Did Luther start a new religion?

December 13, 2017

This blog has been adapted from EE Guenther The Apache Scout November 1933



Satan likes to start new religions.


All new religions are false.


God has not changed and man has not changed since the beginning. Therefore there is never any need for a new religion. To believe and trust in the Seed of the woman who would crush the Serpent’s head-- that is the only true Gospel. That is the first, the oldest and the only true religion. But Satan does not want to see people saved by God’s own plan of salvation in Jesus. Therefore he starts many new and false religions. Just as a serpent misled Adam and Eve, so that same serpent with his new snake religion, misled many in Apacheland during the last six or seven years. How thankful we are that our Apaches have finally seen the trail of the serpent running through this immoral religion!


But, would you believe it, there are some ignorant people in Apacheland who say that Luther started a new religion some 450 years ago? But Jesus Himself was once accused of starting a new religion. Therefore what people say about Luther need not surprise us.


But let us see if this accusation against Luther is true or false. From a rocky hillside near the North Fork (Diamond Creek) road there flows forth a spring of the purest and clearest water. About 1500 feet downstream the water flows into a swamp. People often make camp by the little swamp because you cannot drive up to the spring. But they never use any of the water in the swamp. It is water that came from the spring, but it is no longer pure. Cattle have tromped about in it; it is stagnant and carries disease germs. When I camped there the first time, a friend told me not to drink from the swamp. He took me up to the old spring with its pure water. If this friend had buried an old barrel full of old water somewhere in the hillside with a pipe leading out he would have started a new, fake spring.


Now Luther in his time soon saw how men had mixed new rules and traditions into the pure water of God’s Word. He saw how it had been poisoned with man-made teachings and abuses. He felt called to warn his people against this new poison mixture. He felt called to lead his people back to the pure spring of God’s revealed Word.


If Luther had figured out a new religion of his own he would have been just like the serpent prophet in Apacheland. He would have been like a man making his own spring with a dirty old barrel buried in the hillside. But Luther did nothing of the kind. He only led his people back into the Bible to read it for their soul’s salvation. John the Baptist wanted no honor for himself. He was glad if he could point out “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” In the same way Luther sought no honor for himself. He was glad only to point out the location of the faithful old spring of God’s Word and Promise.


Let’s prove that: Surely no one would ever accuse Peter of pointing to the wrong spring. On Pentecost Peter pointed not to Mary or Joseph or to what some Rabbi had said. No, this is what he said: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, ye by the hands of lawless men did crucify and slay; this Jesus did God raise up, whereof we are all witnesses. Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit he hath poured forth this, which you see and hear. Therefore: Repent ye and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins: and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And three thousand drank from that pure spring on that day. Three thousand were baptized into the only holy Christian faith.


And some 43 days previous, to what spring did Jesus direct the penitent thief? Was it not directly to HIMSELF?


And the man who was let down to the Christ-spring through the roof of the house, did he not receive forgiveness of all his sins?


Did Peter point to a new spring when he said to the lame man lying at the gate Beautiful: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!”


And was Paul pointing out a new fake spring when he said to the jailor of Philippi: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved?”


Now listen to what Luther says in his own words: “I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord”; “Who has redeemed me a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power  of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and with his innocent sufferings and death”; “That I should be His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness; even as He is risen from death, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.”


Are these not most true and beautiful words? Do they not correspond to that which Jesus and the apostles have said? And yet we do not call Luther a saint, or offer him devotion or invoke his intercession. No, we just thank God Himself for letting Luther join with Peter and Paul in pointing to:


“The fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins;                                              

Where sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.                                  

The dying thief rejoiced to see, that fountain in his day;                                                                   

And there have I, as vile as he, washed all my sins away.                                                          

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream,  thy flowing wounds supply,                              

Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.”


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Pastor Dan Rautenberg

Native American Mission

Field Coordinator

Apache  Christian Training School  (ACTS) Director