In Gospel Life Minute, missionary and president, Josh Hutchens, attempts to say something significant in about a minute. In view of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Josh shares about Luther’s claim that suffering is a mark of the true church.
In light of the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, I want to share with you from one of Luther’s less well known writings that’s one of my favorites. It’s called “On the Councils of the Church.” In it he gives seven holy possessions of the true church. We would probably call these seven marks of the true church. What I love about it is that the seventh mark is one that most of us wouldn’t write down and wouldn’t name but Luther gets.
The seventh mark, according to Luther, is this: “the holy possession of the true cross.” Now Luther, as he usually is, is being a little witty here. He is playing on the fact that a lot of places in Europe at the time claimed to have splinters of the actual cross of Jesus. You could visit these relics and thereby gain merit before God through these pilgrimages. But what Luther is saying is that the true cross of Jesus isn’t these splinters of wood. The true cross of Jesus is the cross he commands the church to take up and follow him with—the cross of suffering. The true church isn’t seen in the power of the papacy but the true church is seen in suffering with the Lord Jesus Christ.