„Martin Luther in his 95 Theses begins with the first theses: „When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Matt. 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” We heartily agree and are blessed by this injunction and command. (1 John 1:9) Yet does not this repentance also mean to change our way of thinking and look at the Scriptures as God wants us to look at them? Is it possible that everything Jesus commanded and said he meant for his followers to obey? The Reformation made great changes and freed many from the tyranny of Rome, yet in some cases, it brought men back under the rule of an interpretation of Scripture instead of simple obedience to the Scripture itself.
Throughout Christian history, the light has shined of those who took upon themselves to truly follow the Son of God and be His disciples, His church. These groups have been maligned and hated by at many times the majority of the professing church. These were simple believers who asked the question: ‘What if Jesus really meant every word He said?’ They resounded with a „yes” not in doctrinal statements or religious literature but in lives laid down in self-denial, obedience and at times martyrdom itself, in following the way Christ went.
Would it surprise you to learn that not only Roman Catholics but also Protestants took part in shedding the innocent blood of true disciples of Jesus? During the time of the Reformation, those who took the words of Jesus plainly were called Anabaptists; they were outlawed, hunted and killed. In 1527, one of these lights, Michael Sattler, a martyr, said, „True Christians are those who carry out Christ’s doctrine in their lives.” History would be silent if it were not for the diligent retelling of their stories through books such as The Martyr’s Mirror, The Hutterite Chronicles and similar volumes.
It is interesting to note that the Anabaptists, along with the earliest believers, took the Lord’s teachings literally. Jesus tells us in the New Covenant that we are no longer to take any oath. James then confirms the literal interpretation, saying in his epistle, „But above all things, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by the earth or by any other oath … that you do not fall into condemnation” (James 5:12). The Lord also warns that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment, and that even whoever says, „You fool!” shall be in danger of hell fire (see Matt. 5:22). The beloved disciple John confirms this teaching, years later writing, „Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). We see that the Lord’s teachings in passages like the Sermon on the Mount are practical instruction on how we are to manifest loving God and loving others as He loved us in this, the New Covenant (John 15:10, 12)
We therefore seek to give 50 Theses to the Modern Church…”
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