SOJOURNER

A European Tour Five Centuries in the Making

You’re in Wittenberg, Germany, approaching the imposing black doors of Castle Church. Its Gothic steeple towers above the quaint town and cobblestone streets. Five centuries ago, the passionate, young Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” on these very doors.

Wittenburg Germany doors

As you stand at this very spot in the year 2017, you can almost hear the whispered voices as word spreads about Luther’s bold proclamation. The voices get louder and more intense as surprise turns to anger. Arguments erupt over the details of the fledgling controversy.

Stepping through the doors, which few tourists are ever permitted to do, you ponder those who took Luther’s initial step and advanced it further. You recall the martyrs, Bible translators, preachers and theologians who risked everything for their commitment to God’s Word. Suddenly, five hundred years after the Protestant Reformation, you begin to understand how so many aspects of your faith—from your ability to read an English translation of the Bible to the very format of your church services back home—began amid these sweeping changes.

Your heart swells with emotion as you stand in Wittenberg—the place it all began.

Travel That Transforms

Other Reformation destinations prove just as meaningful. In Leipzig, a cosmopolitan city known for its connection to classical composers like Bach and Mendelssohn, you visit the site of the former Pleissenburg Castle. Now the home of City Hall, this building hosted the Leipzig Debate in 1519, which led to Luther’s excommunication from the Catholic Church. Here, you reflect on his brave stand for biblical principles despite the harm it brought his career and reputation.

In picturesque Eisleben, a World Heritage Site, you reflect on God’s providence and protection throughout Luther’s life. He was born and baptized in this small village, and despite his arrests and prolonged risk of execution, died peacefully here in 1546. At St. Andrew’s Church, you even see the pulpit—still in use today—where he gave the last four sermons of his life.

Scenic Eisenach further deepens your love for God’s Word. In this city’s imposing Wartburg castle, Luther hid while translating the New Testament into German—giving common people the ability to read Scripture on their own.

You marvel at the beautiful terraced vineyards overlooking the Rhine River, where clifftop castles and towering church spires point heavenward and take your breath away. In Mainz, you explore the birthplace of Johannes Gutenberg, whose invention of the printing press helped spread Luther’s Bible translations throughout Europe. The Bibles on display at the Gutenberg Museum here are among the most valuable books in the world.

Finally, in medieval Worms, you enter one of the oldest cities in Germany through St. Martin’s Gate—the same imposing structure Luther would have passed beneath in 1521. In a public hearing, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church asked him to revoke his “heretical” teachings. You can almost hear the faithful tremor in his voice as he proclaimed, “I cannot and will not recant anything…here I stand, I can do no other.”

Some heard defiance in this statement. Others heard only obedience to his conscience and understanding of God’s Word. How would you have responded if asked to revoke your most precious beliefs?

A Monumental Milestone

Your time in these unforgettable villages, castles, churches and landscapes leaves you with a renewed passion for the Bible, the Church and the conviction of Martin Luther. In the process, you learn of other reformers like John Calvin, Urich Zwingli and Jan Hus. You admire the courage of the many martyrs who followed their lead. You understand how much of your own faith descended from these spiritual leaders.

Then, with gratitude, you note the year: It’s 2017, exactly 500 years since the Reformation began. You savor your ancient surroundings as you realize that Believers all over the world—from American Baptists to Scottish Presbyterians to German Lutherans—are celebrating this anniversary, but very few are doing it in the very places the Reformation occurred.

You will never forget this once-in-a-millennium immersion in the history of your faith.

The Travel Opportunity of a Lifetime

For over a decade, dozens of charming villages in Germany’s picturesque Rhineland region have been preparing for the epic arrival of this anniversary year. Inspiration will be visiting these places during a special Reformation Tour of Europe this fall. As you tour these fascinating landmarks, your appreciation for church history will deepen. Your love of the Bible will expand. Your understanding of the life-changing Gospel will reinvigorate your relationship with God.

Come with us to explore the culture-shaking power of Scripture and reexamine the foundations of the Christian faith.

The Reformation changed the world. Join us on a Reformation tour that will change you.

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