The Greatest Story Ever Told

... and its impact on Augustine, Luther, and Wesley.

Dave Gobbett | 21:15, 14 September 2014

Studies in RomansIt's the year 386AD. An African philosopher is living a decadent life. He's a tortured soul, racked with guilt. Sitting in his garden one day, he overheard the voice of young child repeating in Latin: 'Tolle lege, Tolle lege'. Take it and read, take it and read. He got up, saw a Bible which happened to be lying nearby, and began to read. And he was converted to Christ on the spot. And so Augustine became one of the greatest early defenders of the Christian faith.

1200 years later, a German monk is preparing lectures in his study. He was desperate to be right with God. He travels to St Peter's Church in Rome, and crawls up its steps on his hands and knees crying out to God for mercy. Then suddenly during his studies, he has a breakthrough and becomes convinced of justification by faith alone. We can be accepted by God not because of what we do, but because of what Jesus Christ has already done for us. And like a lightning bolt from heaven, new life in Christ is brought to Martin Luther, whose teaching would ignite the Protestant Reformation across Europe.

As he sat in on a cold pew, the clergyman described his heart as being 'strangely warmed'

200 years on again, an English clergyman walks into a church on Aldersgate Street in the City of London. He heard someone reading aloud the Preface to a Bible commentary by none other than Martin Luther. As he sat in on a cold pew, the clergyman described his heart as being 'strangely warmed', realising then and there that God had forgiven his sins. And so the gospel's light shone into John Wesley, who would become one of Great Britain's great evangelists and leader of the Methodist Church.

And in each case, for Augustine, for Luther, and for Wesley, what they had been reading was the book of Romans.

This Autumn at Highfields we too will be looking at the book of Romans and finding out together what has grabbed people for so long in this Greatest Letter of All. We will start by looking at the first four chapters.  Do join us on Sunday mornings at Highfields as we join with Christians throughout the centuries in studying this magnificent New Testament book.

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