from History: Luther to Wesley
-- SAXONY -- It was on October 31, 1517, that Martin Luther,
a young Augustinian Monk, tacked to the door of Wittenburg University
his statement of faith that went against the norm of religion.
How could one know that this man would take half the world with
him when he decided to go against the religious authority?
Luther didnt want to go against his elders, but when he saw
the wealth of the Vatican crushing the poor he felt compelled
to do something. Nailing the 95 Thesis to the Wittenburg University
door would do more than just challenge. This call to action was
the nail in the wood that would set people free once again.
Was it just a stroke of fate that brought Luther into the priesthood
of the Catholic faith? Riding on a horse as a young barrister
(lawyer) he was struck by lightening and brought to the sharpening
edge of a pen that would change faith and belief over the next
400 years. While his whole family perished in the black death,
Luther lived within the boundaries of the monastery to escape
death once again. Saxony land would be a battle ground of faith
and fury, and the events that would happen there would bring the
world to their knees. Luthers papers written on the justification
of a mans faith toward salvation would be the one thing that
would touch John Wesley of England to change his ways. Once again,
going against authority happened, but in the case of Wesley he
never left his church. Luther left the Catholic Church under the
death threat of the high authority in Rome. Had it not been for
the favor of those who ruled in Saxony, Luthers death would have
It was the Catholic Church that would open the door, for money
had been used against the poor for the manipulation of religion.
Indulgences were listed as time off from purgatory. Luther believed
that purgatory was not an actual fact but a place created by the
Catholic Church for the gain of money. Catholics believe that
Purgatory is a place that a believer goes so he can be purified
to enter heaven. Indulgences were sold in the 16th Century of
the church to help build St. Peter Basilica in Rome.
The original Bible of the Catholic church was set at 66 books,
but Pope Leo added seven additional books. Two of the books that
were added were the Book of the Macabees. In the book of the Macabees,
Jewish soldiers go into battle with a idol inside their vest and
when they came home from the battle they were asked to purify
themselves before they reentered Jewish worship because they were
defiled by the idol. Thus the Catholic Church established their
doctrine of Purgatory on the fact that the sins of believers had
to be purified before they could enter the Kingdom of God. It
was the selling of religion to build St. Peters Basilica in Rome
that cleaned the pockets of the poor and defeated the idea of
Luther said, "Man is justified by faith only and not by the man
made works of man." Luther felt that Scripture had been perverted
in what he saw in Rome. The selling of a Bishops position for
power was also in practice.
It would not be until 1648 that the Bible would once again go
back to being 66 books. King James of England established a study
by the great minds of England to re-edit the Bible to reflect
only upon the salvation of Jesus Christ. The Book of Seract, two
books of the Macbees, The Book of Truth were all removed. The
final edition of the King James Bible was finished in 1648.
At the same time the new world was building a city in North America
called Hampton in Virginia, and the first settlement in the English
part of the United States would be called Jamestown. These were
stirring times as faith sought a place of relief from the politics
and the money of religion.
Saxony would produce another whos name would not be recognized,
but would be as powerful as Luther was. In Jim Golls book, The
Lost Art of Intercession he speaks of a man that launched
a thousand ships but never left the land where he lived.
The Moravian Community of Herrnhut in Saxony, in 1727, began
a vigil of around the clock prayer watch that continued non-stop
for one hundred and ten years. The watch was begun with 24 men
and 24 women under the guidance of a 27 year old leader named
Nicholas Ludwig, Count of Zinzendorf.
In 1722, Zinzendorf was approached by a group of Moravians to
request permission to live on his lands. He granted their request,
and a small band crossed the border from Moravia to settle in
a town they called Herrnhut, or "the Lords Watch." Zinzendorf
was intrigued by the story of the Moravians, and began to read
about the early Unity at the library in Dresden. His tenants went
through a period of serious division, and it was then in 1727
that Zinzendorf left public life to spend all his time at his
Berthelsdorf estate working with the troubled Moravians. Largely
due to his leadership in daily Bible studies, the group came to
formulate a unique document, known as the "Brotherly Agreement,"
which set forth basic tenets of Christian behavior. Residents
of Herrnhut were required to sign a pledge to abide by these Biblical
principals. There followed an intense and powerful experience
of renewal, often described as the "Moravian Pentecost." During
a communion service at Berthelsdorf, the entire congregation felt
a powerful presence of the Holy Spirit, and felt their previous
differences swept away. This experience began the Moravian renewal,
and led to the beginning of the Protestant World Mission movement.
This Moravian community only contained 300 people, but in their
effort of intercessory prayer they knew the secret to Gods heart,
and it was revealed to their leader in the Book of Leviticus 6:3,
"Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not
to go out." The Moravians believed that the new fire on the altar
was prayer, and they acted on Gods challenge. This would be the
whole key to revival as they understood it. They would, by 1762,
send out more than 300 missionaries.
It was believed that this leader was responsible for revival
as we know it in its modern fashion. It was John Wesley, on his
way home from America, that encountered these Moravian Missionaries
on the ship bound for England. He marveled at how they were calm
during the great storm they had endured on the Atlantic. It was
this witness of peace that caught Wesleys attention. After speaking
with them he found his faith to be lacking. It was the witness
of this godly peace that would turn out to be the spark that would
ignite the great revival in England.
Saxony would play a major role in the conversion of John Wesley
as his study on Luthers papers on faith led to a great conversion
process. Wesley said that he felt a strange warm feeling in his
heart. From that day on he was compelled to share this experience.
Wesley even traveled to Herhutt to see the place of his new found
experience. As he returned to England he began to formulate his
future as an evangelist. It was George Whitefield that confronted
John Wesley about his preaching. Wesley was being locked out of
the Anglican Churches and was unable to gain the freedom that
he needed to share his great faith. It was Whitefield that convinced
him that he needed to take his witness to the street of England
to gain the attention of the people for their salvation.
In Bristol, England, John Wesley surrendered his will to God
to take the Gospel to the out doors. It in Bristol, England, on
April 2, 1739 that Wesley felt the Spirit of the Lord fall on
him to preach to a group of coal miners. In front of 3,000 miners
Wesley, under a heavy anointing preached, "The Spirit of the Lord
is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the Gospel to
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