Raising Up Leaders

Editors’ note: This article is adapted from chapter 10 (“Raising Up Leaders”) from Mark Dever’s new book, Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus (Crossway, 2016).

​Mark Dever is the senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and the author of numerous books, including Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. 9 Ways to Raise Up Leaders in Your Church

Mark Dever’s Marks of Personal Discipleship

The New Testament is filled with instruction on discipling believers generally. But now and then it also focuses on raising up church leaders in particular. For instance, Paul tells Titus, “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order and appoint elders in every town as I directed you” (Titus 1:5). Then he describes what these elders should be like. Similarly, he tells Timothy to find “faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

In the same way, I’d like to offer counsel on how I’ve personally worked to find, encourage, and raise up other leaders in my church, whether to serve in my church or eventually in other churches. Many of the matters discussed below apply to discipling more broadly. After all, the criteria listed for an elder in Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 should characterize every Christian, with the exception of not being a recent convert and being able to teach. Which is to say, the goals of discipling a believer and a would-be church leader are mostly the same. Continue reading

The Regulative Principle of Worship is a Biblical Doctrine

Jeff is a senior editor for The Gospel Coalition. A native of Blairsville, Ga., Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Georgia, a Master of Divinity in biblical and theological studies and a Ph.D. in historical theology with an emphasis on Baptist history from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. He is pastor of New City Church in Louisville, KY. Jeff and his wife Lisa have been married for 19 years and have four children.

I argued that the regulative principle of worship is a Baptist doctrine. But any Baptist worth his or her salt will ask the more salient question: But is it a biblical doctrine?

I want to argue that it is in fact a biblical doctrine and give a brief biblical defense from 32,000 feet. As I sought to show last time, Baptist confessions have articulated it and numerous important figures who have roamed the landscape of the Baptist tradition held it in earnest.

Granted, there is not a single text that may be accessed which says, “You shall only use in gathered worship those elements taught by precept or example in Scripture.” But if you take the overall witness of Scripture as to how God expects to be worshiped, I believe a strong case may be made.

Such passages include:

The first four commandments found in Exodus 20:3-4, 7-8. All deal largely with worship. This tells us worship of God is a primary issue, one that God takes with blood-earnest seriousness. Therefore, we should treat it with the utmost care. There should be no place for flippant or breezy worship among the people of God.

The details given by God in the construction of the furniture and garments of worship in Exodus 25-30. In Exodus 30:33, 38, God promises the death penalty for the misuse of anointing oil and incense. From this, it seems that God is meticulous in how he ought to be worshiped.

The warning of the Israelites in Deuteronomy 12:30-32 not to get their ideas of worship from the world around them, but only from God’s revelation. This command is relevant for the church today for many obvious reasons. It is certainly admirable to want to appeal to the lost and the church that neglects the Great Commission is disobeying the clear command of Scripture. But, we must remember the wise axiom: What you win them with is what you win them to. The same principle applies to worship.

The death of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10:1-3. God struck them dead for offering “strange fire” to the Lord. This illustrates the seriousness with which God takes the worship of himself.

The disobedience of Saul in offering the sacrifices Samuel was to have offered in 1 Samuel 10:8 and 13:8-13. Continue reading

What is Regeneration?


1. What is regeneration?
Regeneration is an immediate re-creation of the sinful nature by God the Holy Spirit and an implanting into the body of Christ.

2. Is it a judicial or a re-creating act?
The latter. In regeneration the condition and not the state of man is changed.

3. Does regeneration occur in the consciousness or below the consciousness?
Below the consciousness. It is totally independent from what occurs in the consciousness. It can therefore be effected where the consciousness slumbers.

4. Is regeneration a slow process or an instantaneous action?
It is an instantaneous action that is the basis for a long development in grace.

5. Is regeneration concerned with the removal of the old or the enlivening of the new?
Regeneration includes both. However, one can rightly maintain that the latter has prominence.

6. Is regeneration a mediate or an immediate act of God?
It is immediate in the strict sense. No instrument is employed for it.

– Geerhardus Vos, Reformed Dogmatics)

“Regeneration is an act by God to awaken spiritual life within us – bringing us from spiritual death to spiritual life. On this definition, it is natural to understand that regeneration comes before saving faith. It is in fact this work of God that gives us the spiritual ability to respond to God in faith. However, when we say that it comes “before” saving faith, it is important to remember that they usually come so close together that it will ordinarily seem to us that they are happening at the same time. As God addresses the effective call of the gospel to us, he regenerates us and we respond in faith and repentance to this call. So from our perspective it is hard to tell any difference in time, especially because regeneration is a spiritual work that we cannot perceive with our eyes or even understand with our minds.

Yet there are several passages that tell us that this secret, hidden work of God in our spirits does in fact come before we respond to God in saving faith (though often it may be only seconds before we respond). When talking about regeneration with Nicodemus, Jesus said, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Now we enter the kingdom of God when we become Christians at conversion. But Jesus says that we have to be born “of the Spirit” before we can do that. Our inability to come to Christ on our own, without an initial work of God within us, is also emphasized when Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” p 703 (John 6:44), and “No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father” (John 6:65). This inward act of regeneration is described beautifully when Luke says of Lydia, “The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul” (Acts 16:14). First the Lord opened her heart, then she was able to give heed to Paul’s preaching and to respond in faith.

By contrast, Paul tells us, “The man without the Spirit (literally, the “natural man”) does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14 NIV). He also says of people apart from Christ, “no one understands, No one seeks for God” (Rom. 3:11).

The solution to this spiritual deadness and inability to respond only comes when God gives us new life within. “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4–5). Paul also says, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ” (Col. 2:13 NIV).”

– Grudem, W.A., 2004. Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine, Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.

What about Movie Clips?

Two articles that seek to apply the regulative principle of worship to the issue of movie clips (and other things):

Article #1: What about Movie Clips? Applying the Regulative Principle by Aaron Menikoff (original source here), senior pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

I had been a pastor for just a few months when a faithful church member sought me out to discuss the use of media in the services. He had led previous pastors to incorporate video and sound clips, and he wanted to be of help to me. He started off with a question kind of like this:

“So, what do you think about movie clips in the services?”

“Well, I really hadn’t planned on using media in the services.”

“Really? I’ve been involved in worship for quite some time, and it’s a pretty effective way to communicate.”

“Yeah, I don’t doubt that. But I’m afraid it might distract people from the heart of the service: the singing, preaching, and praying of the Word.”

“I wouldn’t think of it as a distraction, more of an addition, it makes the whole service better.”

“You might be right, but I really want our focus to be on the power of God’s Word to engage and excite us, so I’m going to stay away from movie clips.”

That’s about how the conversation ended. We were two grown men who both love the Lord but with different viewpoints on what would most honor God and be helpful to this local church. If you were in my shoes, how would you have answered his question?

Over the years, I’ve been asked to weigh in on many such issues related to our Sunday morning service.

Should we have Independence Day bunting? I said no, after figuring out what bunting is.

Christmas decorations? I said yes.

Dramatic Scripture readings? No.

A children’s choir? Yes, a couple times a year.

A collection box in the foyer? No.

Handbells? Yes.

Movie clips? See above.

As you can probably tell from these examples, I came to an established church with its own customs and traditions. If you’re planting a church, I suppose you’re more likely to be asked your opinion on incense, an art gallery in the foyer, and cutting edge or even secular music.

I’m less concerned that you reach the same conclusion I have on any of these examples. What I do want you to realize is that Scripture is not silent about corporate worship.


The regulative principle helps me answer these kinds of questions. The regulative principle says that Scripture regulates what is permissible to do in public worship. And those who hold the regulative principle will approach each question carefully, asking not merely “What will God allow?” but also “What does God prefer?”

The following five guidelines, rooted in the regulative principle, have helped me to address which practices appropriately honor God and help his people in our weekly gatherings.

1. Corporate worship is Word-centered.

First, corporate worship is Word-centered. After Paul told Timothy of Scripture’s power to change lives (2 Tim. 3:16–17) he offered this simple exhortation: “Preach the word” (4:2). My most important pastoral duty is to lay Scripture before my church, confidently knowing that the Spirit can apply it to people’s lives and produce spiritual maturity.

A Christian gathering should not be merely “biblical” in some general, abstract sense. It should be so saturated with Scripture that it is obvious to everyone that we believe God works powerfully through his Word, as we preach the Word, sing the Word, and pray the Word. I don’t want to endorse anything that will distract us from Scripture. Continue reading

Dependent Discipline

Article by Jerry Bridges: Does Holiness Come By Striving After it or By Resting in God?

As I sat in the doctor’s waiting room, my attention was drawn to a portrait of a man sculpted out of a block of marble. The sculpture was complete down to about mid-thigh, but below that the partially chipped away marble gradually phased into the outline of the original block. The man in the sculpture was handsome and robust, the kind of body any man would like to have. But the arresting thing about the picture was that the sculptor’s hammer and chisel were in the hands of the man being sculpted. The man was sculpting himself. As I pondered the painting, I was struck by its graphic portrayal of how many Christians seek to grow in personal holiness. We try, as it were, to sculpt or mold ourselves. We seek to grow in holiness through our own personal efforts and willpower. And we’re just as ludicrous as a block of marble trying to sculpt itself.

Holiness is not, as is so often thought, adherence to a set of rules. It is conformity to the character of God—nothing more, nothing less. It is God’s plan for us. He has “predestined [us] to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). To this end, Paul says, “We are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). The words conform and transform in these verses have the same root. A form is a pattern or model.

Transformed speaks of the process; conformed speaks of the end result. We are being transformed into the likeness of Christ so that we might finally be conformed to the likeness of Him who is our pattern or model.

Who, then, transforms us? Paul tells us in 2 Cor 3:18 that it is the Spirit. We are not sculpting ourselves into the likeness of Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. The writer of Hebrews recognized this when he prayed, “May the God of peace … work in us what is pleasing to him” (He 13:20, 21). Paul prayed similarly for the Thessalonian believers, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you [make you holy] through and through” (1 Thess. 5:23). We as believers can no more make ourselves holy than a block of marble can transform itself into a beautiful statue. We are totally dependent on the Holy Spirit to do this work in us. Yet over and over we place the entire burden for growing in holiness on ourselves. We make resolutions, we try harder, and we may even succeed in changing some of our outward conduct. But we cannot change our hearts. Only God can do that.

It was said of the Lord Jesus, for example, that He “loved righteousness and hated wickedness” (He 1:9). To be transformed into His likeness, then, is to be brought to where we, too, love righteousness and hate wickedness. This is more than merely changing our conduct or conforming to a set of rules. It is a complete renovation of our hearts, something only the Holy Spirit can do. Is the road to holiness, then, one of dependence on God, or of personal discipline? Surely it is one of dependence on God.


We must not, however, carry the analogy of the marble statue too far. After all, a piece of marble is absolutely lifeless. It has no mind, no heart, no will. The sculptor receives no cooperation from the lifeless block of marble, and expects none. The same is not true of believers. God has given us mind, heart, and will with which to respond to His work in us, with which to cooperate with His Spirit in the process of transforming us into the likeness of Christ. He intends that we understand His will with our minds, that we yearn to do it with our hearts, and that we actually make choices of obedience with our wills. We are to “make every effort … to be holy” (Heb 12:14). We are to train, or discipline, ourselves to be godly (1 Tim 4:7). We are to put to death the traits of our sinful nature and clothe ourselves with the traits of godly character (Col 3:5; Col 3:12).

The New Testament is filled with injunctions about holy character that address our responsibility. In the pursuit of holiness, we must not be passive blocks of marble in the hands of a sculptor.
Is the road to holiness, then, one of dependence on God, or of personal discipline?

Surely it is one of personal discipline. But how can this be?

If the work of transforming us into Christ’s likeness is the Holy Spirit’s ministry, where does our responsibility fit in? How can we be simultaneously responsible for pursuing holiness and totally dependent on the Spirit?

I am an engineer, both by training and by temperament. One characteristic of engineers is that we always want to know how things work.

I carried this analytical attitude into the Christian life. For years I tried to analyze the precise relationship between the Holy Spirit and the human personality. I visualized two gears, one representing the Spirit and one representing my own personality, and I wanted to know just how they meshed. I kept trying to answer the question of exactly how my personal responsibility for growing in holiness fit together with the work of the Holy Spirit.

I finally gave up. I concluded that God has not answered that question anywhere in the Bible. The mutual relationship of the Holy Spirit and the human personality in the work of sanctification is a mystery known only to God. But our inability to explain just how God works in and through our personalities should not keep us from believing that He does. He not only instructs us to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling,” but also assures us that He Himself “works in [us] to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil 2:12;13). Although God has not explained to us the mystery of how He works in us, He has made our responsibility clear. He has also made it clear that, in carrying out that responsibility, we are dependent upon Him. I call this dependent discipline. Continue reading

Simul Justus Et Peccator

Joyce Meyer denies she is a sinner.

I’m with Dr. R. C. Sproul on this. Here he explains the essence of the Reformation view of justification and Martin Luther’s latin phrase, “Simul Justus et Peccator.”


Perhaps the formula that Luther used that is most famous and most telling at this point is his formula simul justus et peccator. And if any formula summarizes and captures the essence of the Reformation view, it is this little formula. Simul is the word from which we get the English word simultaneously. Or, it means ‘at the same time.’ Justus is the Latin word for just or righteous. And you all know what et is. Et the past tense of the verb ‘to eat.’ Have you et your dinner? No, you know that’s not what that means. You remember in the death scene of Caesar after he’s been stabbed by Brutus he says, “Et tu, Brute?” Then fall Caesar. And you too Brutus? It simply means and. Peccator means sinner.

And so with this formula Luther was saying, in our justification we are one and the same time righteous or just, and sinners. Now if he would say that we are at the same time and in the same relationship just and sinners that would be a contradiction in terms. But that’s not what he was saying. He was saying from one perspective, in one sense, we are just. In another sense, from a different perspective, we are sinners; and how he defines that is simple. In and of ourselves, under the analysis of God’s scrutiny, we still have sin; we’re still sinners. But, by imputation and by faith in Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is now transferred to our account, then we are considered just or righteous. This is the very heart of the gospel.

Will I be judged in order to get into heaven by my righteousness or by the righteousness of Christ? If I had to trust in my righteousness to get into heaven, I would completely and utterly despair of any possibility of ever being redeemed. But when we see that the righteousness that is ours by faith is the perfect righteousness of Christ, then we see how glorious is the good news of the gospel. The good news is simply this, I can be reconciled to God, I can be justified by God not on the basis of what I did, but on the basis of what’s been accomplished for me by Christ.

But at the heart of the gospel is a double-imputation. My sin is imputed to Jesus. His righteousness is imputed to me. And in this two-fold transaction we see that God, Who does not negotiate sin, Who doesn’t compromise His own integrity with our salvation, but rather punishes sin fully and really after it has been imputed to Jesus, retains His own righteousness, and so He is both just and the justifier, as the apostle tells us here. So my sin goes to Jesus, His righteousness comes to me in the sight of God.

What Does "Simul Justus et Peccator" Mean? from Ligonier Ministries on Vimeo.

For more on this theme – here is Dr. John MacArthur:

30 Years of God’s Faithfulness

June 27, 2017: Today I am celebrating 30 Years of God’s faithfulness. It is 30 years to the day since I entered the Christian ministry.

Also my second book “The Five Solas – Standing Together, Alone” gets published today.

“When your loved ones, friends, & acquaintances ask you why the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is important to you, this new book by my dear friend Pastor John Samson of King’s Church in Peoria, AZ, will help you better explain why. In fact, why not make it a point to order multiple copies to give out, especially to those who are important to you, so they can take more time to absorb the facts on their own as well. Churches should definitely order this book in bulk so congregants can be better equipped to tell others why this event is one of the most vital developments in the history of the world.” – Chris Arnzen, Iron Sharpens Iron Radio Broadcast

“John Samson has done it again. He has taken on the heart of the Protestant Reformation and put it into language that can be understood by the common man who cares. The Lord has given our brother a special gift of taking huge concepts and bringing them down where even older children can grasp the truth. “THE FIVE SOLAS: Standing Together, Alone” is coming to us from the printer later today, June 27th. You can order it with our other three REF 500 Titles for just $14.00. The other three are –
The 95 Theses in their Theological Significance by Warfield
CLICK AND PURCHASE AND SHARE WITH FRIENDS.” – Michael Gaydosh, Solid Ground Christian Books

The new book can be ordered at this link.

Is the Reformation Over?

2017 marks the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation. Many believe that the issues that began the reformation have been resolved and are declaring the reformation over. But is this true?

Gregg Allison and Michael Reeves

Ligon Duncan: Why the Reformation is Not Over: The Continuing Need for Biblical Fidelity and Reform in Worship, Salvation, Sacraments and the Church:

Albert Mohler: We Have Only One Priest: The Reformation as a Revolution in Ministry:

Did The Father Turn His Face Away?

Article by Dr. Jared Hood – (original source here): Lecturer in OT, WCF and Reformation History at the Presbyterian Theological College, Melbourne and Editor of Reformed Theological Review, Australia’s leading evangelical journal.

10 Reasons The Father Didn’t Turn His Face Away At The Cross

Christ took the penalty for our sin upon Himself; does this mean that the Father turned his face from the Son on the cross?

Psalm 22:1 is a key verse for the rejection theory. ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?’ (Ps 22:1). What does it mean? Two things. First, context is clear. Look at the parallel verse: ‘why are you so far from helping me?’ This is the issue: ‘no help’. The sufferer is asking why God doesn’t save him from his oppressors. I.e. ‘Why do you let my oppressors torment me?’ The Father gives the Son over to suffering. Psalm 22:1 is the equivalent of Isaiah’s statement, ‘It pleased the Lord to bruise Him’. In fact, the Psalm later says it: ‘You have brought me to the dust of death’ (v. 15).

Christ took the penalty for our sin upon Himself. Our penalty was eternal separation from God. Therefore, the Son must have suffered separation from God—mustn’t He? What would that mean? Is this the severing of the Triune union between the Father and Son? Is this relational, being ‘cut off from…sweet fellowship with his heavenly Father’, such that Christ was ‘abandoned by his heavenly Father’ (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 574)? What does Townend mean, saying there was ‘searing loss’ when ‘The Father turns His face away’? The Father’s anger was upon the Son, who had ‘become sin for us’, so the Father had no choice but to reject and banish the Son from His presence.

Here are 10 reasons why I don’t believe it.

The Father was never more pleased with the Son than at the Cross.

The Cross was Jesus’ ultimate act of obedience: obedience—even to the point of the Cross (Phil 2:8). If ever the Father could say, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’, it was at the Cross. The OT sacrifices were a ‘sweet smelling aroma’; how much more was Christ’s sacrifice a delight to God? ‘Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma’ (Eph 5:2).

The Cross was the Father’s plan.

Jesus was ‘delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God’ (Acts 2:23). ‘It was the will of the Lord to crush Him’ (Isa 53:9, ESV). And the Lord takes pleasure in His will. In fact, the word for ‘will’ in Isaiah 53 is chaphets, pleasure, delight. ‘Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him’ (NKJV). Which takes us back to point one.

The Triune union cannot be severed.

That really should be an obvious point. Father, Son and Spirit each fully and together possess the divine being or substance. They cannot turn on each other. The problem here is that some misunderstand the Trinity. The Trinity is three guys who get along really well with each other. But they’re independent enough to turn on each other, as well. This social model has made deep inroads in evangelicalism’s Trinitarian thinking, but it’s not the Bible’s God. That’s playing with tritheism.

If the Father turned away from the Son, the Son turned away from Himself.

The Father fully possesses the divine attribute of justice. The Son fully possesses the divine attribute of justice. If justice demands the Father turn away from the Son, then precisely the same justice demands that the Son turn away from the Son. Moltmann was wrong: this would not be Father against Son, God against God. This would be Son against Himself, separating Himself from Himself (or the Son’s divine nature rejecting the human nature). Of course, the perfect Son was repulsed to be treated as a criminal—it was a heavy burden to bear—but this is another matter.

The rejection theory is well meant, but it doesn’t make sense. Moltmann wanted a God who felt pain, but it only humanises Him, which leaves us all in a desperate muddle.

Was Jesus banished from God’s presence all through His earthly life?

Jesus wasn’t just ‘made sin’ at the Cross, but all through His earthly life. He was ‘born under the [curse of the] law’ (Gal 4:4). Did the Father ‘turn His face away’ from Jesus through all His earthly life?

Psalm 22:1 doesn’t say the Father rejected the Son.

Psalm 22:1 is a key verse for the rejection theory. ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?’ (Ps 22:1). What does it mean? Two things. First, context is clear. Look at the parallel verse: ‘why are you so far from helping me?’ This is the issue: ‘no help’. The sufferer is asking why God doesn’t save him from his oppressors. I.e. ‘Why do you let my oppressors torment me?’ The Father gives the Son over to suffering. Psalm 22:1 is the equivalent of Isaiah’s statement, ‘It pleased the Lord to bruise Him’. In fact, the Psalm later says it: ‘You have brought me to the dust of death’ (v. 15).

Secondly, it’s a rhetorical question. The sufferer knows full well why God does this. What’s the point of asking it, then? To express his distress. This is real suffering. He really doesn’t want to go through it. He would rather God saved Him instantly out of it. ‘If it is possible, let this cup pass from me. But not my will…’ (Matt 26:39).

Perhaps it also means, ‘It feels like you have abandoned me’ (Calvin), or ‘It’s really hard in my present circumstances to feel your closeness’ (which is a very real human reaction, isn’t it, as the extent of physical pain clouds over our spiritual senses). See Lucas Sharley, ‘Calvin and Turretin’s views of the Trinity in the dereliction’, RTR 75, no. 1, 2016.

Psalm 22 affirms that the Father sustained the Son on the Cross.
Reading the whole of Psalm 22, it strongly affirms that God sustained the sufferer. I’m particularly drawn to the participles of v. 9. ‘You are the one bringing me up, from the time of my birth, and you are the one making me trust from the time I was breastfeed onwards’. The verbs are not just about the time of being born. These are ongoing realities. See also Isa 50:7, of Jesus at crucifixion, ‘The Lord God helps me’.

The Psalm heads to the great turning point in v. 21: ‘You have answered Me’. No hint of relational abandonment in that. Put v. 24 in large letters: ‘He has not hidden His face from Him’.

Rejection would have been unjust.

Jesus became sin for us, but He was still the perfect Son of God. ‘Truly, this was a righteous man’ (Matt 23:47). The implications of this need to be honoured. To personalise this, if you were a judge, and your own innocent son valiantly stepped forward at a trial to take a criminal’s punishment upon himself, would you be angry with him and reject him?

The value of the Cross doesn’t need bolstering with a ‘rejection by God’ theory.

Christ paid our debt. Our debt was eternal death, so where is there eternal death at the Cross? It’s not enough that Christ merely physically died, is it? We are due physical and spiritual death. Therefore, we need to bolster the cost of the Cross. We need to find spiritual death at the Cross. Continue reading

The Story of Martin Luther (Playmobil Animation)

Stop motion animation that uses Playmobil to tell the story of Martin Luther, and the Reformation. Over 5000 individual photos bring to life scenes from the life of Luther like the castle where he hid as an outlaw, Wittenberg where he taught, the monastery where he was gripped by the Bible, and the Imperial Council at Worms.

Voice Over: Mike Reeves

Animation: Dan Rackham

Here’s the script from the Martin Luther video:

This is the story of Martin Luther.

He got up to some pretty adventurous things. He was kidnapped by knights on horseback; lived in disguise in a castle and helped some nuns escape from a monastery, by hiding them in barrels.

But as a young man he was troubled by a deep sense that he wasn’t right with God. Once, in a thunderstorm, a lightening bolt nearly struck him. He thought he was going to die.

He cried out for help to one of the saints, saying rashly: “Save me, and I’ll become a monk”.

He survived, and so, true to his word he gave up his studies as a lawyer and became a monk. His friends and family said he was wasting his talent.

In the monastery he started reading the Bible. He discovered that it was God’s mercy & love that was all that was needed to be right with God. For the first time in his life, he found a deep peace with God.

Luther was invited to be a lecturer at the university in Wittenberg. He taught through books of the Bible. His lectures were popular, even ordinary people from the town came along.

In those days the Catholic church was telling Christians that their good behaviour could earn them heaven. Luther knew from the Bible though, that no amount of good works could earn you forgiveness! Not even the pope was able to give forgiveness from God – only God could do that.

Luther saw that the church had left behind what the Bible taught and was even making things up for it’s own gain. He decided that he must teach against these false ideas.

He made his complaints public by nailing them to the place in town where people published important documents…the door of the castle church.

He explained that it wasn’t possible to buy God’s forgiveness or to live a life that was good enough to deserve to know God.

His writings, showed that God wants to forgive the wrong we have done. And that this is only possible because Jesus, the son of God, came to pay the punishment our wrong deserved. Jesus did this as he died in our place.

Luther’s ideas quickly spread throughout Europe thanks to a recent invention – the printing press.

The pope wrote a document saying that Luther had to take it all back. And if he didn’t he’d be treated as a heretic. Luther refused and publicly burnt a copy of the pope’s letter.

Luther’s ideas shook things up religiously, politically and culturally. He was summoned to stand before the emperor and answer for his supposed crimes of explaining what the Bible said.

The emperor declared Luther an outlaw, banning his literature. That’s when he was rescued and went to live in disguise in a castle. Dressing in knights’ clothing he changed his name to knight George and grew his hair and a beard.

He spent his time translating the New Testament – this again was published widely, meaning ordinary people could read the Bible for the first time.

Luther secretly returned to Wittenberg. He continued to write books and translate the bible. He also got married and had a family.

Europe was buzzing with Luther’s message about the Bible.

Today, 500 years on, the truths of the Bible that Luther knew continue to impact millions of people.

People who have come to know God personally, knowing the peace and forgiveness Jesus offers us.

The forgiveness that Luther found is still available today.
We can all be in a right relationship with God because of one man – the Lord Jesus Christ.