The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and the Royal Black Institution have launched a Christian witness project to mark the 500th anniversary next year of the start of the Reformation.
In October 1517, Martin Luther nailed his ‘95 Theses’ on the castle door in Wittenberg in Germany– an act widely seen as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, which spread throughout Europe.
The two loyal orders have joined to mark this event with ‘Luther 500: rediscovering the truth of the gospel’.
A series of booklets have been produced: ‘Luther in 10 objects’; ‘Luther’s influence in the British Isles’; ‘They took nails’ a five part devotional based on events in his life; and a series of essays entitled, ‘The Theologian of the Cross’, pre-eminent among these is an essay of the same name by Rev Dr Carl Trueman. There is also a postcard explaining ‘justification’.
An exhibition illustrates the life of Luther and is accompanied by a brochure, 'Out of love for the truth and from a desire to make it plain’.
The resources have been produced to help explain the events surrounding Martin Luther and the Reformation.
The project was launched at Brownlow House, Lurgan, by Edward Stevenson, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, and Millar Farr, Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution.
Mr Stevenson said the evangelism opportunities presented by the Luther project were all the more important at a time of growing secularism in modern society.
“The challenge for the loyal orders is to take our stand for Biblical truth and to call people to salvation through faith alone in Christ alone,” he said.
“It is my prayer through Luther 500 many will come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and as a people we will learn to be like Martin Luther and take our stand for our faith regardless of the cost.”
Mr Farr thanked everyone who had been involved in organising the project and stressed the importance of Christian witness within the institutions.
“It is our desire that this project will re-affirm for our members how central faith is to our two institutions,” he said.
“We also want it to stir up faith within our membership and we want it to be a gospel witness to wider society."
The co-ordinator of the project, Robert Campbell said the project was an investment in the community.
He said: "The work we have done has given our institutions a theological credibility within the evangelical family. People are listening, and after today more people will be listening and using our material."
More information on Luther 500 is available online at www.luther1517.org