We’re gonna party like it’s 1517

Forget Halloween, this is Reformation Day. A day to celebrate that we’ve got the Bible, that we’re saved by the work of Christ, that we have Christian freedom.

Today at Cranach we will stop making people mad by talking politics; rather, we will make people mad by talking religion. We will devote all of our postings for today and spilling over into the weekend to contemplate all things Reformation. That includes thinking how the Reformation applies today.

We begin with two music videos to set the mood, whereupon I invite you to nail your own theses to the door.

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  • Gal.5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free, standfast therefore and do not again submit to a yoke of slavery.”

    The yoke of slavery is the call in many churches to get busy and show that you are serious about this religious project…’The God Project’, my pastor likes to call it.

    The fact of the matter is we are not serious about it. The only thing we are truly serious about is ‘The Self Project’.

    The Reformation wasn’t about shucking the Roman Church, or tuning up our efforts for the right way to live out our Christian lives. It was about freedom. The freedom for us to live (boldy) always in the shadow of the cross. It was about the freedom of God to be God and save sinners out of His good and gracious will, to be merciful to us for no other reason than He wants to.

    Thanks be to God for using the men and women of the Reformation, then, and now, that we might know of this great love for sinners through faith in Christ Jesus… and Him alone!

  • Excellent point, Steve. You reminded me that this whole “freedom and liberty” project that America is supposed to be about can trace its roots back to Martin Luther.

  • Addendum: I’m not saying that Luther’s reformation was about politics. I’m just saying that before Luther, freedom wasn’t generally viewed as a good thing.

  • Steve @ 1: “Self Project” – well said.

    Last Sunday our vicar preached a sermon on the Reformation – the difference is that in 1517, you had to pay for your salvation. Today they try to tell you don’t need salvation.

  • Anon

    Just as when Luther posted his theses in announcement of an academic debate to be held, my “theses” are not to be taken as a comprehensive definition of the Christian faith, merely a collection of matters which I feel concerned about these days.

    1) Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior!
    2) There is nothing created which does not rightfully belong to Him.
    3) We owe fealty in all of life to our rightful King, in life and in death.
    4) This includes living out all of our vocations in all of life in service to Him and to our neighbor.
    5) We are at war.
    6) The Bible is God’s Word inerrant in the original autographs. It is objectively true on everything that it treats as true, not merely on ‘spiritual things.’
    b) it is to be exegeted historically-grammatically.
    7) Surrendering any part of life to a belief system contrary to the Word of God is treason and idolatry.
    8) The congregation and church building is not a country club. It is a combination boot camp and firebase.
    9) In the Divine Service, God is holding court. We reverence Him according to court protocol (the liturgy). Even though we are also friends.
    10) The Cross is central, and represents everything that is true.

    Do I have to come up with 95? I’d probably have to start just citing articles in the BoC 😉

  • Anon

    Even my “theses points” are not comprehensive regarding their topics!

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Love the title of this post, by the way.
    ‘We’re gonna party like it’s 1517.’
    That’s just too good.

  • Anon

    Susan, more double-bock! Ya, und a pretzl!

  • Ben

    Lord willing,

    On November 1st, All Saints Day, I will celebrate the revitalization of heart for the pure Gospel that sparked on a Wittenburg door and caught fire in hearts throughout the Body of Christ (Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed and on) by saying a prayer for that revitalization to continue to burn brighter in our hearts today.

    I’ve been inviting others to do the same and to consider how truths that cost so much to defend back-when might yet grow fuller in our own hearts today.

    For example:
    How are we saved? By Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. (Sola gratia, Sola fide, Solus Christus, Soli Deo gloria)

    ……..not by: works… (even baptism) sexual purity (a chasity belt won’t get you heaven. Heaven within with help with chastity.

    What is the final authority in religious matters? Scripture alone. (Sola scriptura)

    …. not: mom, the preacher, the Westminister Confession. If we know that cerebrally, tell yourself honestly, has that knowledge really sank the whole 9 inches down?

    What is the Church? The priesthood of all true followers of Christ

    What is the essence of Christian living? Knowing God, intimately, where ever we are, whether it’s preaching to multitudes or sweeping a broom.

    ….. With the defintion of Eternal life and with the GReat Commandments, we are called to -be-. HWJB?

  • Anon

    *Resolved: All Lutheran potlucks must serve beer.


  • FW

    #9 Ben

    To say that baptism is a work and that we are not saved by it, is (to a Lutheran christian) …

    ….EXACTLY saying that preaching the Holy Gospel is a work and that we are not saved by it.

    You do not claim to understand Lutheran christianity if you cannot understand this point.

  • FW

    #9 BEN

    “What is the final authority in religious matters? Scripture alone. (Sola scriptura) ”

    This might seem the same but it isn´t..

    Christ is the final authority and prophets and apostles with unique authority to point to Him. True that Christ can ONLY be known by those prophetic/apostolic scriptures and He can in NO way be separated from them. This distinction is still important because it is possible to have an inerrant bible with a false christ, and therefore a christless bible (eg mormons, jehovah´s witnesses, some religious conservatives and liberals).

    “…. not: mom, the preacher, the Westminister Confession. If we know that cerebrally, tell yourself honestly, has that knowledge really sank the whole 9 inches down?”

    This implies that for eternal security/certainty of salvation it is important to check under the hood for the sincerity or quality or quantity of faith. That further there is something IN us that our salvation depends on. Maybe a decision for christ. Lutheran christians trust in their infant baptisms. that in that act, that was applied to them personally, God promised and delivered faith, salvation and everything he/she would ever have to gain eternal salvation. This is precisely why Lutherans do not talk alot about the quality or quantity of their faith but rather point to the cross, baptism, holy communion and merely say “trust in those things, cling to those things, even if you doubt your own faith. your heart and even your faith can deceive you. God is true. You can hold him to the promise he made to you personally in your baptism sealed with the gift of faith which he gave to you in Baptism by the Holy Spírit.

    “What is the Church? The priesthood of all true followers of Christ”

    another slight tweak. the church is the priesthood of all believers gathered around, created, and sustained by the Word and sacraments. your statement implies Christ, but here he needs to be made central, not believers. he is the true vine, he is the body, we are fruit and parts of that body. He needs to be at the center of any thought of church, rather than believing or believers or “following”.

    “What is the essence of Christian living? Knowing God, intimately, where ever we are, whether it’s preaching to multitudes or sweeping a broom.”

    I would say existing in a living connection to the crucified and resurrected christ. There will come a time for many when we are with alsheimers, in a coma breathing our last breath. infants can´t preach or sweep. Yet, even without conscious thought, they are part of the body of christ, fruit of the true vine. They were baptized! that is the unshakable proof that what happened 2000 years ago was applied to them personally and not in abstract theory.

    Agreed in advance Ben that most of these differences seem like a 1 degree difference. but 1 degree would have meant that apollo never would have landed on the moon. you ably showed the subtle yet important differences between westminster and wittenberg.

  • I think this thread proves something important: With Veith inviting everybody to jump in, we got 12 responses (before this one). But one of the latest political threads is well over 110. Does not speak much about how we are enthusiastic about our socio-political impact, but the matters much closer to the heart of our faith are overlooked?

    Who saves us? Christ, or our socio-politcal campaigns??

  • Anon,
    Regarding point 7. The sanctuary is so much more than that. It is, if I were to follow your analogy, a battle field infirmary, where Christ’s wounded soldiers in the Church militant find healing, comfort, solace, and most of all rest.
    I went through boot camp, That isn’t somewhere I want to return Sunday after Sunday.

  • Ben

    For our perusal on “Christ Alone”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6wMB-AWLC4

    and FW: I’ would love to dialogue but I’m late for a dance. I look forward to continuing this conversation after that and church tonight.

    God bless!

  • FW

    wow. great video clip. hard to find contemporary music that talks about Jesus and in a substantive way says why we should love him.

    please let´s continue. you have some great ideas and I would like to ask you some questions.

    your brother by blood and water, fw

  • FW

    #13 scylding

    tell it brother.

  • Anon

    Scylding, what if it only means that politics are more contentious with this bunch?

    I agree. I said it wasn’t exhaustive or balanced. I was putting that in opposition to the ethnic country-club model. I think I also said “firebase” which includes your additional elements, and then of course there is the sanctuary itself and the Divine Service, and so on.

  • kerner

    Scylding @ 13:

    I don’t know for sure the reason why we are so focused on politics at present. But if I had to guess, it is that politics are such an immediate matter to us right now. The news people have called this a “pivotal” election for us, and they may be right. We are in the midst of a political contest that is likely to affect our country’s history, so it is only natural that we are engaged in that pretty heavily now.

    That doesn’t mean that we have forgotten our faith. I don’t know about everybody else, but after all this political angst, I don’t feel much like arguing religion right now. I feel a lot more like going to church, hearing the gospel, confessing my sins, asking God to forgive them and being absolved; that sort of thing.

    If we are just going to go by numbers, I think we spent over 300 comments (re 2 different posts) trying to talk Michael out of his atheism when we first met him.

    (Doesn’t seem to have worked yet, Caligula, but we WILL keep praying for you)

    So I am pretty sure the readers of this blog have plenty to say about faith and theology most of the time.

  • I’m likely alone in enjoying this, but as an alternative to Ben’s clip (@16), may I suggest Tourniquet’s “Sola Christus”:


    If you can’t understand the lyrics (it is a metal song, after all), just Google [“Sola Christus” Tourniquet lyrics]. They’re out there.

    All told, not too bad a song. Interesting harmonies. And it’s rather odd (for me) to find such basic Lutheran (or Lutheranesque) theology in a Christian metal song — in my experience, you’re more likely to find something approaching Reformed theology in “Christian music”, all the more so as the music gets more “rock”.

    And yeah, the Latin is biffed, I think. Should be “Solus Christus”, right? Ah well. And only three out of five solas. Still, just an interesting data point.

  • kerner


    I don’t think this is strictly metal (maybe speed metal, but I’m too old to distinguish all the genres), but back in the 80’s, Undercover had an album called “Boys and Girls, Renounce the World”, and the song “Boys and Girls” is about babies’ faith. Another rare example of Lutheran doctrine infiltrating Christian rock.


    The lyrics are likewise available by googling the band and song title.

    Maybe you’ll like it. Or maybe I can’t tell good metal from bad.

  • kerner

    Well, having listened to a few more songs, maybe Undercover is punk. Some of their stuff reminds me of the Ramones.

  • Ben

    “This might seem the same but it isn´t..”

    By scripture I refer to that which is God-breathed (and I think I’m in good company in that because every time the Holy Spirit used the word graphe in the New Testament he was referring to holy writ). Given that and a Christian worldview that knows only of Christ-founded scripture, then the richness and complexity of the word’s full nuance (some of which you thankfully brought to attention) was mentioned in the broader word: scripture.

    “This implies that for eternal security/certainty of salvation it is important to check under the hood for the sincerity or quality or quantity of faith.”

    I disagree. It refers to what is authoritative in truth. We know the Bible is the only absolute authority. The “final court of arbitration” and so forth, but understandably, for many of us it yet remains for us to completely reckon that supreme authority in the theater of our hearts where the wisdom of the ages and “sages” and people we love and positions hold more persuasive weight than the Bible rightly understood, and should there be a conflict there (say in matter of finance) mom’s advice would hold over the Spirit’s counsel in Proverbs.

    About the Church, all of those ways we are united with Christ that you add I agree with. So we’re understood, when I originally wrote most of that post, the goal was to make a concise one-line definition/description that referenced reformation principles for a facebook event. I’d be grateful if someone comes up with a better way of saying it in as many words. (Oh, and I don’t think those additions make Christ more central. If anything (and this is a stretch of stretches), it distances him by putting Him at the end of longer list.)

    About calling, my intent was to borrow from Jesus’ prayer in John 17, as it seems J.I. Packer has, and to emphasize that it’s a state of being we’re called to, one that begets (if you will) good works. I say we agree on much, except of course as it comes to baptising infants, but I never made any pretense of understanding Lutheran theology. Someday I hope to.

    Amen that many small differences do have immense consequences down the line. Thank God that we are still in Christ despite the errant trajectories, and thank God for mental finitude hindering our losing ourselves in the full consequential madness of our misconceptions.