ENGLEWOOD — Ken Lentz begins his weekly sermon with a magic trick. On Sunday, he was the magic trick.

He transformed from the pastor of the Christ Lutheran Church in Englewood into German monk — Dr. Martin Luther.

"If it's not in the scriptures it's not valid," Lentz told church members while speaking as if he were Martin Luther. "We can't get to heaven through good works because we are not good enough for God. It is by God's grace that we are saved."

Lentz shared "first-person" life stories of Luther who was born in 1483 in Eisleben, Germany. He spoke in small villages about God. He didn't always agree with the Pope's teachings. He challenged things that weren't in the scriptures."

Luther was believed to have said, "Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation." He insisted forgiveness is only for God to grant his children. Luther later disagreed with the Catholic belief of the nature of purgatory.

Lentz told several stories about Luther's life. One was when he went to the home to share the word of God and the dog growled. He said they had a good chat and even broke bread and drank together, but couldn't understand why he drank the water from the dog's bowl.

Church members laughed. He talked about how Luther's marriage was prearranged. At 42, he married a 26-year-old. During their 21-year marriage, the pair had six children which Luther called six “little heathens” from God.

Lentz ended his is in-person documentary explaining the theologian and religious reformer was one of the most influential figures in the history of Christianity. Luther was the catalyst of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation.

"Every year, we in the Lutheran church celebrate Martin Luther," Lentz said.

The holiday is a significant one for both Lutheran and Calvinist churches, although other Protestant communities also tend to commemorate it.

Lentz didn't let COVID-19 disturb his

served parishes in Germany, Ohio, California, Arizona, Hawaii and Florida.

Dr. Luther — who bears a remarkable resemblance to Christ Lutheran’s own Pastor Ken Lentz — plans to “reminisce about his years as an  and his years as professor at the University of Wittenberg,” Lentz said in an email to the Sun.


“Luckily, he’s had 500 years to work on his English and communicate to Floridians his strong convictions about grace, faith and scripture. The message about God’s unconditional love is as relevant today as it was in 16th Century Europe.”

Lentz — who really does resemble the founder of the Reformation in his 16th century garb — is a graduate of Trinity Seminary, and earned his theological doctorate degree in church history with an emphasis on 18th Century pietism from the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

He has published some academic articles as well as a collection of sermons, and taught comparative religions at Henry Ford Community College and church history at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California.

His first love, however, is the parish ministry. Lentz has served parishes in Germany, Ohio, California, Arizona, Hawaii and Florida. This includes a nine-year call at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Venice, where he resides. He began at Christ Lutheran on March 1.

Besides portraying Martin Luther, Lentz also has an interest in is magic, which he often deploys during children’s sermons.

Christ Lutheran Church is at 701 N. Indiana Ave., Englewood. The special Martin Luther service is at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

Dr. Luther — who bears a remarkable resemblance to Christ Lutheran’s own Pastor Ken Lentz — plans to “reminisce about his years as an Augustinian monk and his years as professor at the University of Wittenberg,” Lentz said in an email to the Sun.

“Luckily, he’s had 500 years to work on his English and communicate to Floridians his strong convictions about grace, faith and scripture. The message about God’s unconditional love is as relevant today as it was in 16th Century Europe.”

Lentz — who really does resemble the founder of the Reformation in his 16th century garb — is a graduate of Trinity Seminary, and earned his theological doctorate degree in church history with an emphasis on 18th Century pietism from the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

He has published some academic articles as well as a collection of sermons, and taught comparative religions at Henry Ford Community College and church history at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California.

His first love, however, is the parish ministry.This includes a nine-year call at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Venice, where he resides. He began at Christ Lutheran on March 1.

Christ Lutheran Church is at 701 N. Indiana Ave., Englewood. The special Martin Luther service is at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

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