“Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, ‘Cross, cross,’ and there is no cross!”
Though I love candy as much as the next guy, I’m most looking forward to October 31st because it marks the 499th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. On that date nearly 500 years ago, a man named Martin Luther changed the world with a hammer, a nail, and a really long piece of paper.
Why Martin Luther Would Live Stream His Church Service
Other than the Bible itself, no document in history has changed the world more than Luther’s 95 Theses that he hammered to the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. At the time, denominations didn’t exist; there was one church and one gospel. As far as Luther was concerned, that gospel had become so perverted that what remained wasn’t really a gospel at all.
In his 95 Theses, Luther boldly and publicly rebuked the highest authorities within the church, calling for dramatic reforms of the church’s very foundations. In particular, he took issue with its teachings on sin, repentance, forgiveness, and righteousness. Instead of condoning indulgences and papal authority to remit sins, Luther clung to the Scriptures and heralded a gospel of grace through faith alone.
For Luther, the cross of Christ was enough. Nothing but the penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross could grant salvation to the remorseful sinner. If a man should humble himself before the cross in genuine faith, Luther believed that no cross remained for that man. He insisted that forgiveness is found in Jesus alone, not in the works or words of men.
499 years ago, Martin Luther changed the world. His nearly suicidal courage allowed for the pure gospel of Jesus Christ to be passed down faithfully for nearly five centuries.
Luther’s wisdom transcended beyond even these famous Theses, however. His astuteness allowed him to look at the world around and find new ways of furthering his mission to spread God’s word.
To fully understand the level of Luther’s innovation, we must first acknowledge a man named Johannes Gutenberg. Nearly 100 years before Luther wrote his 95 Theses, Gutenberg invented the printing press. Its first mass-produced printed work was Gutenberg’s Bible, which allowed for the Word of God to spread virally into the hands of the common man. By the time of Luther’s ministry, Gutenberg’s Bible had bore fruit in the homes and hearts of the ordinary man for nearly 100 years.
Inspired by a printer’s potential impact, Luther boldly declared, “[Printing is] God’s highest and extremest act of grace, whereby the religion of the gospel is driven forward.” Luther was convinced that God is a God who can greatly use new technology to powerfully perform His work and share His gospel. He bore witness to the fact that God could use technology for the most profound eternal purposes.
With this in mind, we must ask ourselves, “What if Martin Luther was alive today? What might he view as God’s highest and extremest act of grace, whereby the religion of the gospel would be driven forward?”
Five hundred years ago, Luther saw that no technology was more relevant than the printing press. If he were alive today, it’s likely that he would be similarly convinced that no technology was more relevant than that of video.
We live in a world overflowing with video, Christians and non-Christians alike constantly consume it, whether by laptop, tablet, or smartphone. A 21st century Luther would have scanned the world around him and seen that God could greatly use video to powerfully perform His work and share His gospel. Without a doubt, He could surely use video for His eternal purposes.
Is your church appropriately taking advantage of video technology? Do you stream your church services to engage your culture with God’s Word and His gospel? If Martin Luther could dramatically change the world with a piece of paper, what power could a video ministry bring to your church? How could you use video as a tool to lead to eternal things and the salvation of souls?
On this Reformation Day, I challenge you to take a moment to ponder how God might potentially use live and archived video in your ministry. In a world where people are constantly engrossed in their computers and phones, live video streaming provides you with the possibility to teach of God’s kingdom and share His gospel with people who may not step through your doors.
And that opportunity is much sweeter than a handful of candy bars could ever be.