When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the gate of the church at Wittenberg, Germany, he was trying to invite debate on what he saw as corruptions in the Church. He was probably disappointed that no one accepted his invitation. Perhaps the incident would have slipped into historical obscurity had it not been for the fact that someone—no one knows who--took those 95 theses, translated them into German, printed them up on the printing press recently invented by Guttenberg, and distributed them to the German people. Perhaps the leadership of the church was not ready to debate, but the German people were.
Prior to the advent of the printing press, books had to be hand copied. Only the rich could afford to buy books. Now books and pamphlets could be mass produced at prices the common man could afford. Soon Luther and others were taking advantage of this new technology and distributing religious literature to a spiritually starving people. The German Reformation was born.
In my prior post I pointed out how the printing press of William Brewster had an impact on Reformation in Holland, England, and Scotland. I have no doubt that many printing presses were used by God for His purposes during that era.
Today the cost of buying books is not prohibitive, but the cost of producing books is. So is the means of distributing them. Perhaps, though, God has given His people another printing press. This printing press is not called Guttenberg. It is called Internet. Almost anyone can afford Internet access or find it available publicly. Humble churchmen like Martin Luther. Passionate, yet clear-thinking pastors like John Robinson. Frumpy housewives like Dory.
This is why I call my site “Wittenberg Gate.” I appreciate the Reformation ideal of an exchange of ideas in which we come to understand what others have to say, have our own ideas tested and found worthy or found wanting, and together, as the children of God, share our insights and help each other come closer to God’s precious truth.
Just like those days when the printing press was first used, much of what will be written and distributed will not be worth the paper it is written on (or the cyberspace it occupies). Nonetheless, I pray that God will cause the diamonds to endure and the dust to vanish into obscurity and feed His hungry people. All to the glory of God and the glory of His name!