Along with the judgment of God, Gerecke was given the task of presenting the good news of the Gospel to these men who had made so much horrible news. To do this Gerecke turned to the Scriptures which speak of Jesus and the Cross. As a Lutheran pastor he was familiar with the Confessions of the Lutheran Church. The Confession that we might say gave birth to the Lutheran Church is the Augsburg Confession. It was presented in 1530 and made clear the teachings of those who were breaking with Rome.
A key article in the Augsburg Confession says that man cannot be forgiven for his sins through his own “merits, works or satisfactions.” Luther’s friend Melanchthon wrote that “we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith” (p. 24). So years and years later, in the midst of a place devastated by war, Gerecke taught the truth of God’s word that through Christ we have peace with God.
One of the things that struck me was the quick statement that when the Augsburg Confession was being presented it was signed by various “secular rulers and magistrates – dukes and princes (and also by the mayor and council of Nuremberg) (p. 21). So Gerecke was in the place in which the leaders had at one time stood firm for the truth of the Word of God and the message of salvation by grace through faith. When they did that they were putting their positions and even their lives on the line.
By God’s grace, Gerecke was sent to leaders who had shunned the faith and called them back to repentance and faith. I am looking forward to reading on in this book and seeing what God did through the Army Chaplain Henry Gerecke.