(Jesus said) "Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33
So, history students, here is your lesson for today:
Ptolemy was a Greek scholar who was born in Egypt around the year 85 A.D. He popularized Aristotle's theory which said the earth was the center of the universe, and everything else revolved around our blue planet. Ptolemy's theory was good enough that it held up for about 1,400 years.
At the time of Luther, a fellow by the name of Copernicus, having made some observations, said, "Nope, the sun is the center of our solar system, and the earth revolves around it." The argument of Copernicus was picked up and strongly promoted by Galileo and a dozen other astronomers. Eventually, Galileo's enthusiasm for this new way of thinking was condemned by the church. Galileo was required to recant and spent the last years of his life under house arrest.
Ever since that time the free-thinking world has loved to point to the church and say, "See how narrow-minded you Christians are! The way you treated Galileo proves how you take unreasonable stands against science and the truth."
Most of the time we Christians have heard that criticism and hung our heads in shame.
Well, no longer. A new book written by Christopher Graney, Setting Aside All Authority, has done a thorough and complete review of what happened in those days. What he found out was
1. up until the time of Galileo, the preponderance of scientific evidence supported the idea of an earth-centered universe;
2. that the opponents to Copernicus and Galileo were not primarily motivated by religion when they condemned the new theory, and
3. when the church condemned the new theory, it did so after it had consulted with the leaders of the scientific community.
So, what's the point?
The point is this: the Savior told us there would be times when we would be reviled and persecuted for following Him (see Matthew 10:22). We offer no apologies for the Savior's work or for those who have been faithful in following the Savior, and we are glad to apologize for the many hurtful, painful things we have done wrong.
But we must take a stand for the Savior and contradict the world when it wrongly accuses Him such as this old case about Copernicus and Galileo. We must take a stand because believers should not let their present-day silence lead to the Savior being beaten, spit upon, and lied about -- again.
Once was enough.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that my words and life may boldly point to the wonderful work Jesus has done to save me. This I ask in His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries