Let me tell you one of my favorite Halloween stories. It involves an old castle haunted by lies. The Castle Church in Wittenberg held one of the largest collections of religious artifacts in all of Europe. King Frederick III of Germany absolutely loved collecting these “holy relics.” By 1520, he had acquired over 19,000 relics! Many of these relics included old bones which were believed to be bones of the apostles. Other extraordinary relics in his collection were things such as a piece of wood from the cross of Christ, straw from baby Jesus’ manger, and vials of milk from the Virgin Mary.
What made these relics so valuable was due to the alleged spiritual power they possessed! Many people believed that praying to those relics would earn them good merits with God. By praying to such a large number of relics one could even reduce their time in purgatory by 5,000 years! King Frederick III agreed to open his castle to the public on the Day of All Saints, allowing access to his relic collection. Of course, entrance was only provided to those who paid money. This event was the opportunity of a lifetime! Now was the chance to get ahead and stockpile up on spiritual credit!
But before the Day of All Saints arrived, something else happened. Someone nailed a paper up on the door of the Castle Church. This list of 95 points was publicly posted the day before the grand opening. It challenged the belief of praying to relics for salvation. On October 31, Martin Luther hammered his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg. That act changed the world forever! His challenge that day was also an appeal for debate. He was not merely attacking and condemning falsehood, but actually wanted to have a dialogue about it. What he was basically saying was, “Look at what is happening. This is not right! What we are believing doesn’t make sense! This desperately needs to be discussed and studied.”
Every challenge must also have an invitation. The gospel of Jesus is not only the greatest challenge ever given, it is the most glorious invitation! When God confronts you and me over the falsehood of our thoughts and feelings, He is also appealing for us to experience Him on a level of truth we never dreamed possible! In Scripture, God calls us into open dialogue with Him about our very need for redemption.
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; thought they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”— Isaiah 1:18 NIV
Updated: Oct 16, 2011