Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Legacy of Martin Luther

It is October, 2017, the month of the Reformatin's 500th anniversary. The Reformation is considered to have begun when Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door — a kind of social media of the time, and not an act of vandalism. He wanted debate, or serious discussion, on some matters that had been troubling him about the Roman Catholic Church, faith, the Bible, and more.

A movement does not typically happen in an instant, and Luther was a priest and a monk who had been pondering some things for a long time, including his own salvation. He learned some things from Scripture that brought problems into focus, and his writings caused him a heap of trouble, and he was investigated for heresies at the Diet of Worms in 1521. We've heard and read about it a great deal lately. It sounds like a California fad eating style, but actually a diet back then was a formal assembly, and this was conducted in the city of Worms. Now the term makes sense, doesn't it? It's interesting to note that the Protestant Reformation made use of modern technology: the printing press. We use our modern technologies extensively, some for good, some for evil, some for silly pictures.

For people who want to dig deeper, read about John Wycliffe, who laid some of the groundwork that influenced the Reformation.


Martin Luther did not intend to start the Protestant Reformation, but he has a tremendous legacy
Luther at the Diet of Worms, Anton von Werner, 1877
There are people who point to some of Luther's character flaws and views, such as his antisemitism. That does not mean that we should reject everything he taught, that would mean remaining Roman Catholic, which is contrary to God's Word.

Something else that we seem to hear about these days is a legacy, how people will be remembered. Martin Luther did not intend to start a world-changing movement, but the Protestant Reformation eventually ran at full gallop, and others joined in. When you hear about "the Reformers", it was not just Luther and a few friend in Germany, but people in other areas as well. This lasted for several years. Luther wanted the truth of Scripture available to people in their language, and translated the Bible into German. He also took the foundational book, Genesis, very seriously. Many other important considerations were brought to the fore as well.

To learn more, I hope you'll read "Luther's Legacy". For some biographical and historical information, I recommend "Martin Luther: the monk who shook the world".

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Martin Luther Took Genesis Seriously

One of the main problems for Christian theology occurred when Christians ceded the proper understanding of Genesis to secular science. Not only did those owlhoots compromise on long ages, but they often included evolution as well. At this time, liberal theologians were stampeding through academia and the churches, causing a great deal of confusion and apostasy. Theologians back then had forgotten the importance of a solid foundation.


"When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But, if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are." - Martin Luther
Martin Luther had a different problem than we have: some people
rejected six day creation because it seemed too long!
(Click for larger.)
In the course of events leading to the Reformation, Luther realized the importance of the foundation of Scripture itself. He also held fast to the foundation of the gospel message itself, which begins in Genesis. Our creation reformation requires rejecting compromise on biblical truth, beginning from the very first verse.
Five hundred years ago in Wittenberg, Germany, an unusual scholar changed the course of human history using pen and hammer. Dr. Martin Luther protested unbiblical teachings and practices—especially selling indulgences—sparking the Protestant Reformation. Unsurprisingly, a review of Luther’s treatment of Genesis shows how taking Scripture seriously logically leads to taking creation seriously. In fact, Luther appreciated creation enough to record detailed observations of jackdaws and ravens.
To finish reading, click on "Luther, the Reformation, and Taking Creation Seriously".

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Reformation and Creation

As most Christians are aware, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, so don't be surprised when you see a whole passel of articles, sermons, and so forth all over the web. While major movements begin suddenly and have various events leading up to them, October 31 is considered the "official" date when Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg. Then things really took off. No, not because of the apparent vandalism, because that was the form of social media back then. Instead, things really took off because of what Luther had written.

Like Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, creationists are calling for a reformation as well: authority of Scripture
Luther nailing 95 theses, Ferdinand Pauwels, 1872 / Wikimedia Commons
Luther emphasized the solae ("alone"): Scripture, faith, and grace. In later years, "Christ alone" and "glory to God alone" were added. The religious authority of the Roman Catholic Church had usurped its authority, focusing on tradition and selling of papal indulgences. Luther also wanted the Bible available in the language of the people. A common thread is the authority of Scripture.

Biblical creationists have also spurring along a Reformation as well. Evolution is not simply a discussion for academics and scientists, but has ramifications in civil life as well, such as eugenics. Many professing Christians have compromised on the authority of Scripture in favor of atheistic interpretations of ever-changing whims of science. While creationists present evidence that refutes evolution and affirms special creation, we also emphasize upholding the authority of Scripture. Like the Reformation of 1517, many creationists are attempting to call Christians out of secularism and humanism, and back to the Word of God — beginning in Genesis. If we can't trust what God says in the first eleven chapters of the Bible, it should be no surprise that people doubt what God says about sin, repentance, and salvation!
Posting such topics for debate on church doors was the social media of the time. And like incendiary topics in today’s social media, Luther’s “post” soon went viral, setting off a long-lasting firestorm of political and theological conflict across Europe. In the world of that time, royalty and religion, princes and popes, were thoroughly entwined, so such a declaration not only rocked the foundation for church authority, it also destabilized the political structure of the day. The ensuing Reformation, replete with its heroes and villains—their identity often depending on which side of the aisle you occupied—was a turbulent time that turned theology as well as European papal and political power on its head. But apart from strictly historical aspects of the movement, what is the take-home message of the Reformation for today’s Christian?
To read the entire article, click on "The Relevance of the Reformation".