95 Theses

Happy Reformation Day y'all #SemperReformanda #PartyLikeIts1517

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Yesterday, as a friend noted, we learned how the media would cover the outbreak of nuclear war. It could not, on its websites or newscasts cover the outbreak of nuclear war more thoroughly than it covered Apple CEO Tim Cook’s announcement that he is gay.


Tim Cook is an Auburn grad. I try not to hold that against him. I think he is a terrific CEO for a company I dearly love. What got my attention in his announcement was not that he was gay. I already knew that. What got my attention was that Tim Cook believes in a creator god.

In an age when many in the technology community, tech press, and media in general shun anyone who believes in a god of creation, that was pretty big news.

It comes a day before October 31st. We all celebrate it as Halloween, but 497 years ago on this day Martin Luther set off the Protestant Reformation. This coming Sunday many Protestant churches will celebrate his bold act.

On October 31, 1517, Luther, having penned the “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,” or the “95 Theses,” nailed them to the door of Wittenberg Castle church. This was not an act of defiance. It was how academics and theologians of the day began debate on matters.

A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevaling.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

It is worth noting in light of Tim Cook’s announcement yesterday and today being the anniversary of the start of the Reformation that there is a growing, organized movement in this country to shut down any debate on religion. Science has become a god and we are all supposed to be accidents.


But Tim Cook does not believe he is an accidental swerve in the collision of particles in a vast universe. He believes he was created by a god. We can argue about his view of that god and the theology around his statement, but Cook knows he is no accident. He is made in the image of the living God.

Virginia Heffernan is a scholar at NYU. She was a writer for the New York Times for eight years. She wrote at Slate, Yahoo News, worked at Harpers and the New Yorker, and other places. She is has a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

On July 22, 2013, Dr. Heffernan wrote an article declaring herself a creationist. Again, she spent eight years at the New York Times and has a Ph.D. from Harvard. Critics immediately declared that nothing she had ever written could have merit. Her opinions were no longer valid because she believes in the divine.

Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.

Pope Francis just the other day declared that evolution can be seen as consistent with Christianity and that he believed in the Big Bang Theory — a theory derived from the work of a Catholic Priest. Pope Francis’s statement is consistent with orthodox Christian views held by most Christians. But the media treated it as if he had just declared the Genesis account a lie. Prominent atheist Neil deGrasse Tyson cheered on Francis seemingly oblivious as to who came up with the Big Bang Theory.


In fact, when Georges Lemaître came up with the theory, prominent scientists of his day rejected it thinking the priest was just trying to justify “Let there be light.”

We are roughly 1,981 years removed from the singularly most impactful weekend in human history. The entire history of the world has been shaped by that weekend. It is a weekend more and more of the western world believes is a myth. We are 497 years removed from Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

Christians survived being used as lamps to light the streets of Rome. Christians will survive the present age of unbelief. But Christians should not be ashamed of their views though a loud minority wish to silence them.

There is a Heaven and a Hell.

There were two people, Adam and Eve, and from them come all of humanity, passing through a man named Noah who with his family sought refuge on an ark — without rock monsters — during a cataclysmic flood.

There will come a last day and on that day we will be judged. On that day every knee, even those the unbeliever, will bow and proclaim Jesus as Lord.

We know Jesus was real because we have eye witness accounts of his existence. Two of his brothers who rejected him in life proclaimed him the risen Lord after his death. They were willing to die because of it.

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.


We are all, even those who doubt or deny, created in the image of God Almighty. The sound and fury and screams of those who mock and ridicule any who profess their belief in the Creator appear to be to silence us and drive people out of the town square. But really, their screams are to comfort themselves and make themselves seem like they are a majority when they know they are not. They are like the devil realizing it was he stuck in the desert with Jesus and not the other way around. Faith requires boldness and we should not be afraid to state our beliefs and maintain our faith.

1,981 years ago, the people who laid palm fronds on the ground and welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem turned on him in less than a week. They demanded his execution. They tried to silence him and failed beyond measure. 497 years ago, many tried to silence Martin Luther. Again those who tried failed. They will not succeed this time either, but they will surely try. The Western Churches must engage and proclaim Jesus — not as a cause or a need or a cure, but as a man who still lives and is a cause and a cure and is everything.

Kudos to Tim Cook, on this week of the Reformation, for acknowledging there is a creator and neither you nor I are an accident of the universe.

That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,
thru him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill;
God’s truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever.



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