Category Archives: Martin Luther

Martin Luther and the Ninety-Five Theses, part 2/3

Tension rises between Martin and his father. Luther takes his monastic vows, and is loyal to the Augustinian order until his excommunication from the church of Rome. Ordained after a couple of years, and faced with conducting his first Mass, he expresses inordinate fear at the thought of the presence of God as he performs what he believed would be the miracle of transubstantiation.He rises through the ranks due to exemplary dedication. He is rewarded by being appointed to take a pilgrimage to Rome. This trip proves seriously disillusioning for Luther, as he witnesses many corruptions among the clergy there. He also sees the faithful coming to Rome and being taken advantage of by the hierarchy. Other accounts corroborate Luther’s claims of the rampant corruption in Rome, so although his account is written after his excommunication, his account is not entirely to be discounted. Among Luther’s concerns was that when the laity seek to do penance, their spiritual concerns should not be met with a sort of spiritual-monetary transaction. Sin is serious, Luther believed, and the Church ought to treat it as such.

A few years later he earns his doctorate, and is invited to be a professor of theology at a new university in Wittenberg, a small town in northeast Germany, quite out of the way of the more influential centers across the German provinces. Luther becomes quite a popular figure, and some time into this new phase of Luther’s life, the scandalous abuse of indulgences reaches Wittenberg. While they were not allowed to be sold in Wittenberg by the local prince, Wittenbergers crossed the river to purchase indulgences from the charismatic indulgence preacher, Johann Tetzel, who marketed them in an excessively crass way which even Catholic authorities today admit were not based in any teaching or practice commended by the Church of the day.

Luther’s response was to post ninety-five theses to organize a formal debate among scholars on the power and efficacy of indulgences. Written in Latin, Luther posted his theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on the eve of All Saints’ Day, October 31, 1517. Luther’s theology has not at this point changed, and his theses were no revolutionary stance, although he does make some valuable statements that reflect the teaching of Scripture and are rooted in sound logic.

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Martin Luther and the Ninety-Five Theses, part 1/3

It may be January 2018 now, but I am finally taking time to post the videos I made of our 2017 DFW Reformation Conference at Mid-Cities Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Bedford, TX the weekend prior to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The camera we used was borrowed from a generous member who did not attend the conference, and we were unable to prevent the camera from shutting off after about 15 or so minutes, so each lecture is uploaded in parts, with only a minute or so of material lost. Today, I am sharing part one of three of Dr. Jonathan Master’s opening lecture, “Martin Luther and the Ninety-Five Theses” along with my own summary which follows.

Background summary of church history.

Rise of Islam (7th-8th centuries) is the most significant event that changed the landscape of the church in history. All the most significant, influential churches, councils and debates, took place in the eastern half of the Roman Empire, centered in Constantinople in Asia Minor (modern day Istanbul, Turkey).

Rise of the Papacy With the fall of Constantinople to Islam, Rome in western Europe arises as the more prominent city among the five Patriarchates across the empire. It is only after this that the Roman Popes begin to assume and claim primacy over other bishops.

Rise of Purgatory Vague references in the ancient era of church history to an intermediate state develop in the Middle Ages to become the penitential system that deals with sins after death. Medieval papal pronouncements establish the teaching of a “treasury of merits” and offer “indulgences” by which the Papacy holds out the hope of a shortened time in Purgatory in exchange for acts of charity. By the time of Luther, this had degenerated to a crass exchange of spiritual benefits for oneself and his loved ones for money.

Background of Martin Luther

Luther’s Father a Successful Entrepreneur who intends to educate his son for a profitable law practice which will not only give Martin a comfortable life, but also benefit the family business. Luther wavers about this life plan before he reaches a crisis point during a lightning storm in a field as he walks one night, pledging to Saint Anne that if he survives, he’ll become a monk.

Our Reformation Party

It’s been a busy October for our little church in the Mid-Cities area of the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas Metroplex. A few months prior, I spoke with a fellow church member in theory about showing the kids of our church the old 1953 film, Martin Luther, starring Niall MacGinnis. Then, a couple of weeks out, the friend with whom I’d previously spoken asked if we were going to do it. Naturally, I was inclined to do so, but I recalled that in addition to this black and white classic, I also have the brand new Torchlighters cartoon, The Martin Luther Story, produced by the partnership of the Christian History Institute and Voice of the Martyrs. I suggested this video would likely be a little more enjoyable than the older film, and my friend, my wife and our pastor’s wife got to work planning a Reformation party for the weekend prior to our annual Reformation Conference, the DFW Reformation Conference.

DCD0693A-739D-4CE9-859D-E1F015661655The ladies put together a plan to host a VBS-style party, opening with my own original children’s song about the Five Solas of the Reformation, set to the tune of “Father Abraham.”

Martin Luther nailed, his Ninety-Five!
Ninety-Five Theses, did Luther nail!
I am justified, through FAITH ALONE!
So let’s reform the church!

I’m a sinner and, a saint am I!
A saint and a sinner, at the same time!
I am justified, by GRACE ALONE!
So let’s reform the church!

A believer-priest, that’s what I am!
I can boldly go before the throne!
My only Great High Priest, is CHRIST ALONE!
So let’s reform the church!

Only 66, books in the Word!
39 Old, 27 New!
The Good News is in, SCRIPTURE ALONE!
So let’s reform the church!

I’m unable to, keep God’s commands!
What he wants, he gives me in his Son!
GLORY goes to God, and GOD ALONE!
So let’s reform the church!

Martin Luther nailed, his Ninety-Five!
Ninety-Five Theses, did Luther nail!
I am justified, through FAITH ALONE!
“The just shall live by faith!”

B25CABEF-997F-49ED-AC5D-F5CD4A719EB8After the kids got the “wiggle worms” worked out of them, we sat them down and fired up the video projector (and yes, we laid down the $80 for a CVLI license to show my DVD publicly). Then the kids moved on to the stations! One station featured a simple game of shooting a nerf gun to knock down five cups representing the Five Solas, another game was a version of pin the nail on the Theses, for my station, my wife decided that I should teach the kids about the Gutenberg press, and how the printing press was so instrumental in popularizing Luther’s reforms. We tried to locate a good model of the Gutenberg press, but on such short notice, the complex wooden and metal model would arrive with only 24 to prepare it. Of course, I bought it anyway, I just wasn’t able to demonstrate it for the kids. I’ll probably build it during my Christmas break . 4A0709D5-7785-4CAF-BFB2-BF82F605181BMy wife did, however, locate a much simpler model of DaVinci’s modification of the Gutenberg press, and she also found a small, die-cast metal pencil sharpener in the form of the Gutenberg press. These I combined with my Playmobil Martin Luther figure to at least give them a nice arrangement for the children’s young eyes. I also laid out a few books with pictures of sixteenth-century print shops and summarized the process the original generations of printers went through to produce books and pamphlets. In a thrilling turn of providence, when shopping one day at Barnes & Noble, I encountered the Penguin publication, Brand Luther, by St. Andrews University scholar Andrew Pettegree. The first few chapters of this gave me a good grasp of the subject which I was able to boil down to a few salient points without going over the kids’ heads more than the subject matter otherwise would make it so easy to do.

AF110242-555D-4E7B-BCFD-B65BA29C75BCFinally, our pastor’s wife “voluntold” her husband to lead the final station, during which he donned a Geneva gown and spoke on the subject of the Diet of Worms, while the kids ate the ever-popular Diet of Worms cake—a dirt cake with gummy worms added. This they washed down with root beer, because, you know what a big advocate of the barley brew Dr. Luther was. Pastor Troutman summarized this council, read his famous “Here I Stand” speech, and also the Emperor Charles’ idle threat, the Edict of Worms, 2613CAFC-19E8-480B-A079-3F63D71FF820which called Luther “a notorious heretic.” According to some podcast which slips my mind at the moment, Charles hoped this edict alone would discourage Luther’s followers and end the spread of Luther’s teachings.

“Luther, the Cross & the Word” | DFW Reformation Conference 2017

ref_con_mcpc_opc_logo_eventbrite_2017

Martin Luther

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

On October 31, 1517, a German monk and professor of theology by the name of Martin Luther posted a notice proposing a public debate to discuss abuses on the part of his Church by which she was taking advantage of the poor, distorting her teachings, and potentially endangering the souls of the faithful. Little did he know that this simple act would spark one of the great historic movements in world history which played a role in bringing the Western world into the modern era, and plant the roots of what would come to be known as the Protestant branch of the Christian Church.

Your neighbors at Mid-Cities Presbyterian Church, along with Protestant churches around the world, are commemorating this event which happened exactly 500 years ago as of this October 31st, by hosting a conference presenting the life of Martin Luther, his posting of the famous “Ninety-Five Theses,” his teachings on the Cross of Christ, and the power of the Holy Scriptures in shaping the Christian life of the believer. We cordially invite you to join us at this special observance of our annual DFW Reformation Conference Friday through Sunday, October 20-22, 2017.

Jonathan Master

Dr. Jonathan Master

Cairn University Professor of Theology, Dr. Jonathan Master will introduce us to the historic life, theology and spirituality of the Father of the Protestant Reformation, Dr. Martin Luther (1483-1546).

Dr. Master teaches theology, church history, and New Testament at Cairn. He also oversees Cairn’s honors program, part of Cairn’s Center for University Studies.

Dr. Master also serves as executive editor of the online magazine Place for Truth, as well as host of the podcast Theology on the Go (both sponsored by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals). He has authored the book A Question of Consensus (Fortress Press) and a number of articles, in addition to editing The God We Worship (P&R). Prior to teaching, he served in pastoral ministry for ten years.

Conference Schedule

Friday 10/20 7:00PM “Martin Luther and the 95 Theses”

Saturday 10/21 9:00 AM “Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross”

Saturday 10/21 10:30 AM “Martin Luther and a Life Shaped by the Word”

Sunday 10/22 10:30 AM Dr. Master preaches “A Mighty Fortress” in morning worship at Mid-Cities Presbyterian Church

CLICK HERE FOR FREE REGISTRATION

How Christ Restored the Gospel to His Church

Post Tenebras Lux Logo

I’ve added a link to the top of my sidebar to the right. It links to Post Tenebras Lux, the website of Dr. Thomas R. Browning, Assistant Pastor of Grace Community Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas. At his site is a lecture series about the life and ministry of Martin Luther and the story of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. It is  the month of October now, and Luther nailed the historic 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517, so it is time to begin gearing up to commemorate the Protestant Reformation, which was the providential way “How Christ Restored the Gospel to His Church.”

More posts that reference Dr. Browning

From Demand to Free Gift

Listen to Lutheran Church Missouri Synod minister, Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, talk about what drove Luther’s hammer

Understanding Law & Gospel

On this episode of the White Horse Inn, Michael Horton addresses the topic, “Understanding Law and Gospel.”

There he goes again… 🙂

WHI-1117 | Understanding Law & Gospel.

Was Martin Luther Anti-Semitic?

November 10th was the 528th birthday of Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther. The Lutheran radio show, Issues, Etc., hosted by Todd Wilken, interviewed Uwe Siemon-Netto of the League of Faithful Masks, and author of The Fabricated Luther, about the popular notion that the writings of Martin Luther which were critical of the Jews were in fact part of the source of the twentieth-century Nazi form of anti-Semitism. I will attempt to summarize Siemon-Netto’s explanation and defense of Martin Luther.

Some of Martin Luther’s writings from late in his ministry certainly do not match the political-correctness of modern Western civilization, but they are hardly the source of Nazi sentiment against the Jews. For starters, late in his life, Luther was wracked with physical pain and illness, which took a serious toll on him. Psychologically, people under such severe physical and emotional stress are prone to give expression to ideas which they otherwise would not. Luther’s earlier writings were are more affirming and caring, urging the evangelization of the Jews.

In sixteenth century Germany, it was still a civil crime to commit blasphemy against the Christian God. Thus, the Jews’ denial of Christ was legally categorized as a violation of German blasphemy laws. While today, Western civilization considers blasphemy laws unjustifiable, we must not judge a man anachronistically when he is seen acting consistent with the context of his own generation.

Luther’s statements critical of the Jews had been, right or wrong, suppressed by the Lutheran church due to their recognition that they reflect something other than theologically Lutheran attitude. These writings were recovered and misused by proponents of the Volkisch movement which promoted pre-Christian pagan ethnocentricity and Romantic nationalism, among other influences. Their racist views are projected back onto Luther and unjustly point to him as a primogenitor of their own views when they were actually engaging in public relations to popularize their own peculiar views.

These days, when people find how the Nazis and other German anti-Semites utilized quotes by Martin Luther, it is easy to come away assuming Luther was anti-Semitic in a manner comparable to Nazi Aryanism. Todd Wilken asked Uwe Siemon-Netto to put in a nutshell what he would recommend as a helpful response and defense of Martin Luther in the light of such assumptions. Siemon-Netto explained as follows:

A)    The entire Lutheran church rejected Luther’s statements that were critical of Judaism;

B)    What Luther wrote against the Jews in his later life was un-Lutheran as compared with his earlier writing on the same subject;

C)    Luther was fallible, and made egregious mistakes—an admission made by Martin Luther probably more than anyone else.

You can hear the entire interview at this link.

Union with Christ and Justification

Happy Reformation Day! October 31, 2011 marks the 494th anniversary of the legendary event considered the spark that ignited the Protestant Reformation when Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, nailed the Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences(commonly known as the 95 Theses) to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. In the years that followed, Luther lead the movement to reform the church’s understanding of what the Bible teaches about the doctrine of justification by God’s grace alone, received through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone. The Lutheran tradition would build on Luther’s work on justification, and they placed it at the center and starting point of all of the benefits of the redemption purchased

Purchase your Martin Luther T-Shirt from ReformationShirts.com

by Christ for his people. But biblical reformation of soteriology didn’t end with Luther and the Lutherans. The Reformed movement also grew alongside of the Lutheran movement, and while both were co-belligerents against the Roman doctrines of justification and the other benefits of redemption in Christ, they differed on the most biblical way to systematize these truths.

Friday on the Reformed Forum’s podcast, Christ the Center, Camden Bucey, Jim Cassidy and Jeff Waddington interviewed Dr. Lane Tipton, the new Charles Khrae Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Tipton was allowed two hours to spell out the differences between the Lutheran and Reformed approaches to justification and many current issues related to this essential aspect of Protestant theology, such as whether Dr. Michael Horton’s academic work on the subject is moving Reformed theology toward a more Lutheran, and therefore,according to Dr. Tipton, semi-Pelagian doctrine of justification. Listen to the podcast at this link

I was introduced to Reformed theology by Michael Horton’s materials and the Lord used his parachurch ministries Christian United for Reformation (CURE) and the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (ACE) and the White Horse Inn radio show to gradually bring me around to embrace it. I will certainly be looking forward to a future Christ the Center program in which Dr. Horton responds to Dr. Tipton’s characterization of his work on justification and the other benefits of redemption in Christ. More public dialogue on this ought to take place, IMHO. At this point, Dr. Tipton’s case sounds convincing and more in line with the Reformed confessions and catechisms, as opposed to Dr. Horton’s efforts to, as I once heard him state on the air, build a kind of ecumenism between Reformed, Lutheran and Anglican traditions. I can see how some synthesis may be taking place in that effort. But what do I know?

Reformata, Semper Reformanda!

 

New Site! ReformationShirts.Com

Tip of the iceberg! Other designs include each of these dead theologians alone, Credo, TULIP, simil justus et peccator. Click this image to see more.

The following is from the About Us page at Fort Worth’s Theological Pursuits Bookstore owner David Jacks’ new website, ReformationShirts.Com. Get yours today! I’ve got three of them myself.

About ReformationShirts.com

David Jacks, in 1995 while studying at SWBTS, circulated a shirt bearing the names and likenesses of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon. The shirt was affectionately known as the “Dead Theologians Society t-shirt.” Since that time, the “DTS” shirt has been re-vamped and has now taken the form of the shirt shown on this web site.

Reformation theology has played an important role in the history of Christianity. With the recent resurgence of Reformation theology, many adhering to the Doctrines of Grace search for ways to expose the world to their beliefs. This shirt “with a bunch of dead guys on the back of it” peaks the interest of onlookers and provides an excellent bridge for introducing these “dead guys'” Biblical beliefs.

About the Logo & Its History

The front of the shirt bears a likeness from the symbol of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation – a “burning bush” with the phrase “After Darkness, Light.” The “burning bush” symbol and the phrase were used by the Reformers to represent the light of the Gospel of Grace overcoming the darkness of the Law of Works propagated by the Roman Catholic Church in the centuries leading up to the Reformation.

The back of the shirt bears the names and likenesses of four of the best-known Protestant Reformers spanning a period of 400 years. A German monk named Martin Luther (1483-1546), whose heart was captured by the belief of Sola Fide (Faith Alone for one’s Justification), sparked the Protestant Reformation on October 31, 1517, when he nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany. Swiss theologian John Calvin (1509-1564) with his emphasis on God’s sovereignty and union with Christ, helped codify the teachings of the Reformation with his first edition of The Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1539. New England Puritan Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), best known for his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and his book Freedom of the Will, helped fan the spark of revival in The First Great Awakening and spread flames of salvation concerning the holiness and grace of God in America in the early to mid 18th century. Englishman preacher Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) spread the Doctrines of Grace in the mid to late 19th century with his passionate and eloquent sermons on the sovereignty and grace of God.

These faithful men best symbolize in the Church’s recent history the beliefs summarized in the five Solas of the Protestant Reformation. These solas are found on the back of the shirt surrounding Luther, Calvin, Edwards and Spurgeon:

Sola Fide ~ Faith Alone

Sola Scriptura ~ Scripture Alone

Sola Gratia ~ Grace Alone

Soli Deo Gloria ~ Glory to God Alone

Solus Christus ~ Christ Alone

May you, too, be inspired and blessed by the truths conveyed on this shirt each time you wear it. And may your whole life be lived in loving obedience. Soli Deo Gloria – TO THE GLORY OF GOD ALONE!

This Just In! Blind Squirrel Finds Nut!

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

                So God created man in his own image,

                                in the image of God he created him;

                                male and female he created them.

                And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

(Genesis 1:26-31 ESV)

To fully understand this passage, one must read the entirety of chapter one. The literary structure can be summarized simply using our key term “dominion.” God created kingdoms: outer space, the sky, the sea, and the land; then God created three kings to exercise “dominion” in each “kingdom”: celestial bodies, birds, sea life of every kind, and the race of Man.  There is a progressive significance in this creation week, with the creation of Man as the climax.

With God’s creation of Man, he gives him a vocation: fill the earth, subdue it, and take dominion over the lesser forms of life. Man lives on the earth as a kind of vice-regent of God.

This passage is applied in many ways by many people, but it can be reduced to something more or less like this. God created Man, then he gave him something to do.  How this idea has been applied varies according to the theological tradition to which the believer subscribes.

Throughout the middle ages, Roman Catholic traditions drove a wedge between the sacred and the secular in such a way that those who were inclined to a vocation of church ministry were seen as inherently superior to everyone else in the ordinary, profane occupations that seemed anything but spiritual. There were priests who worked for God (good), everyone else worked for the world (not so good).

In the sixteenth century, the Protestant Reformers recovered the biblical truth which they called “the priesthood of the believer.” This doctrine emphasized the fact that Christ was the High Priest who mediates between God and Man, and all believers, ordained minister or not, are priests who may now approach God and offer spiritual sacrifices on the basis of Christ’s mediation and intercession. But the Reformers didn’t leave this truth at this point. Application of the priesthood of the believer was made to every aspect of his life. In short, what are his responsibilities? That is his ministry. This idea brought a renewed dignity to labor and developed what is known as the Protestant work ethic. This work ethic taught each believer-priest to work for the glory of God and the good of his neighbor in whatever way his interests, skills and opportunities allow. Much of the productive, technological and industrial development in the modern world finds part of its roots in this Protestant work ethic, which influenced Western culture for the better.

As the centuries wore on, this truth became less and less clear, and Christians became less aware of the spiritual significance of their secular vocations, and the work ethic largely fell by the way side. While historic orthodox Protestants retained this doctrine at least in their theological volumes, if not always preached and lived in their lives, but others kept it in mind, working for the glory of God in their own personal way as the Reformation doctrine of vocation went largely neglected.

In the great cultural shift that took place in the 1960’s, some Protestant ministers, notable among them, Francis Schaeffer, sought ways to recover this truth by encouraging Christians to “engage the culture,” in order to be used by God to once again be the “Light of the World” and “The Salt of the Earth,” in other words, Christians whom God may use to bring glory to God by enlightening their neighbors to the Light of the truth which is in Christ, as well as by being a benefit to their neighbors in their work and their service.

In the decade of the seventies, a few ministers in the charismatic movement had a similar desire to encourage their congregants and the church at large to live more consistently and more visibly as Christians in a sinful world. They, too, had a sense that evangelical Christians had largely ceased being influential members of society, and wanted to do something about it in their way, according to the understanding of their theological tradition. To put it inelegantly, I consider these efforts by Schaeffer and these charismatics, among others as blind squirrels who found a nut, as the old saying goes. The “nut” being some concept of the historic doctrine of vocation.

Fast forward to 2011. This desire to glorify God and serve and evangelize their neighbors becomes misinterpreted by the Left Wing of the American political system as efforts to “take dominion” over the federal government of the United States and establish a theocratic form of government. Looked at in this light, now, doesn’t it sound silly?

Now let’s engage in a comparative study. First read Lutheran journalist and blogger, Edward Gene Veith’s blog post “Vocation as the Christian Life,” and learn more about Luther’s doctrine of vocation and how it ought to be applied in this generation. Then watch the following video posted at www.the7mountains.com and see if you can detect similar motives. Then stop listening to reactionary political Leftists who think those crazy extremist Right Wing Christians are out to overthrow the government and start stoning adulterers and burning witches.

The Words of Life

GCPC Pastor Kyle Oliphint (left) with Dr. David Garner (right)

Thought I’d tease you with a Luther quote given by Dr. David Garner in his message, “The Gospel From Above,” last night at the Full Confidence Conference at Grace Community Presbyterian Church in Ft. Worth, Texas. The highlighted portion is the portion to which Dr. Garner made reference, the rest shows a little context of what Luther was discussing:

“The neglect of Scripture, even by spiritual leaders, is one of the greatest evils in the world. Everything else, arts or literature, is pursued and practiced day and night, and there is no end of labor and effort; but Holy Scripture is neglected as though there were no need of it. Those who condescend to read it want to absorb everything at once. There has never been an art or a book on earth that everyone has so quickly mastered as the Holy Scriptures. But its words are not, as some think, mere literature (Lesewort); they are words of life (Lebewort), intended not for speculation and fancy but for life and action. By why complain? No one pays any attention to our lament. May Christ our Lord help us by His Spirit to love and honor His holy Word with all our heart. Amen.” (LW 14:46)

More to come next week…


Reformation Day is Coming

A few years ago, I was invited to speak on Martin Luther at church. The following link is a Power Point presentation I made for the event. In the sidebar you can find the audio if you’d like to listen and follow along. Just right click on the slideshow link to open it in another tab or window so you can keep this window open to hear the audio, too. I’d make a bigger deal about it, but this being Calvin’s 500th anniversary year, I’m actually a little done with Reformer retrospectives. But I hope you enjoy mine!

If you prefer, however, you can view the slides and read the text here, and here.

Or just click on Luthermania in the category cloud in the sidebar and browse all my Luther posts and read whichever you prefer.

Happy Reformation Day!

View more presentations from jdchitty.

If not a Protestant, then what?

Warren in his pulpitLast night, Saddleback Church pastor, Rick Warren, was interviewed on CNN’s Larry King Live. A couple of pastor Warren’s comments troubled me. Here’s one them.

KING: OK. Do you think Christianity is slipping in America? That’s the front cover of “Newsweek,” out today. Quite a loss occurring in the Christian community. There you see the headline.

WARREN: Well, I would say it’s the best of times and the worst of times. First place, I don’t think that all of the questions that are asked in surveys are always as objective as they could be. For instance, if you ask people, are you a Protestant — and the number of Protestants has gone down dramatically in the last 30 years. I don’t even call myself a Protestant. (emphasis mine) (read the transcript here)

Rick Warren is not a Protestant? What in the world is he? I didn’t think he was the sort that claimed to be “post-evangelical” like the Internet Monk, or a proponent of the “emerging church.” Even though I spent over twenty years in Baptist fundamentalism which denied being Protestants (even though they really are) because of their commitment to a view of Baptist history called “Landmarkism” or Baptist Successionism, I seriously doubt this is the case with Rick Warren.

I searched around the web looking for an answer and the only real lead I could find was found at Apprising Ministries, a discernment ministry blog. One post carries the title, “Southern Baptist Pastor Rick Warren Corrects Martin Luther.” In this post, Warren is quoted as saying:

“Now I don’t agree with everything in everybody’s denomination, including my own. I don’t agree with everything that Catholics do or Pentecostals do, but what binds us together is so much stronger than what divides us,” he said. “I really do feel that these people are brothers and sisters in God’s family. I am looking to build bridges with the Orthodox Church, looking to build bridges with the Catholic Church,….” 

It appears he’s willing to seek common ground with other segments of “Christendom” which deny the gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone, because of Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone–the gospel of the Protestant Reformation. I’m sure Warren affirms this gospel personally, I’m sure he’s aware the Roman Catholic Church anathematized this very gospel at the Council of Trent and has never rescinded such a blasphemous stance. I wonder, however, if Pastor Warren cares. Here’s the link to Apprising Ministries’ category of posts on Rick Warren, if you desire to read more about his activity regarding the relationship between Protestantism and Catholicism.

Do any of my readers know any more about Rick Warren’s stance on Protestant identity? Has anyone ever heard him deny that he’s a Protestant before? I’m interested to learn more about how he categorizes himself.

Bach’s Bible

As a bibliophile, I can only wish (short of praying) to be this lucky:

And, of course, for you inquiring minds, here’s Bach’s Wikipedia entry.

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