Tour de Force
by Colonel Richard
Reformation 500: Here We
“The Kingdom of God has been forcefully advancing,
forceful lay hold of it.”
Jesus, without flinching, it seems, joins the forceful advance
of the Kingdom of God with the forceful personality of his
cousin, John the Baptist.
Anyone who calls the religious leaders of the day a
‘brood of vipers’ and criticizes the local despot for an
incestuous marriage might well indeed be considered a forceful
In our army, engaged in a real war with real casualties we
resonate with this imagery, this is not for the effete or
faint of heart.
As we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the
Reformation this robust description from Jesus surely applies
to bull-necked Martin Luther, a
tour de force if
ever there was one.
While wrestling with his studies he reputedly threw an inkwell
at the devil.
When formally excommunicated from the Catholic church he
arranged for the document, and a few other papal decrees for
good measure to be publicly burned at the city gate.
Today we might say he had ‘an excess of personality.’
And yet, it is precisely this dogged chutzpah and
forceful courage that God needed to forcefully advance His
kingdom through medieval religious corruptions.
What Kingdom principles from Luther’s life can we learn and
It all began in a violent storm when young Martin, stranded
from shelter, promised God that if he survived he would become
a monk instead of a lawyer
Martin did survive, and followed through on his vow.
An early indication of integrity and character.
In answer to the question ‘Lord, who may dwell in your
may live on your holy hill?
Psalm 15 answers this way: ‘Those who keep their oaths,
even when it hurts.’
Made any promises you need to follow up?
In the monastery, Martin took confession so literally, so
seriously, that he drove his superiors to despair with hour
upon hour of daily detailed, meticulous confession.
No stone left unturned.
ever a monk got to heaven by his monkery, it was I’ he later
wrote. This was
not some abstract, hypothetical game Luther was playing.
Hell was real, and heaven was unreachable.
The gift of God’s grace by faith were soon to be in
sight for this troubled, gut-level honest monk.
Hear God’s good word on the matter: ‘If
we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth
is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all
(1 JN 1:8,9)
Got any sins you think you’re hiding?
Got any forgiveness you’re needing?
On public trial for his rejection of papal authority and
assertion of scriptural authority, standing before religious
hierarchy, university scholars and regional royalty Luther was
given one final chance to recant.
He asked for an evening respite to ponder his response.
Knowing the consequences, he is reported to have said these
immortal words: ‘Here I stand.
I can do no other. God help me.’
‘Stand for something or you’ll fall for everything’ said
Alexander Hamilton and Malcom X.
Hear the word of the Lord: ‘Blessed are those who fear the
Lord … surely, they will never be shaken … their heart is
secure, they have no fear, in the end, they look in triumph on
their foes.’ (PS
Ready to take a stand?
Let’s keep our promises and honestly stand before the Lord.
Now, there’s a
tour de force.
Richard Munn, Colonel