"Luther: A Profile in Courage"

  “Here I stand,” Dr. Martin Luther told the Holy Roman Emperor and all the estates of the empire at a meeting at Worms in Germany, 500 years ago. Answering a demand to recant or take back his writings, Luther said:

Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds and reasoning — and my conscience is captive to the Word of God — then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience.

Luther took his stand. He said he could do no other, and he openly prayed for God’s help.

To commemorate the 500th anniversary of Luther’s bold stand on the Word of God, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod at its last convention declared Sunday, April 18, 2021 as “Here I Stand” Sunday throughout the Synod, its districts, circuits, and congregations. Helps for the observance may be found at https://www.lcms.org/here-i-stand-sunday

Luther displayed godly courage in his appearance at Worms, but it was far from his last such display. A video presentation by CID staff member Ken Schurb entitled “Luther: A Profile in Courage” explores others.

Here is the beginning of Dr. Schurb’s presentation:

While he was a United States Senator, John F. Kennedy published a book entitled Profiles in Courage. It was a study of — even, an ode to — courage, “that most admirable of human virtues,” as the book termed it. Not surprisingly, thias book focused on political courage, but it adds that courage “is an opportunity that sooner or later is presented to us all.”

Profiles in Courage never defines courage in so many words, but there are a few themes that add up to its characterization of the noble virtue. They are:
• Consistency with one’s deeply held principles
• at potentially great cost and personal sacrifice
• for the sake of an overarching responsibility.

These categories can serve us in a reflection on Martin Luther as reformer, or on many others in church history. The church could use a large measure of courage these days. So let’s spend the next few minutes considering Dr. Luther as a profile in courage.

Dr. Schurb’s video presentation is on the CID YouTube channel. It can be found at https://youtu.be/L4G98vt4HPg


"Luther at the Diet of Worms" by Anton von Werner. © Staatsgalerie Stuggart
Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 and used with permission.