EDITORIAL: FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE: THE REFORMERS’ AND OURS

by PAUL WELLS in Vol. 2 No. 2 / October 2016



This issue of Unio cum Christo, in the year preceding the five hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther’s 1517 posting of the Ninety-Five Theses on the church door at Wittenberg, presents several articles that touch on reformational issues and also on New Testament themes related to them.

A central issue at the time of the Reformation was freedom of conscience in the worship of God, and it is important to recall the words of Luther before Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in April 1521 that ring across the years. Interrogated by Johann Eck and requested to answer “without horns” and repudiate his books, Luther rejoined in German:
Since Your Majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason (I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other), my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither safe nor right.


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