The Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit


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Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit
70 River Road
Montville, NJ 07045
973-263-1696
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Summer Hours:
Sunday

Divine Worship – 9:30 am
Sunday School – Suspended
Bible Study – 10:30 am

Monday - Saturday
Pastor's hours by appointment

Wednesday
Knit & Crochet Group
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

FREE and open to all!

Thursday
Prayer Meeting
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

All are welcome!

Who was Martin Luther?

Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 - February 18, 1546) was a Christian theologian and Augustinian monk whose teachings inspired the Protestant Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines of Protestant and other Christian traditions. Martin Luther was born in 1483 in Eisleben, Germany and was baptized on the feast of St. Martin of Tours, after whom he was named.

Martin Luther attended schools in Mansfeld, Magdeburg and Eisenach. In 1501, at the age of seventeen, Luther entered the University of Erfurt and received his Bachelor's degree one year later. He received a Master's degree in 1505 and enrolled in the law school of that university according to his father's wishes. 

His life changed during a thunderstorm in the summer of 1505. A lightening bolt struck near him as he was returning to school. Terrified, he cried out, "Help, St. Anne! I'll become a monk!" Spared, Luther kept his vow, dropped out of law school and entered the monastery at Erfurt.

Luther dedicated himself to monastic life, the effort to do good works to please God and to serve others through prayer for their souls. He devoted himself to fasts, flagellations, long hours in prayer and pilgrimages, and constant confession. 

Yet peace with God escaped him and the more Luther tried to do for God, the more aware he became of his own sinfulness. He was ordered to pursue an academic career. In 1507, Luther was ordained to the priesthood and began teaching theology at the University of Wittenberg. He went on to earn two more Bachelor's degree over the next two years. In1512, the University of Wittenberg conferred the degree of Doctor of Theology upon Martin Luther.

Martin Luther's Evangelical Discovery

His rigorous studying for academic degrees and preparation of teaching lectures drove Luther to study the Scriptures and the early church in depth. This study convinced him that the Church had lost sight of several central truths. Luther now believed and taught that salvation is a gift of God's grace, received by faith and trust in God's promise to forgive sins for the sake of Christ's death on the cross. This, he believed was God's work from beginning to end.

All Who Call

Luther's "95 Theses"

On October 31, 1517, Luther changed history when he nailed his "95 Theses" to the church door at Wittenberg. Luther's action was a response to the selling of indulgences by a Dominican priest. Luther challenged the position of the clergy in regard to individual salvation, accusing the Roman Catholic church of heresy. Many people cite this act as the primary starting point of the Protestant Reformation, though John Wycliffe, John Hus, Thomas Linacre, John Colet and others had already put their life's work and their lives on the line for the same cause of truth, building the foundation for Reform. Soon, Luther's "95 Theses" had been copied and published all over Europe. 

Luther's call to the Church to return to the teachings of the Bible resulted in the formation of new traditions within Christianity and the Counter-Reformation in the Roman Catholic Church, culminating at the Council of Trent.

"Here I Stand"

Luther's views were condemned as heretical by Pope Leo X in a papal bull in 1520. He was summoned to either renounce or reaffirm them at the Diet of Worms on April 17, 1521. When Luther appeared before the assembly, the spokesman for Emperor Charles the Fifth presented him with a table filled with his writings. Luther was asked if he believed what these works taught. He requested time to think about his answer. Granted an extension, Luther prayed, consulted with friends and mediators and presented himself before the Diet the next day. 

When the same question was put to Luther, he apologized, but said that he could not reject them. Luther respectfully stated, "Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."

On May 25, the Emperor issued his Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw.

Luther in Exile at Wartburg Castle

Luther had a powerful friend in prince, Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony. The prince arranged for Luther to be seized by a company of masked horsemen on his way from the Diet. He was taken to the castle of Wartburg, where he was stayed about a year. 

During this time, Luther worked on translating the Bible. Martin Luther was the first person to translate and publish the Bible in the common, spoken dialect of the German people. His translation of the Bible also helped to develop a standard version of the German language and influenced the art of translation.

The Luther German New Testament translation was published in September of 1522. When his translation of the Old Testament was added, an entire German language Bible was published in 1534.

During his exile, Luther received letters from his friends and allies, including his closest friend, Philipp Melanchthon, who wrote to him and asked how to answer the charge that the reformers neglected pilgrimages, fasts and other traditional forms of piety.

Luther replied, "If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign." [Letter 99.13, To Philipp Melanchthon, 1 August 1521.]

Luther's Writings

The number of books attributed to Martin Luther is impressive. His books explain the settings of the epistles and show the conformity of the books of the Bible to each other. He also wrote about church administration and about the Christian home. His hymns helped spark the development of congregational singing in Christianity.

In 1525, Martin Luther married Katharina von Bora, a former nun, beginning the tradition of clerical marriage within several Christian traditions. Martin Luther died of natural causes in 1546.