Emperor Charles V had one purpose in mind for the meeting on this day: get the Lutherans and Catholics to stop squabbling over doctrine so that the territory would be united politically against the Turks. Actually, he would have preferred that the upstart Lutherans simply give in.
Charles tried several ruses to lessen the impact of the Lutheran contingent. Here’s one: he declared that the Confession would be read in Latin, a language few knew, thereby lessening the influence of the document. But John, prince of Saxony, neatly sidestepped that demand by reminding the Emperor that since they were meeting on German soil, he should allow them to speak German.
Then two laymen stepped to the center of the room before the Emperor with both the Latin and German copies of the Confession. As Dr. Christian Beyer began to read in German, the Lutheran princes rose to their feet.
This must have been one of the most dramatic confrontations in church history. Dr. Beyer read in a loud distinctive voice, so that even those outside the room heard the entire reading.
What a remarkable turn of events for Emperor Charles V! Just nine years earlier, at the Diet of Worms, only one heretic stood before him, Luther, who’d said, “I cannot and will not recant… Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me.” Now, a large number of so-called “heretics” faced him, including many of the most powerful princes of the land.
At the conclusion of the reading, Dr. Gregory Brueck presented the two copies to him with the words, “Most gracious Emperor, this is a Confession which, with the grace and help of God, will prevail even against the gates of hell.”
May we continue to stand on the inerrant, infallible, almighty Word of God.
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand