It was over 500 years ago now. April 18, 1521, and Martin Luther was on trial for heresy. He had the guts to write down his ideas about the Bible, tradition, authority, and he stirred nationalistic pride among people’s all over Europe. People began to ask questions, and for these questions he was on trial… literally…for his life.

The church and state leaders of his day demanded that he renounce the books he had written. They challenged centuries of accepted teaching. If he renounced them, if he surrendered to the authorities, he would be left alone. If he refused, he faced the very real possibility of being burned at the stake.

Here is what he said:

“Unless I am refuted and convicted by the testimonies of Scripture or by clear arguments (since I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils alone; it is evident that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am conquered by the Holy Scriptures quoted by me, and my conscience is bound in the Word of God: I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against the conscience.”

Luther was interrupted at this point by Jan Eck who argued against him about whether councils could err. Luther cut him off with this statement:

“Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

Amen. One man stood alone against the authorities who tried to silence him and others. But they could not be silenced. And courage begets more courage.

May Martin’s courage inspire you to take a stand…and to keep on standing… throughout 2022.