Reformation Celebration

Martin Luther Chronology Now Available

The Year 2017 is an exciting year for Lutherans. We are now in the 500th anniversary year of Dr. Martin Luther’s posting of the “Ninety-five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences”, the official beginning of the Reformation.

“While preparing a lecture on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, He read, ‘The just will live by faith’. He dwelled on this statement for some time. Finally, he realized the key to spiritual salvation was not to fear God or be enslaved by religious dogma but to believe that faith alone would bring salvation. This period marked a major change in his life and set in motion the Reformation.” (Peaks and Valleys, October 2016)

On behalf of the Rocky Mountain District, it is my pleasure to present this pictorial overview of the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther, the great reformer, and the person we can thank for the opportunity and privilege of freely celebrating the Scripture…the inspired Word of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Luther taught that salvation is not earned by good deeds or by trying to buy salvation but received only as a free gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Luther taught that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge and that all baptized Christians are considered to be part of a holy priest hood. Luther’s translation of the Bible into the German language of the people caused a tremendous impact on the church and on German Culture.

His posting of his 95 Theses on the university bulletin board, on the north door of the Castle Church, on October 31, 1517, leads us to where we as Lutherans are today, namely, Biblically and confessionally based. The fascination this powerful man still holds for us today continues year after year.

The District Archivist and Historian has produced this document using a chronological model in order to descriptively organize the sequence of events in the life of Dr. Martin Luther…a version of “This Is Your Life, Dr. Luther”.

As President of the District, I invite you to “tour” this presentation of Martin Luther’s life and times; the things he accomplished, the places he testified and preached, lived and died and the documents he authored and published.

Rev. Allen D. Anderson, President
Rocky Mountain District, LC-MS

Click here to download a copy of the book, Martin Luther – A Chronology of the Reformation

2017 Reformation Celebration – Historical Reflections

This year, 2017, is a year precious to all Lutherans…the 500th birthday of the beginning of Luther’s blessed discovery of the Gospel and his rebellion related to the beliefs and celebrations of the Roman Catholic Church.  A monthly series of articles will be provided covering topics and historical events leading up to October 31, 1517, the date of the posting of the 95 Theses on the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg, Germany.


Electronic Article for Print

The Event

1498 Luther was no stranger to music. At the early age of 14, Luther was in a children’s choir.  Luther had a beautiful tenor voice. During his school years, Luther preferred the study of music over other school subjects and became a skilled performer and eventually, a skilled composer.

Luther’s most productive hymn writing began in December of 1523. By late 1525 Luther had written 24 of his 36 hymns.

In 1526 Luther and other reformers were confronted with a chaotic situation in the Saxony churches. Church visitations by Luther revealed “deplorable conditions” emphasizing the need to improve worship services. A significant need in the church was met by Luther’s emphasis on hymnody. Luther wrote 12 of his hymns from 1526 to 1543, some with the assistance of associates.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” (“Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott“) is one of the best known and loved hymns by Luther. He wrote the words and composed the melody sometime between 1527 and 1529, based on Psalm 46. It is frequently called the “Battle Hymn of the Reformation“.

What Luther Says

Music is an outstanding gift of God…And youth should be taught this art; for it makes fine, skillful people.

“Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us. The Devil hates music because he cannot stand gaiety. My heart, which is so full to over flowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.”

Martin Luther regarded music and hymns important for the development of faith. He believed that music is an endowment and a gift of God, not a gift of men and that music drives away the devil and makes people cheerful. “I place music next to theology and give it the highest praise.”

Luther’s hymns are not meant to create a mood; they are meant to convey a message. They are a confession of faith, not of personal feelings. They were written not to be read, but to be sung by the whole congregation.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Doctrinal Position

There is not a definitive doctrinal statement by Synod outside of the very specific criteria for the evaluation of hymns and songs prescribed by the Commission on Worship. The Commission bases its approval primarily on the text of the hymn. For example, does the text present Jesus as the Savior? Does it speak of the triune God? Does it express the revealing gracious will of the Father?

How the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod conducts its Divine Services reflects Lutheran Doctrine and its theology reflects what we believe, teach and confess. Our synod seeks to ensure, through the evaluation of hymns and songs, that our faith is not compromised but rather strengthened and continually based on the Word of God.

As we gather for worship to sing of the Word in hymn and song, remember that we join our song with angels, archangels and all the company of heaven together before Christ, who has come to His people to bless and to save them, through faith.

For September: Death and Dying


District Reformation 500 Activities

Jesus is Risen! May your Seasonal celebrations thereof be going wonderfully. And, in connection with our Reformation-500 Year, we have certainly had some worthwhile events so far, including two great Concordia Choir Tours. There are also a number of new exciting activities occurring among us as well, over the next several months. As many as you are able to participate in, please do. And, regarding the rest, please pray:

Summer: Immanuel, Colorado Springs hosts a showing of “Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed The World” – For more information on the film and how to make use of that great resource, please see:

June 16-21: “Cross and Crescent: The Reformers and Islam” Seminar Tour, featuring Dr. Joshua Hollmann – (click attachment)

July 19-23: “The Masks of God: Luther on Our Worldly Callings” Seminar Tour, featuring Dr. Martin Conkling – (click attachment)

(It is interesting to note, that only Colorado congregations answered the several calls, through District-Circuit-Direct channels, for seminar hosts…)

August 28: Circuit Continuing Education Seminar on Christian Initiation and Catechetics (featuring Dr. Art Just) at Trinity, Riverton UT

September 9-10: Mission Festival (featuring Cantor Philip Magnus) at Calvary, Wray CO

October 22: All-Lutheran Hymn Fest, followed by a traditional Oktoberfest, at Immanuel, Colorado Springs

November 5: Utah Circuit Reformation Rally (featuring Pastor Randall Golter) at St. Paul, Ogden UT

Late Summer / Fall: Pastor George Hesse is available for a few half-hour Portrayals of “common-folk” Reformation characters (e.g. Luther’s Baker, a Boatman who ferries buyers of indulgences, an Augustinian Monk who knew Luther, etc.), for sermons, LWML gatherings, anniversary celebrations-and-the-like. Help with Travel Expenses is requested, along with a possible $115 Speaking Fee or, at least, a Freewill Offering. You may reach him at or 970-234-9029.

Besides all those, hopefully plenty of other local, circuit and regional activities are being planned, including Reformation Rallies, Mission Festivals, Luther Film Showings (please remember to fulfill these legally, though, via the information provided in this and earlier e-mails), Seminar Presentations, Parade Floats, Fair Booths, VBS, Reformation Carnivals (with information about those having also been shared earlier), and so much more. And, wherever possible, please do consider plentiful and quality use of posters, flyers, mailings, newspapers, radio, television and face-to-face invitations. Also, for all local events, please do make sure to publicize among your Circuit congregations as well. The more – the merrier!

Let’s please all participate as much as possible, and pray. Our Risen and Reforming Lord Jesus is Someone worth celebrating, and sharing!

Yours in Him,
Pastor Rick Miller
District Reformation-500 Outreach Coordinator


Denver Area Reformation Worship Celebration

The Denver Southwest Circuit is hosting at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran, Centennial, the Rocky Mountain District Front Range Area Reformation Service on Sunday, October 22, 2017, 4pm at Shepherd of the Hills.  Individual congregations and schools of our circuit will be participating in music and service for that day, as well as having highlighted community, reformation, and church events throughout that week leading up to the Observed day of Reformation, October 29, where congregations will be celebrating individually at their own places.

The guest preacher is Ref. Prof. Todd Jones from the St. Louis Seminary.  Shepherd of the Hills is sponsoring a Fall Reformation Festival at their congregation for families, youth and the community on Friday, October 27, from 5-8pm.  Hosanna Lutheran, Littleton is sponsoring a matinee viewing of the New Luther Movie ($6 with popcorn) at the Elvis Movie Theater at 10am on Thursday, October 26, Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28.  Other local congregations will be adding events to this celebration calendar as time progresses.

The theme for the celebration at Shepherd of the Hills is “Here We Stand!  Word, Grace, Faith” and will be in conjunction with the Synod’s yearly theme of “It is Still All About Jesus”.  Below is a summary of the scheduled celebration:

2017 Circuit Reformation Celebration
1.  500th Reformation Theme:  Here We Stand!  Word, Faith, Grace
2.  Guest Preacher:  Rev. Todd Jones, Professor St. Louis Sem.
3.  Schedule So Far:
Sat. Oct. 21 – Open (possibly fun run with LHS)
Sun. Oct. 22 – 4-6pm Front Range Celebration Service Shepherd (possible meal there or at Our Father)
Mon. Oct. 23 – Open
Tues. Oct. 24 – Open
Wed. Oct. 25 – Open
Thur. Oct. 26 – 10 am, Showing of Luther Movie at Elvis, Hosanna, $6 with drink/popcorn
Fri. Oct. 27 – 10 am, Showing of Luther Movie at Elvis, Hosanna, $6 with drink/popcorn, 5-8pm Community Fall Festival Shepherd
Sat. Oct. 28 – 10 am, Showing of Luther Movie at Elvis, Hosanna, $6 with drink/popcorn (possible community servant project, Redeemer)
Sun. Oct. 29 – Individual Congregation Reformation Celebrations