Foremost among those who were called to lead the church from the darkness of popery into the light of a purer faith, stood Martin Luther. Zealous, ardent, and devoted, knowing no fear but the fear of God, and acknowledging no foundation for religious faith but the Holy Scriptures, Luther was the man for his time; through him God accomplished a great work for the reformation of the church and the enlightenment of the world. Great Controversy p 120
It is fitting that we completed the European leg of our trip with meetings in Germany, the birthplace of the Reformation, in this the 500th year anniversary of Luther posting the 95 Theses. The location of our meetings was at a small resort/retreat center owned by Adventists on the outskirts of Speele, a tiny town in between the larger cities of Gottingen and Kassel in the center of Germany. It is near the old border separating East and West Germany, on the Western side. It is a beautiful spot, with nice trails to walk around in the surrounding forests:
This is the third year we have had meetings here. A group of Adventist feastkeepers, whom we do not know much about, had been having their feasts at this location for many years. The year they stopped, we started, giving the place a mysterious sacred legacy. On the walls of the halls are colorful drawings with Russian writing - for 6 weeks every summer the place is used as a camp for children from Chernobyl, where there was the nuclear disaster in 1986.
The meetings were well attended, consistently around 30-40 people, and on Sabbath when the Harmony Quartet came along with their entourage their maybe was 60 people. Most of the people who came are well acquainted with the message, so Adrian went into greater depth on the mirror and God as a consuming fire. There was much Q/A on what it means practically to love our enemies and to recognize our own sinfulness; not judging others but rather to see in their wickedness what we potentially would do if our upbringing, financial situation, circumstances, or life decisions had been different. We want to pray for our fellow man, not judge him.
The work in Germany is moving forward rapidly, Praise God. Jutta has done great work translating, and she was the main translator at these meetings. She is assisted ably by Franziska and Suszana. They put alot of work into the books and the meetings, may God reward them mightily. The amount of material available in German is excellent, and some other countries actually translate from Adrian's German books into their own languages.
The meetings were also blessed by the testimonies of Jary and Steffen, who have only recently learned that there were non-trinitarian Adventists. Both have incredibly interesting backgrounds, having studied their way first into the Adventist message and then into the new light God is sending us at this current time of visitation, 120-plus years after 1888. Jary grew up Muslim and Steffen did missionary work in the Middle East for ten years and they have worked on outreach to Muslims for some time together. They bring a mission minded perspective to the work in Germany, as well as an outlet for this material to reach Muslim minds. This is a fascinating development and we seen the hand of God in it.
Finally we were greatly blessed to see the Harmony Quartet perform in the beautiful old town of Hann. Munden on the last night of the meetings. Franziska invited them for Adrian's birthday, and they were gracious enough to attend the morning Sabbath program. Many of their friends came and took many books; pray these silent preachers will do their work! Adrian as a teenager sang bass in a vocal quartet, even recording an album and cutting some vinyl, so he loved the show, as did his son Danie; for whom they specially sang his favorite song. It was refreshing and encouraging to see how committed they were to sharing the love of God in their singing and in the spoken interludes in between, as they consistenly have been performing for 26 years. We sympathize greatly for the many Christians who are loyal to tradition, and we believe through the message of God's loving character they will feel the freedom and security to overcome their unfounded fears of God and accept new light.
Martin Luther well understood how difficult this process was:
“I feel more and more every day how difficult it is to lay aside the scruples which one has imbibed in childhood. Oh, how much pain it has caused me, though I had the Scriptures on my side, to justify it to myself that I should dare to make a stand alone against the pope, and hold him forth as antichrist! What have the tribulations of my heart not been! How many times have I not asked myself with bitterness that question which was so frequent on the lips of the papists: ‘Art thou alone wise? Can everyone else be mistaken? How will it be, if, after all, it is thyself who art wrong, and who art involving in thy error so many souls, who will then be eternally damned?’ ‘Twas so I fought with myself and with Satan, till Christ, by His own infallible word, fortified my heart against these doubts.”
We pray that Germany will once again establish itself as an intellectual foundation of present truth. This is a people whom God has greatly gifted with the ability to systematically work through doctrine with a zealous steadfastness. As the stability of Europe is eroding with the huge rates of immigration and problems in the interconnectivity of its economic system, Germany, as the leader and center of the European Union, will once again be tested on how it sees itself in relation to the rest of the world. We pray that it would once again make the Bible its strength, drawing on the law of God with an eye to the Kingdom of Heaven, not priding itself on its own man-made efficiencies and power in this world.
So concludes the European leg of our travels. Adrian has some time with his family before they head back to Australia. I have gone to visit some Adventist friends in Belgium whom I hope to share with; I write this from Brussels, the capital of the EU. One is Polish, and I hope to leave some material for him that he may be inspired by this message and pass it on to his friends. Adrian has a burden for Poland, a country so committed to the erroneous traditions of the papacy and has suffered under its yoke more than most. Pray for that. Then it is off to South Africa for more meetings, the first of which are in Cape Town.
May God give us wisdom on how to proceed. May all things be done in the Spirit of Jesus. Each has a special work to do related to the gifts God has given and the culture and circumstances they are in, but we remember that Jesus is our head. To end I quote from the end of the chapter on Luther's break from Rome:
"There was a present truth in the days of Luther,—a truth at that time of special importance; there is a present truth for the church today. He who does all things according to the counsel of His will has been pleased to place men under various circumstances and to enjoin upon them duties peculiar to the times in which they live and the conditions under which they are placed. **If they would prize the light given them, broader views of truth would be opened before them**."