent the summer of 1999 teaching English to Chinese middle school teachers in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. He served a four-month vicarage at St. John Lutheran Church, Plymouth, Wisconsin, followed by eight months at Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas. Pastor Drebes was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry at Zion Lutheran Church, Palmyra, Missouri on August 19, 2001, and installed as Associate Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas on September 9, 2001. He served Bethany for 14 years. Pastor Drebes accepted a Divine Call to be Senior Pastor at Pacific Hills Lutheran Church in November, 2015.