St. John's Lutheran


100 St. John's Church Road
Concord, N.C.


Established 1745

A Message from Rev. Dr. Mark J. Ericson


When I pulled a quarter out of my pocket there are obviously two sides.  Since the coin is dated 1981 it contains on the front the familiar profile of the first President of the United States: George Washington.  His profile has been on the front of the quarter as far back as I can remember.  The ‘flip-side’ has an image of the eagle with outstretched wings, which also was on that side of the coin as far back as I can remember.  However, in 1999 the eagle was removed from the flip-side and images depicting the fifty states began to be embossed.  Therefore, if you look at quarters in your change purse you will still find Washington on the front; but who knows what you will find on the flip-side? 

            The date of 1517, when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Thesis to the Castle Church door, is officially considered the start of the Reformation.  This date is also what 1999 is to the U.S. quarter; the flip-side of the Church began the splintering of denominations; especially among Protestantism.  Like the flip-side to the quarter, 1517 began an era where you never knew what you were going to hear from a pulpit.  Do not misunderstand me, when you weigh the balance of what Luther was defending, like scripture should be the ultimate authority, I still side with Luther.  In many ways Rome “did it unto themselves”; meaning the split of the Church at the Reformation was ultimately due to the arrogance of Rome at the time, which included greed.  However, I do not think that Martin Luther knew when he nailed to the Castle Church door 95 points of debate that it would precipitate in the years to come multiple splitting of the Church. 

            An almost “willy-nilly” splintering within the Protestant Church goes hand and hand with a deterioration of the theology of Church.  Luther held a healthy understanding of the Church “catholic” until he died.  Yet, add a few centuries, combined a few national revolutions placing a higher value on individual rights, and there becomes a disconnection in people’s ‘minds’ of the meaning of communion and being knit together as Christ’s bride with “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”.   It is sad when you can drive down a country road and pass St. Calvin Presbyterian Church and a mile down the road find another St. Calvin Presbyterian Church.  You know that at one time there was a split probably caused by personalities and issues; but you know that Jesus would have never approved.  Tragically, within the Protestant persuasion of Christianity division has occurred not for the most faithful of reasons and it could all be traced to the flip-side of 1517.  Let us pray for the “one holy catholic Church, (and) the communion of saints.”

God bless you, Pastor Mark