It is appropriate to focus this month's news on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther.
Rev. Lazarus Yeghnazar has had the honour to be invited to Berlin, to address a historic gathering of denominational leaders and 600 pastors from all over the world at the Billion Souls Conference (www.luther2017.tv). He was invited to represent ministries serving in the Islamic world, especially the Farsi speaking world.
On Wednesday 1st November, they will meet at the Castle church in Wittenberg, where Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses on the door.
Reformation Day is celebrated by Protestant Christians on October 31 in remembrance of the onset of the Reformation. Traditionally, 31 October 1517 is widely held to be the day German monk Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the All Saints' Church in Wittenberg. It is argued that Luther may have chosen All Hallows' Eve on purpose to get the attention of common people.
In the heart of the Ninety-five Theses are the distinct 'Five Sola's that collectively served as foundational principles of the Protestant Reformation – the importance of the atoning death of Christ, the ultimate glorification of God (“man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”), grace, which can only be received through faith, and the Scriptures which are inspired by the Holy Spirit who also helps us understand and obey them.
In his address (1500 Central European Time, Tuesday 31 October), Lazarus shares:
“How can we joyfully and wilfully, give all honour and glory to God the Father for sending His son Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins, and celebrate the power of the living Word of God and accept by faith our unmerited and undeserved eternal salvation if we have not fallen in love with our Saviour King Jesus!?
This is truly a filial and familial relationship! We are His sons and daughters! Temporarily leaving on earth destined for eternity in heaven!
How can our beloved Muslim neighbours even attempt to understand this 'wonderful salvation by His grace alone' while they are struggling and striving in a 'Jihad' both inner and outer, as expressed in the serious self-harm of Shite Islam and the merciless attack on Islam’s non-adherents, in Sunni Islam.
The 'relationship of mankind restored with the Father through the atonement of the cross' is blasphemy to our Muslim friends. Their religion is a 'dictum' and the only understanding of God is a master who is distant and disengaged, with us, his servants, always striving to please him. There is never an assurance of being accepted or loved, hence no peace. And this constant inner struggle (Jihad) spills out with vengeance and bitterness.
Yet glory to His name that in the last three decades, millions of our neighbours have found peace with God through being born again in Christ! Hallelujah! We rejoice as over a million Iranians have joyfully embraced Christ and become His disciples, often paying a very heavy price.
Amidst the chaos and destruction of the Middle East, God is pouring His grace on all our neighbours, Arab, Afghan, Tajik, Turk and Iranian, saving, healing, comforting and loving them. Let us all join together to be His feet to go where Jesus wants, be His hands to touch whom He wants to touch, to heal whom He wants to heal, to love whom He wants to love, and to share with whom He wants to share. Then Christ will be truly glorified.
Only to His glory, we stand humbly together, gathering the harvest.”