In the heat of the summer, news came to the ears of a most senior spiritual leader, a man beloved by many because he brought the true and right interpretation of the Word. Over his many years of service, countless thousands – nay millions – had looked to him for a trusted word, a guiding touch, a reminder of what lay ahead for the faithful. The news troubled this man, for it was news that all was not well within his church, news that one of his most trusted leaders had betrayed his calling. Accusations of financial impropriety, sexual immorality, and doctrinal deviance were now being leveled against this leader and his most senior and trusted counsel.
So one early Saturday morning, the man called into his presence those that he trusted and opened the Scriptures and read. “‘Arise O Lord and judge Thy cause. A wild boar has invaded Thy vineyard.’” He closed the Bible, turned to his counsel and said, “So it is for us this morning. There is a wild boar in God’s vineyard. And if this boar is allowed to run free, he will tear this church apart, bringing disgrace upon all of us and those that we serve. Go, find this man, and bring him to us so that we may set these matters straight. Either he will come into line with the truth; or we will sever our ties with him and warn the faithful of his deviance.”
Weeks passed, but all proceeded as the spiritual leader had directed. The wild boar was brought before the elders for questioning.
“Why do you level these charges against us? Why do you question a man who has given his life to serve God?”
But the boar remained silent, enraging the assembled elders.
“Do you not see that you yourself are being misled by the Devil? Do you not see that you are a blasphemer? A liar? A thief, stealing the hearts and minds of God’s people away from the true teaching of the Word.”
Still the boar remained silent, as the gathered grew even more agitated and perplexed.
“Speak man. Will you capitulate and recant the words that you have falsely spoken against God’s anointed representative for this church and save your own soul in the process?”
“I have been convinced,” said the boar. “My eyes can see no other. Do to me as you wish.”
So the assembled elders looked to one another, conferred for a few moments and made this stunning pronouncement.
“If this is your final stand, please know that we must remove you from the office you have held and publicly condemn you as a man no longer fit to lead the sheep.”
And with those words, the meeting was adjourned and the wild boar was sent on his way. The leader and his counsel drafted a public document. The people had to be warned. They must understand that the boar was now a dangerous man.
The wild boar’s beliefs were condemned as heretical, scandalous, false and offensive to pious ears. The people were told that these beliefs were seductive to simple minds and repugnant to truth. The boar was called upon to repent of his ways or face the consequences of his stubborn rebellion.
And thus began the Protestant Reformation. One wild boar dared to announce that the emperor had no clothes. Luther knew that this stand could cost him everything that he had worked for in his life or possibly even his life. Speaking truth to power is never easy and is always terrifying both for those who speak and for those that wonder whether these “heretical” words could possibly be true.