Reforming the Church

Today is Reformation Day, the 495th anniversary of Martin Luther posting the 95 Theses against the sale of indulgences.  Some people have been criticizing Lutherans and others who celebrate this day.  Why should we celebrate the shattering of the universal church?

First of all, the posting of the theses did not shatter the universal church.  Luther was reforming the church, and it needed reforming.  Financial corruption (the sale of church offices, the indulgence and relic trade, profiting from Christians terrified of purgatory), sexual immorality (popes with illegitimate children whom they named bishops, brothels for priests, the notion that fornication is better than marriage for clergy under vows of celibacy), and political power (popes with armies waging war against other countries, popes claiming temporal power over lawful earthly authorities).  Even worse, the gospel of Christ was obscured in favor of an elaborate system of salvation by works.  To be sure, the medieval church taught Christ’s atonement on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins, but in practice that was relegated to baptism only.  After baptism, Christians had to atone for their own sins in a complex penitential system, requiring the confession of each sin, works of penance, and even after absolution the punishment of those sins after death in purgatory (unless an indulgence was purchased or rewarded).

That the church needed reforming because of these practices is proven in part by the Council of Trent, which addressed the most blatant financial and moral faults, while keeping the penitential system, though also encouraging personal piety (another fruit of the Reformation over against what had become a mechanistic approach to religion).

The splitting of Christianity came when the Roman church excommunicated Luther for his stance on indulgences, even though it would later grant most of his points.

Reforming the church, though, is something to celebrate and something to keep working on.  I would argue that the same issues that sparked the Reformation are still problems in today’s church, including protestant and Lutheran congregations:  financial corruption (the prosperity gospel, religious scams), sexual immorality (scandals among pastors and church leaders; the pornography plague), political power (the new social gospel of both the right and the left).  And now, as then, we see the Gospel consigned just to first becoming a Christian, so that many people think of Christ’s atonement as applying to conversion, but feeling themselves now as being under the Law.  They have lost the sense of God’s grace and forgiveness as a continuing reality, available through the Word and Sacraments as the constant life force for the Christian life.

So we still need Reformation Day and we still need the message of the Reformation.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Trey

    Amen!

  • Trey

    Amen!

  • Norman Teigen

    And all the congregation said, Amen.

  • Norman Teigen

    And all the congregation said, Amen.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Well done, Gene Veith!

    Happy Reformation Day!

    (keep reforming – the work is never done)

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Well done, Gene Veith!

    Happy Reformation Day!

    (keep reforming – the work is never done)

  • Dan Kempin

    I’ll throw out a proposition just for fun:

    During the time of Martin Luther, the church was very strongly established as a social institution. The church wielded a great deal of money, power, and influence. The struggle at the time was with the CORRUPTION of the church. The false teachings and sins that had naturally appeared among the people of God received the support and sanction of a powerful social institution.

    During our own time, the principles of the reformation remain the same, but the landscape has changed. The struggle of our time is with the DETERIORATION of the church. As false teachings and sins naturally appear among the people of God, there is no social institution, corrupted or otherwise, with the clout to deal with it. Every man does as he sees fit in his own eyes.

    I’ll leave off, for the moment, how the principles and the legacy of the reformation equip us to face this. I’d first like to see what you think of the premise.

  • Dan Kempin

    I’ll throw out a proposition just for fun:

    During the time of Martin Luther, the church was very strongly established as a social institution. The church wielded a great deal of money, power, and influence. The struggle at the time was with the CORRUPTION of the church. The false teachings and sins that had naturally appeared among the people of God received the support and sanction of a powerful social institution.

    During our own time, the principles of the reformation remain the same, but the landscape has changed. The struggle of our time is with the DETERIORATION of the church. As false teachings and sins naturally appear among the people of God, there is no social institution, corrupted or otherwise, with the clout to deal with it. Every man does as he sees fit in his own eyes.

    I’ll leave off, for the moment, how the principles and the legacy of the reformation equip us to face this. I’d first like to see what you think of the premise.

  • Norman Teigen

    The point which you make is the large issue of The Theology of Glory. This is indeed a continuing problem for the church Luther wrote about The Theology of the Cross and there is indeed a distinction to be made.

  • Norman Teigen

    The point which you make is the large issue of The Theology of Glory. This is indeed a continuing problem for the church Luther wrote about The Theology of the Cross and there is indeed a distinction to be made.

  • Dan Kempin

    Norman, #5,

    To whom are you referring?

  • Dan Kempin

    Norman, #5,

    To whom are you referring?

  • Jon

    The Pope has offered this year (2012) a Plenary Indulgence–a get out of purgatory ticket.

    Query: since Luther’s day, how much has actually changed in the Roman church on those points you mention in your second paragraph of this post? (See, Clergy sex scandals, etc.)

  • Jon

    The Pope has offered this year (2012) a Plenary Indulgence–a get out of purgatory ticket.

    Query: since Luther’s day, how much has actually changed in the Roman church on those points you mention in your second paragraph of this post? (See, Clergy sex scandals, etc.)

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I always laugh when people suggest that the Reformation is the shattering of the universal church. Does everybody forget about the Eastern Orthodox and the Great Schism?

    Bah, lift high the cross and pass the beer. I am celebrating the liberation of the Gospel from the abuses called piety among other things.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I always laugh when people suggest that the Reformation is the shattering of the universal church. Does everybody forget about the Eastern Orthodox and the Great Schism?

    Bah, lift high the cross and pass the beer. I am celebrating the liberation of the Gospel from the abuses called piety among other things.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DRLit21C – and what about the Orthodox – “Oriental Orthodox” split (earlier), or the split between the Armenian Church and the rest, or……

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DRLit21C – and what about the Orthodox – “Oriental Orthodox” split (earlier), or the split between the Armenian Church and the rest, or……

  • George A. Marquart

    What many people do not realize is that the Luther who posted his 95 Theses was not the Luther who wrote the Smalcald Articles. The difference was the “Tower Experience”, about 2 years after the theses were posted. Only then was Luther fully overcome by the joy and freedom of the Gospel. That is what the Reformation was all about, and continues to be all about.

    Today’s Church does not see the Gospel as the “Pearl of Great Price” that is worth sacrificing everything else for. We are concerned with morality, liturgics, church architecture, ecumenism and any number of other matters. We are not concerned about the Gospel, because we think we have it in pure form and hear it in its purity every Sunday. We should ponder the meaning of the Gospel even as the Psalmist wrote, Psalm 1,

    “1 Happy indeed is the man
    who follows not the counsel of the wicked,
    nor lingers in the way of sinners
    nor sits in the company of scorners,
    2 but whose delight is the Torah of the Lord
    and who ponders his Torah day and night.”

    It may be that we will find that the pure Gospel has slipped away from us, depriving the Church of its vitality and joy.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

    PS. To Dr. Luther in the 21st Century. ἄξιος, as my Greek friends say.

  • George A. Marquart

    What many people do not realize is that the Luther who posted his 95 Theses was not the Luther who wrote the Smalcald Articles. The difference was the “Tower Experience”, about 2 years after the theses were posted. Only then was Luther fully overcome by the joy and freedom of the Gospel. That is what the Reformation was all about, and continues to be all about.

    Today’s Church does not see the Gospel as the “Pearl of Great Price” that is worth sacrificing everything else for. We are concerned with morality, liturgics, church architecture, ecumenism and any number of other matters. We are not concerned about the Gospel, because we think we have it in pure form and hear it in its purity every Sunday. We should ponder the meaning of the Gospel even as the Psalmist wrote, Psalm 1,

    “1 Happy indeed is the man
    who follows not the counsel of the wicked,
    nor lingers in the way of sinners
    nor sits in the company of scorners,
    2 but whose delight is the Torah of the Lord
    and who ponders his Torah day and night.”

    It may be that we will find that the pure Gospel has slipped away from us, depriving the Church of its vitality and joy.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

    PS. To Dr. Luther in the 21st Century. ἄξιος, as my Greek friends say.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    The most obvious reason we need to remember the Reformation is simply because Rome has not returned to the gospel. Still wallowing in saint-worship, Mariolatry, indulgences, and works-righteousness, she is still Antichrist in the true sense of the word.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    The most obvious reason we need to remember the Reformation is simply because Rome has not returned to the gospel. Still wallowing in saint-worship, Mariolatry, indulgences, and works-righteousness, she is still Antichrist in the true sense of the word.

  • Bob

    I wonder if the morning of that fateful day Luther woke up and thought about losing friends or being estranged from family should he go ahead and post the paper and rock the church boat. I think of others, some martyrs, and some who just voice a concern about church direction …. all paying a price of some sorts.

  • Bob

    I wonder if the morning of that fateful day Luther woke up and thought about losing friends or being estranged from family should he go ahead and post the paper and rock the church boat. I think of others, some martyrs, and some who just voice a concern about church direction …. all paying a price of some sorts.

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith:

    “Today is Reformation Day, the 495th anniversary of Martin Luther posting the 95 Theses against the sale of indulgences. Some people have been criticizing Lutherans and others who celebrate this day. Why should we celebrate the shattering of the universal church?

    The church wasn’t “shattered” on that day, nor was Luther the author. There were many men who went before him, preaching the Gospel, translating the Bible. When you give Luther all the credit for “shattering” the RCC, it’s incorrect.

    Rejection of the Roman Catholic Church took place long before others, this is often forgotten. The foundation for refuting the RCC is well documented and worth noting:

    Peter Waldo 1140 – 1217 preached the Gospel

    Peter Waldo lived in Lyon, France, was extremely wealthy, a merchant. He heard a song about God ALMIGHTY and asked a clergyman how to find God. The clergy read Matthew 19:21 to Peter Waldo, telling him to sell all you have and follow Christ. Peter Waldo believed the only source of true authority came only from the Bible. Waldo, rejected the Roman Catholic Church and teachings. Those who followed Peter Waldo were called Waldensians, they were persecuted for hundreds of years for their beliefs.

    Jan Hus 1374-1415 burned at the stake

    Girolamo Savonarola 1452 – 1498 burned at the stake

    John Wycliffe 1329-84 translated the first Bible from the Vulgate to English

    Theodore Beza 1519-1605

    Martin Bucer 1491-1551

    John Calvin 1509-1564

    John Knox 1505 – 1572

    Martin Luther 1483 – 1546

    Philip Melanchthon 1497–1560

    William Tyndale 1496 – 1561 Made the first printing press

    Ulrich Zwingli 1484 – 1531

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith:

    “Today is Reformation Day, the 495th anniversary of Martin Luther posting the 95 Theses against the sale of indulgences. Some people have been criticizing Lutherans and others who celebrate this day. Why should we celebrate the shattering of the universal church?

    The church wasn’t “shattered” on that day, nor was Luther the author. There were many men who went before him, preaching the Gospel, translating the Bible. When you give Luther all the credit for “shattering” the RCC, it’s incorrect.

    Rejection of the Roman Catholic Church took place long before others, this is often forgotten. The foundation for refuting the RCC is well documented and worth noting:

    Peter Waldo 1140 – 1217 preached the Gospel

    Peter Waldo lived in Lyon, France, was extremely wealthy, a merchant. He heard a song about God ALMIGHTY and asked a clergyman how to find God. The clergy read Matthew 19:21 to Peter Waldo, telling him to sell all you have and follow Christ. Peter Waldo believed the only source of true authority came only from the Bible. Waldo, rejected the Roman Catholic Church and teachings. Those who followed Peter Waldo were called Waldensians, they were persecuted for hundreds of years for their beliefs.

    Jan Hus 1374-1415 burned at the stake

    Girolamo Savonarola 1452 – 1498 burned at the stake

    John Wycliffe 1329-84 translated the first Bible from the Vulgate to English

    Theodore Beza 1519-1605

    Martin Bucer 1491-1551

    John Calvin 1509-1564

    John Knox 1505 – 1572

    Martin Luther 1483 – 1546

    Philip Melanchthon 1497–1560

    William Tyndale 1496 – 1561 Made the first printing press

    Ulrich Zwingli 1484 – 1531

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Dr. Veith,

    A big “Amen!” to your post. You have summed up things very well.

    There is also a most excellent post over at Strange Herring: http://strangeherring.com/2012/10/31/reformation-day-lutherans-vs-alien-righteousness

    And if you don’t mind, I would like to plug a new series I started about this today: “The Coming Vindication of Martin Luther” http://wp.me/psYq5-pR

    +Nathan Rinne

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Dr. Veith,

    A big “Amen!” to your post. You have summed up things very well.

    There is also a most excellent post over at Strange Herring: http://strangeherring.com/2012/10/31/reformation-day-lutherans-vs-alien-righteousness

    And if you don’t mind, I would like to plug a new series I started about this today: “The Coming Vindication of Martin Luther” http://wp.me/psYq5-pR

    +Nathan Rinne

  • Grace

    Nathan @ 14 The Coming Vindication of Martin Luther

    In a ‘nutshell, which belief, or work, are you trying to “vindicate” Martin Luther from?

  • Grace

    Nathan @ 14 The Coming Vindication of Martin Luther

    In a ‘nutshell, which belief, or work, are you trying to “vindicate” Martin Luther from?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dr. Veith makes some good points — ones that I might suggest are often overlooked by the fans of the Reformation. I speak here to my fellow Lutherans.

    Reforming the church, though, is something to celebrate and something to keep working on.

    Indeed. But I think for many of us, the Reformation is all too often merely a thing to celebrate. It is our great war story that we tell to our children and grandchildren, about how we won that day. The good guys won!

    And, you know, I’m not denying that, as such. But one does get the impression at times that we Lutherans are therefore safe in our churches. Because, you know, the battle was won. And now we have the Confessions, a record of that victory.

    But the problem remains. Which is, of course, sin, Satan, and the world. And just as these things worked to obscure the Gospel that is delivered to us in Scripture, so they also obscure the Gospel that was again made clear in the Confessions (themselves pointing us back to that same Scripture). And just as there once were those who claimed to be upholders of Scripture, yet seemed not-terribly-familiar with the words of the same, so we also see self-proclaimed “Confessional Lutherans” who, all the same, aren’t super familiar with the Book of Concord.

    I don’t blame those who, say, move from the ELCA (or other denominations) to the LCMS (or, in my case, from the LCMS to the WELS). If there were obvious theological problems with your old church, then it is fitting to find a church without those problems. But you will not, of course, find a church without any problems.

    And I’m not referring to mere political squabbles or the sins that are so obvious — typically sexual in nature. No, Satan continues to work to obscure the Gospel no matter where you are. That doesn’t mean that all church bodies are equally right or wrong. But it does mean that we cannot sigh with relief and say, “Ah, finally I have found a place where I can rest securely!”

    That, I guess, is the other half of our commemorating Reformation Day. The need for vigilance, to be ready to be unpopular and (nominally) divisive, even in our home church.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dr. Veith makes some good points — ones that I might suggest are often overlooked by the fans of the Reformation. I speak here to my fellow Lutherans.

    Reforming the church, though, is something to celebrate and something to keep working on.

    Indeed. But I think for many of us, the Reformation is all too often merely a thing to celebrate. It is our great war story that we tell to our children and grandchildren, about how we won that day. The good guys won!

    And, you know, I’m not denying that, as such. But one does get the impression at times that we Lutherans are therefore safe in our churches. Because, you know, the battle was won. And now we have the Confessions, a record of that victory.

    But the problem remains. Which is, of course, sin, Satan, and the world. And just as these things worked to obscure the Gospel that is delivered to us in Scripture, so they also obscure the Gospel that was again made clear in the Confessions (themselves pointing us back to that same Scripture). And just as there once were those who claimed to be upholders of Scripture, yet seemed not-terribly-familiar with the words of the same, so we also see self-proclaimed “Confessional Lutherans” who, all the same, aren’t super familiar with the Book of Concord.

    I don’t blame those who, say, move from the ELCA (or other denominations) to the LCMS (or, in my case, from the LCMS to the WELS). If there were obvious theological problems with your old church, then it is fitting to find a church without those problems. But you will not, of course, find a church without any problems.

    And I’m not referring to mere political squabbles or the sins that are so obvious — typically sexual in nature. No, Satan continues to work to obscure the Gospel no matter where you are. That doesn’t mean that all church bodies are equally right or wrong. But it does mean that we cannot sigh with relief and say, “Ah, finally I have found a place where I can rest securely!”

    That, I guess, is the other half of our commemorating Reformation Day. The need for vigilance, to be ready to be unpopular and (nominally) divisive, even in our home church.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I’m 29 today. I’ve always said my birthday is on Reformation day (as opposed to Halloween) when people ask.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I’m 29 today. I’ve always said my birthday is on Reformation day (as opposed to Halloween) when people ask.

  • http://analogreigns.blogspot.com LuxRex

    Grace: Loved your post, and fullly agree.

    One correction though, William Tyndale did NOT make the first printing press, as a movable type printing press invention belongs to Johann Gutenberg in 1484…before Tyndale was born.

    Tyndale DID however translate the first English bible–from the original languages– printed en mass on Gutenberg style presses in the 1530s. There is evidence he was friends with Luther in Wittenberg too in that endeavor.

  • http://analogreigns.blogspot.com LuxRex

    Grace: Loved your post, and fullly agree.

    One correction though, William Tyndale did NOT make the first printing press, as a movable type printing press invention belongs to Johann Gutenberg in 1484…before Tyndale was born.

    Tyndale DID however translate the first English bible–from the original languages– printed en mass on Gutenberg style presses in the 1530s. There is evidence he was friends with Luther in Wittenberg too in that endeavor.

  • Klasie Kraalogies
  • Klasie Kraalogies
  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #16,

    +1

    I declare myself to be in blog post fellowship with you on this, Reformation Day 2012.

    viva la concordia!

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #16,

    +1

    I declare myself to be in blog post fellowship with you on this, Reformation Day 2012.

    viva la concordia!

  • Grace

    LuxRex @18 “One correction though, William Tyndale did NOT make the first printing press, as a movable type printing press invention belongs to Johann Gutenberg in 1484…before Tyndale was born.

    “Tyndale DID however translate the first English bible–from the original languages– printed en mass on Gutenberg style presses in the 1530s. There is evidence he was friends with Luther in Wittenberg too in that endeavor.”

    -

    William Tyndale 1496 – 1561 Did not make the first printing press, it was Gutenberg as you rightly stated – but it was John Wycliffe who translated the hand written copies from the Latin Vulgate into English.

    English Bible History
    John Wycliffe The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in the 1380′s AD by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. Wycliffe, (also spelled “Wycliff” & “Wyclif”), was well-known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, and his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe. The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe had died, he ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river!

    One of Wycliffe’s followers, John Hus, actively promoted Wycliffe’s ideas: that people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, with Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire. The last words of John Hus were that, “in 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.” Almost exactly 100 years later, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention (a list of 95 issues of heretical theology and crimes of the Roman Catholic Church) into the church door at Wittenberg. The prophecy of Hus had come true! Martin Luther went on to be the first person to translate and publish the Bible in the commonly-spoken dialect of the German people; a translation more appealing than previous German Biblical translations. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs records that in that same year, 1517, seven people were burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church for the crime of teaching their children to say the Lord’s Prayer in English rather than Latin.

    Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450′s, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. Gutenberg’s Bibles were surprisingly beautiful, as each leaf Gutenberg printed was later colorfully hand-illuminated. Born as “Johann Gensfleisch” (John Gooseflesh), he preferred to be known as “Johann Gutenberg” (John Beautiful Mountain). Ironically, though he had created what many believe to be the most important invention in history, Gutenberg was a victim of unscrupulous business associates who took control of his business and left him in poverty. Nevertheless, the invention of the movable-type printing press meant that Bibles and books could finally be effectively produced in large quantities in a short period of time. This was essential to the success of the Reformation.
    Martin Luther had a small head-start on Tyndale, as Luther declared his intolerance for the Roman Church’s corruption on Halloween in 1517, by nailing his 95 Theses of Contention to the Wittenberg Church door. Luther, who would be exiled in the months following the Diet of Worms Council in 1521 that was designed to martyr him, would translate the New Testament into German for the first time from the 1516 Greek-Latin New Testament of Erasmus, and publish it in September of 1522. Luther also published a German Pentateuch in 1523, and another edition of the German New Testament in 1529. In the 1530’s he would go on to publish the entire Bible in German.

    GREAT SITE: http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/

  • Grace

    LuxRex @18 “One correction though, William Tyndale did NOT make the first printing press, as a movable type printing press invention belongs to Johann Gutenberg in 1484…before Tyndale was born.

    “Tyndale DID however translate the first English bible–from the original languages– printed en mass on Gutenberg style presses in the 1530s. There is evidence he was friends with Luther in Wittenberg too in that endeavor.”

    -

    William Tyndale 1496 – 1561 Did not make the first printing press, it was Gutenberg as you rightly stated – but it was John Wycliffe who translated the hand written copies from the Latin Vulgate into English.

    English Bible History
    John Wycliffe The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in the 1380′s AD by John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. Wycliffe, (also spelled “Wycliff” & “Wyclif”), was well-known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, and his assistant Purvey, and many other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe. The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Wycliffe had died, he ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river!

    One of Wycliffe’s followers, John Hus, actively promoted Wycliffe’s ideas: that people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, with Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire. The last words of John Hus were that, “in 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.” Almost exactly 100 years later, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention (a list of 95 issues of heretical theology and crimes of the Roman Catholic Church) into the church door at Wittenberg. The prophecy of Hus had come true! Martin Luther went on to be the first person to translate and publish the Bible in the commonly-spoken dialect of the German people; a translation more appealing than previous German Biblical translations. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs records that in that same year, 1517, seven people were burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church for the crime of teaching their children to say the Lord’s Prayer in English rather than Latin.

    Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450′s, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. Gutenberg’s Bibles were surprisingly beautiful, as each leaf Gutenberg printed was later colorfully hand-illuminated. Born as “Johann Gensfleisch” (John Gooseflesh), he preferred to be known as “Johann Gutenberg” (John Beautiful Mountain). Ironically, though he had created what many believe to be the most important invention in history, Gutenberg was a victim of unscrupulous business associates who took control of his business and left him in poverty. Nevertheless, the invention of the movable-type printing press meant that Bibles and books could finally be effectively produced in large quantities in a short period of time. This was essential to the success of the Reformation.
    Martin Luther had a small head-start on Tyndale, as Luther declared his intolerance for the Roman Church’s corruption on Halloween in 1517, by nailing his 95 Theses of Contention to the Wittenberg Church door. Luther, who would be exiled in the months following the Diet of Worms Council in 1521 that was designed to martyr him, would translate the New Testament into German for the first time from the 1516 Greek-Latin New Testament of Erasmus, and publish it in September of 1522. Luther also published a German Pentateuch in 1523, and another edition of the German New Testament in 1529. In the 1530’s he would go on to publish the entire Bible in German.

    GREAT SITE: http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/

  • Grace

    The LINK below will take you to a delightful site, giving much information as to how we got the English Bible, and those who translated it. John Wycliffe’s life, is fascinating.
    ENJOY!

    Timeline of Bible Translation History/How We Got the English Versions of the Bible

    http://www.s8int.com/bibletimeline.html

  • Grace

    The LINK below will take you to a delightful site, giving much information as to how we got the English Bible, and those who translated it. John Wycliffe’s life, is fascinating.
    ENJOY!

    Timeline of Bible Translation History/How We Got the English Versions of the Bible

    http://www.s8int.com/bibletimeline.html

  • larry

    Well said Dr. Veith. Luther said the Gospel is in danger of being covered up every hour. No where has this been proven more true than not just Rome but protestantism. Whether it was Wittenberg or Marburg the issue of gospel covering false teachings are the same…a “gospel ” that is “free…so pay at the door “. Another gospel with extra fine print.

  • larry

    Well said Dr. Veith. Luther said the Gospel is in danger of being covered up every hour. No where has this been proven more true than not just Rome but protestantism. Whether it was Wittenberg or Marburg the issue of gospel covering false teachings are the same…a “gospel ” that is “free…so pay at the door “. Another gospel with extra fine print.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Just to be clear, there were other English Bibles before Tyndale. One in 800, and another about 1100. Now, Tyndale couldn’t read those because the language had changed too much, but it had been done. I am not diminishing Tyndale’s important and necessary work. But it does illustrate the idea that about the time of Luther, the heresy in Rome was reaching a fevered pitch. I mean Rome wasn’t opposed to translating the Bible into Latin, or English, etc. from the outset, but by Luther’s time they were. What is up with that? And the bishop of Rome was getting far more secular power than other bishops ever had. That took years to develop while they suppressed the Bible.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Just to be clear, there were other English Bibles before Tyndale. One in 800, and another about 1100. Now, Tyndale couldn’t read those because the language had changed too much, but it had been done. I am not diminishing Tyndale’s important and necessary work. But it does illustrate the idea that about the time of Luther, the heresy in Rome was reaching a fevered pitch. I mean Rome wasn’t opposed to translating the Bible into Latin, or English, etc. from the outset, but by Luther’s time they were. What is up with that? And the bishop of Rome was getting far more secular power than other bishops ever had. That took years to develop while they suppressed the Bible.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I don’t know if all Lutherans do this on All Saints Day but at my Church we read the names of all members that have died that year, say when and where they were baptized and we ring the bell for each one.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I don’t know if all Lutherans do this on All Saints Day but at my Church we read the names of all members that have died that year, say when and where they were baptized and we ring the bell for each one.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Thanks for pointing out that the social gospel plagues the right as well as the left.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Thanks for pointing out that the social gospel plagues the right as well as the left.

  • brianh

    Always reforming. Cross theology is upstream, tiring theology.

  • brianh

    Always reforming. Cross theology is upstream, tiring theology.

  • P.C.

    tODD@16,

    Well written. Thanks for the insightful comments.

  • P.C.

    tODD@16,

    Well written. Thanks for the insightful comments.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Grace,

    Here is from the preface of the series:

    “The serious Lutheran is confident that Martin Luther and those who follow in his train will, for the most part, be vindicated by God on the last day.

    But will he be vindicated by the Church? I think it is indeed likely that in the future more reflective persons who claim Christ will also embrace Martin Luther’s core biblical insights, and in this short series I am going to make that argument as best I can, based on what I take to be the key facts of how Luther’s conflict with Rome played out in history. All of this has to do with truth increasingly coming to light.

    This series will consist of five parts, posted in reverse order (one every other day hopefully starting on Reformation day, later today). Part V will provide a summary of the case, as well as a collection of links which make further arguments regarding the tragic necessity of the Lutheran Reformation. In part IV, I will draw parallels with other great heroes of the faith who stood against error encroaching in the Church: Athanasius, Augustine, Cyril of Alexandria, and Maximus the Confessor. In part III, I will show how Luther, against his will, was eventually left with nothing but the Scriptures to cling to. In part II, I will talk about the earliest things in his life that appear to have laid the groundwork for the break with Rome. Finally, in part I, I will point out that Luther was a “loyal son of the Pope” – up until the point where he could no longer see a way to be so.”

    +Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Grace,

    Here is from the preface of the series:

    “The serious Lutheran is confident that Martin Luther and those who follow in his train will, for the most part, be vindicated by God on the last day.

    But will he be vindicated by the Church? I think it is indeed likely that in the future more reflective persons who claim Christ will also embrace Martin Luther’s core biblical insights, and in this short series I am going to make that argument as best I can, based on what I take to be the key facts of how Luther’s conflict with Rome played out in history. All of this has to do with truth increasingly coming to light.

    This series will consist of five parts, posted in reverse order (one every other day hopefully starting on Reformation day, later today). Part V will provide a summary of the case, as well as a collection of links which make further arguments regarding the tragic necessity of the Lutheran Reformation. In part IV, I will draw parallels with other great heroes of the faith who stood against error encroaching in the Church: Athanasius, Augustine, Cyril of Alexandria, and Maximus the Confessor. In part III, I will show how Luther, against his will, was eventually left with nothing but the Scriptures to cling to. In part II, I will talk about the earliest things in his life that appear to have laid the groundwork for the break with Rome. Finally, in part I, I will point out that Luther was a “loyal son of the Pope” – up until the point where he could no longer see a way to be so.”

    +Nathan

  • SKPeterson

    Nathan – I was reading elsewhere on the Lutheran blogosphere (I think on Pr. Peter’s blog Pastoral Meanderings about an interesting angle you might take. It is that the Lutheran Reformation was originally a dispute between the Augustinians and the Dominicans. It might be said that the Dominicans won, mostly be having the Augustinians excommunicated. It isn’t a complete account of the differences between the Lutheran Reformers and the later Roman Church, but it leads to the notion of a Dominican Captivity of the Church.

  • SKPeterson

    Nathan – I was reading elsewhere on the Lutheran blogosphere (I think on Pr. Peter’s blog Pastoral Meanderings about an interesting angle you might take. It is that the Lutheran Reformation was originally a dispute between the Augustinians and the Dominicans. It might be said that the Dominicans won, mostly be having the Augustinians excommunicated. It isn’t a complete account of the differences between the Lutheran Reformers and the later Roman Church, but it leads to the notion of a Dominican Captivity of the Church.

  • larry

    The reformation is always needed in general as the Gospel is always in danger of cover up. Just take any run of the mill blog discussion here or elsewhere when the Gospel is really being proclaimed in all its 1000 proof-ness. It doesn’t take five minutes for the lawyers to show up. The greatest enemy of the gospel is that which parades around as the church and “Christian”, not “Albert the Atheist” or some other. That’s the negative aspect.

    But the greatest thing the Christian church can do is proclaim the Gospel. The Gospel is for the dying and despairing not those who are “pulling it off” however that is considered. For who else can both announce and GIVE the Gospel to the person such that they know it is “there’s” and for them. That they truly “know God” and how He is for them.

    Who else, but the Christian church, can proclaim this Gospel that says and gives such great hope and utter comfort, especially when despair for whatever reason is around:

    “I announce the glad tiding the forgiveness of every single one of YOUR sins, they are forgiven”

    “Who is elect, why you are!”

    As you age and your body betrays you increasingly more and more, 20 something was years, decades ago, and death seem to be ever increasingly snow balling your way, the strife and struggle to “stay alive” begins to exhaust one more and more, and exercises which once meant athletic achievement are now survival techniques, more and more death knocks at one’s door, everyday, every year closer: what great comfort it is to realize God baptized me Himself, He washed MY body, this body I feel and touch that is decaying, God baptized ME (YOU) Himself, cleansing it, this very body that He will resurrect soon enough.

    That I have literally touched Christ His very self, I’ve touched the God-man the Lord of Lord’s and Savior at the altar. Where else can one touch God!

    That the Water of God has baptized me and already delivered to me the forgiveness of my sins, the very Holy Spirit Himself in person, delivered me from death and the devil (already), given me eternal life (already), even though this façade of the vale of tears appears otherwise.

    That Christ has already become the sin of the world itself, God became sin itself and because He was resurrected proves He Who alone was the sin of the world was absolved, and since Christ was absolved so was I, so were you and by this we know Who God is.

    That God is being precisely God when He is “pro nobis” for us and this He shows and does in His Word, water, bread and wine.

    That we drink the blood of God Himself and in the blood, alone, is life! How more intimate could God Who is pro nobis be precisely the real God!

    That we don’t have to go off wondering or searching or speculating, where is there a god for me, where is there the God for me? For you can touch Him quite literally, a rank sinner touches the Holy One, with unclean lips no less, His very flesh, His very blood and more than the fiery coal are cleansed.

    Where else can we go away and sing with quite literalness, “Now let your servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen the glory of your salvation…” (Nunc Dimittus) and we know for certain that just as certainly as did Simeon’s eyes see what he sings, so did we and so we sing!

    Where else can water do such great things?

    Where else can an infant hear from God, “I’ve called YOU by name, given you MY name, and have you…and one day I’ll raise you from the dead”.

    Where else does God actually say to you in person, “I forgive you”

    Why, why not say like the eunuch, “why here is water, what in the world prevents me, you, anyone?”

    Why, why not say similarly, “why here is bread and wine, God’s body and blood and God saying take eat and drink…lavishly, here is the forgiveness of sins, here is eternal life to be actually possessed, since God says this, then what in the world prevents me, you, anyone?”

    Why one cannot exhaust this Gospel, one cannot ponder it too much, one cannot savor it enough, it literally gives and goes on and on and on.

    Like a child and a favored story, “Tell it to me again, tell it to me again!”

  • larry

    The reformation is always needed in general as the Gospel is always in danger of cover up. Just take any run of the mill blog discussion here or elsewhere when the Gospel is really being proclaimed in all its 1000 proof-ness. It doesn’t take five minutes for the lawyers to show up. The greatest enemy of the gospel is that which parades around as the church and “Christian”, not “Albert the Atheist” or some other. That’s the negative aspect.

    But the greatest thing the Christian church can do is proclaim the Gospel. The Gospel is for the dying and despairing not those who are “pulling it off” however that is considered. For who else can both announce and GIVE the Gospel to the person such that they know it is “there’s” and for them. That they truly “know God” and how He is for them.

    Who else, but the Christian church, can proclaim this Gospel that says and gives such great hope and utter comfort, especially when despair for whatever reason is around:

    “I announce the glad tiding the forgiveness of every single one of YOUR sins, they are forgiven”

    “Who is elect, why you are!”

    As you age and your body betrays you increasingly more and more, 20 something was years, decades ago, and death seem to be ever increasingly snow balling your way, the strife and struggle to “stay alive” begins to exhaust one more and more, and exercises which once meant athletic achievement are now survival techniques, more and more death knocks at one’s door, everyday, every year closer: what great comfort it is to realize God baptized me Himself, He washed MY body, this body I feel and touch that is decaying, God baptized ME (YOU) Himself, cleansing it, this very body that He will resurrect soon enough.

    That I have literally touched Christ His very self, I’ve touched the God-man the Lord of Lord’s and Savior at the altar. Where else can one touch God!

    That the Water of God has baptized me and already delivered to me the forgiveness of my sins, the very Holy Spirit Himself in person, delivered me from death and the devil (already), given me eternal life (already), even though this façade of the vale of tears appears otherwise.

    That Christ has already become the sin of the world itself, God became sin itself and because He was resurrected proves He Who alone was the sin of the world was absolved, and since Christ was absolved so was I, so were you and by this we know Who God is.

    That God is being precisely God when He is “pro nobis” for us and this He shows and does in His Word, water, bread and wine.

    That we drink the blood of God Himself and in the blood, alone, is life! How more intimate could God Who is pro nobis be precisely the real God!

    That we don’t have to go off wondering or searching or speculating, where is there a god for me, where is there the God for me? For you can touch Him quite literally, a rank sinner touches the Holy One, with unclean lips no less, His very flesh, His very blood and more than the fiery coal are cleansed.

    Where else can we go away and sing with quite literalness, “Now let your servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen the glory of your salvation…” (Nunc Dimittus) and we know for certain that just as certainly as did Simeon’s eyes see what he sings, so did we and so we sing!

    Where else can water do such great things?

    Where else can an infant hear from God, “I’ve called YOU by name, given you MY name, and have you…and one day I’ll raise you from the dead”.

    Where else does God actually say to you in person, “I forgive you”

    Why, why not say like the eunuch, “why here is water, what in the world prevents me, you, anyone?”

    Why, why not say similarly, “why here is bread and wine, God’s body and blood and God saying take eat and drink…lavishly, here is the forgiveness of sins, here is eternal life to be actually possessed, since God says this, then what in the world prevents me, you, anyone?”

    Why one cannot exhaust this Gospel, one cannot ponder it too much, one cannot savor it enough, it literally gives and goes on and on and on.

    Like a child and a favored story, “Tell it to me again, tell it to me again!”

  • larry

    Nathan,

    I’ve just been reading your series, part V, thus far. Very and looking forward to the rest.

    Great work!

  • larry

    Nathan,

    I’ve just been reading your series, part V, thus far. Very and looking forward to the rest.

    Great work!

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  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP @ 30 – that is a very interesting notion. Reference/link would be welcome!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP @ 30 – that is a very interesting notion. Reference/link would be welcome!

  • SKPeterson

    KK @ 33 – Here is the link:

    http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2012/10/not-on-sanctoral-or-ferial-calendar.html

    The relevant portion is the second paragraph of the article cited in the cite that I have posted.

  • SKPeterson

    KK @ 33 – Here is the link:

    http://pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com/2012/10/not-on-sanctoral-or-ferial-calendar.html

    The relevant portion is the second paragraph of the article cited in the cite that I have posted.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    SKPeterson (#30, 34),

    Yeah, I had heard that before. Makes some sense. At some point in my life, hope to read some book-length treatments. Thanks for the link – saw this the other day to. I did a couple posts about Cajetan vs Luther as well that you can find linked at the bottom of part V (“infant faith vs Joan of Arc faith” is one of them)

    Larry (#32),

    Thank you! I wrote the series this past summer, when I was reading these books on the papacy and having all kinds of thoughts about how to bring all of this together. I just posted part IV (I had a lot of fun with the image for this one!): http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/the-coming-vindication-of-martin-luther-athanasius-augustine-cyril-maximus-luther-part-iv-of-v/

    Grace,

    I have just the thing for you. You need to listen to this program: http://issuesetc.org/2012/10/15/3-martin-luther-and-anti-semitism-pr-ron-marshall-101512/ Your argument about Luther’s alledged anti-semitism is evidently used by Lutherans in the ELCA as well so as to not listen to him on topics like the homosexual activity issue as well. Granted they should be listening to the Bible first and foremost, but as we know – and I hope you will come to discover – there has never been a more faithful interpreter of the Bible than Martin Luther.

    Blessings to you!

    +Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    SKPeterson (#30, 34),

    Yeah, I had heard that before. Makes some sense. At some point in my life, hope to read some book-length treatments. Thanks for the link – saw this the other day to. I did a couple posts about Cajetan vs Luther as well that you can find linked at the bottom of part V (“infant faith vs Joan of Arc faith” is one of them)

    Larry (#32),

    Thank you! I wrote the series this past summer, when I was reading these books on the papacy and having all kinds of thoughts about how to bring all of this together. I just posted part IV (I had a lot of fun with the image for this one!): http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/the-coming-vindication-of-martin-luther-athanasius-augustine-cyril-maximus-luther-part-iv-of-v/

    Grace,

    I have just the thing for you. You need to listen to this program: http://issuesetc.org/2012/10/15/3-martin-luther-and-anti-semitism-pr-ron-marshall-101512/ Your argument about Luther’s alledged anti-semitism is evidently used by Lutherans in the ELCA as well so as to not listen to him on topics like the homosexual activity issue as well. Granted they should be listening to the Bible first and foremost, but as we know – and I hope you will come to discover – there has never been a more faithful interpreter of the Bible than Martin Luther.

    Blessings to you!

    +Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Grace,

    By the way, I said “more reflective persons who claim Christ will also embrace Martin Luther’s core biblical insights”

    not

    “Christ will also embrace Martin Luther’s core biblical insights”

    : )

    +Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Grace,

    By the way, I said “more reflective persons who claim Christ will also embrace Martin Luther’s core biblical insights”

    not

    “Christ will also embrace Martin Luther’s core biblical insights”

    : )

    +Nathan

  • SKPeterson

    Nathan – Grace is not a Creedal Christian, she’s a “no Creed but the Bible” Christian. If you understand that inconsistency, then you’ll know what her theological world-view is.

  • SKPeterson

    Nathan – Grace is not a Creedal Christian, she’s a “no Creed but the Bible” Christian. If you understand that inconsistency, then you’ll know what her theological world-view is.

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Grace,

    I mean that since the time of the Apostles there has never been a more faithful interpreter than Luther.

    “Nothing has changed, it’s the churches of this kind who present their books, rather than the inspired, inerrant Word of God.”

    Nonsense. I’m quite happy for you to just read the Bible! Just take all the words seriously – especially when they start talking about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. I’ve noticed that since the 16th c. some folks have had some trouble with those things.

    +Nathan

  • http://infanttheology.wordpress.com Nathan

    Grace,

    I mean that since the time of the Apostles there has never been a more faithful interpreter than Luther.

    “Nothing has changed, it’s the churches of this kind who present their books, rather than the inspired, inerrant Word of God.”

    Nonsense. I’m quite happy for you to just read the Bible! Just take all the words seriously – especially when they start talking about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. I’ve noticed that since the 16th c. some folks have had some trouble with those things.

    +Nathan

  • SKPeterson

    Grace – Quit it with the damnable calumny against Luther on the Jews. You’ve been told repeatedly that you’ve gotten it absolutely bassackwards yet you continue to spout your own hateful little spleen about it despite ample and clear evidence that your position is wrong. We Lutherans certainly don’t put the man on a pedestal, but you have yet to show in any of your posts exactly where Luther got the Bible wrong, and then actually back it up with supporting arguments from the Bible, or even from the early church fathers. You simply say things like “I don’t have time to explain these things” or provide some inapplicable and non-contextual verse from the Bible as a “proof.” You continually argue above your intellectual and theological weight and submit for our review arguments that rate an F- at best. Arguments, to paraphrase, that are so bad they aren’t even wrong.

    For example, it is your reading of Romans 11 that is wrong. Not just really wrong, but completely and totally and horribly wrong. As in blasphemously wrong. Moreover, you insist on some bizarre meaning to Romans 11 while completely ignoring the clear explanations of 5 through 10. It is just so gobsmackingly asinine to jump to the conclusion you espouse and ignore the rest of the argument. Fail, fail, and fail again. Three strikes. Gone to Derry with a hi-de-hi-de-ho.

  • SKPeterson

    Grace – Quit it with the damnable calumny against Luther on the Jews. You’ve been told repeatedly that you’ve gotten it absolutely bassackwards yet you continue to spout your own hateful little spleen about it despite ample and clear evidence that your position is wrong. We Lutherans certainly don’t put the man on a pedestal, but you have yet to show in any of your posts exactly where Luther got the Bible wrong, and then actually back it up with supporting arguments from the Bible, or even from the early church fathers. You simply say things like “I don’t have time to explain these things” or provide some inapplicable and non-contextual verse from the Bible as a “proof.” You continually argue above your intellectual and theological weight and submit for our review arguments that rate an F- at best. Arguments, to paraphrase, that are so bad they aren’t even wrong.

    For example, it is your reading of Romans 11 that is wrong. Not just really wrong, but completely and totally and horribly wrong. As in blasphemously wrong. Moreover, you insist on some bizarre meaning to Romans 11 while completely ignoring the clear explanations of 5 through 10. It is just so gobsmackingly asinine to jump to the conclusion you espouse and ignore the rest of the argument. Fail, fail, and fail again. Three strikes. Gone to Derry with a hi-de-hi-de-ho.

  • SKPeterson

    Another example of your persistent and willful error:

    “Only God can forgive sins, man cannot forgive (absolution) sins, we only need ask God for forgiveness – I know the Lutherans don’t agree. They believe their pastor can forgive sins, just as the RCC, believes their priests can forgive sins. It’s a false belief.”

    In the Absolution the pastor says:

    “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

    Scriptural justification for these words:

    Matthew 16:19 – “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    Matthew 18:18 – “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    John 20:23 – “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

    So, given those clear passages of Scripture, Grace, I’d have to say that you’re calling Jesus a liar.

  • SKPeterson

    Another example of your persistent and willful error:

    “Only God can forgive sins, man cannot forgive (absolution) sins, we only need ask God for forgiveness – I know the Lutherans don’t agree. They believe their pastor can forgive sins, just as the RCC, believes their priests can forgive sins. It’s a false belief.”

    In the Absolution the pastor says:

    “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

    Scriptural justification for these words:

    Matthew 16:19 – “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    Matthew 18:18 – “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    John 20:23 – “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

    So, given those clear passages of Scripture, Grace, I’d have to say that you’re calling Jesus a liar.

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  • Bob

    As long as Christians keep attacking Christians, the influence of the Church will continue to decline in the world. Christians of all denominations had better wake up and realize that they are being overtaken by the non-Christian world in a very big hurry. Indeed, Christians are “infidels” who will be totally wiped off the the face of the earth at worst and at best “religion is just an archaic value.” Suggest Christians cease this attitude that their “differences” are still relevant and come to the realization that Christianity in any form is no longer considered relevant in this world and is indeed under attack even in our so-called free country. Christians being martyred today are not asked what denomination they belong to.

    Quite patting yourselves on the back because of something that happened 500 years ago and take up the cross of something that happened 2000 years ago!

  • Bob

    As long as Christians keep attacking Christians, the influence of the Church will continue to decline in the world. Christians of all denominations had better wake up and realize that they are being overtaken by the non-Christian world in a very big hurry. Indeed, Christians are “infidels” who will be totally wiped off the the face of the earth at worst and at best “religion is just an archaic value.” Suggest Christians cease this attitude that their “differences” are still relevant and come to the realization that Christianity in any form is no longer considered relevant in this world and is indeed under attack even in our so-called free country. Christians being martyred today are not asked what denomination they belong to.

    Quite patting yourselves on the back because of something that happened 500 years ago and take up the cross of something that happened 2000 years ago!

  • Larry

    Nonsense, that presupposes the accepting of false doctrine under the guise of Christian which scripture says to resist. In fact scripture predicts this. Just because the devil creates mass confusion to make people turn away simply means that’s the nature of the spiritual warfare. i.e. create false doctrine then let it move out true doctrine so that Christ is denied and simultaneously deter others from coming. Is this the Word of God’s fault? Hardly.

    There is no Christian unity without unity in doctrine, no such animal exist (this has always been the argument of the sects), other than in vain dreams. Christian unity is the culmination of doctrinal unity not vice versa. That the devil and his servants create this chaotic atmosphere is simply part of the battle the Scriptures predict. In fact IF there were PERFECT unity without sects then that would be a sign the scriptures are false since they predict this everywhere.

  • Larry

    Nonsense, that presupposes the accepting of false doctrine under the guise of Christian which scripture says to resist. In fact scripture predicts this. Just because the devil creates mass confusion to make people turn away simply means that’s the nature of the spiritual warfare. i.e. create false doctrine then let it move out true doctrine so that Christ is denied and simultaneously deter others from coming. Is this the Word of God’s fault? Hardly.

    There is no Christian unity without unity in doctrine, no such animal exist (this has always been the argument of the sects), other than in vain dreams. Christian unity is the culmination of doctrinal unity not vice versa. That the devil and his servants create this chaotic atmosphere is simply part of the battle the Scriptures predict. In fact IF there were PERFECT unity without sects then that would be a sign the scriptures are false since they predict this everywhere.

  • Bob

    You missed the point entirely! Quit hiding behind your “doctrines”. Jesus spoke about the scribes and Pharisees; called them whited sepulchers. That is how you are. You study the letter of the law but your heart is closed to the Spirit. Go find your fellow Christians and open your heart to them. Don’t look at how they are different but how they and you are alike! This is what Jesus asked of his followers. This is what it is like to be a true Christian.

  • Bob

    You missed the point entirely! Quit hiding behind your “doctrines”. Jesus spoke about the scribes and Pharisees; called them whited sepulchers. That is how you are. You study the letter of the law but your heart is closed to the Spirit. Go find your fellow Christians and open your heart to them. Don’t look at how they are different but how they and you are alike! This is what Jesus asked of his followers. This is what it is like to be a true Christian.

  • larry

    Bob,

    Again, nonesense Bob. There is no love of fellow Christians without the correct doctrine. The correct doctrine is the Gospel. Your argument, ironically, is the argument of the scribes and Pharisees. You are confusing Law (letter) and Gospel (spirit) in your thinking, that’s why you arrive at your conclusion the way you do. That’s why Paul says everywhere, “guard the sound form of the doctrine”. Scripture is repleat with this. The Pharisees were wrong not due to their diligence but their confusion of Law and Gospel. (I.e. “love talk” = “law talk” = “the letter”).

    Secondly, the argument of “being closed to the spirit” is always the argument of the pietist/pharisee. The ability to do theology is a gift of God, i.e. all men can do it. Though it can be done without faith, which is to say without the “pro me” Gospel first, this was the error of the Pharisees and hence their only seeing the letter or law and not the spirit or the Gospel, the later intrinisically includes the “pro me” or its not the Gospel at all but another dead letter.

  • larry

    Bob,

    Again, nonesense Bob. There is no love of fellow Christians without the correct doctrine. The correct doctrine is the Gospel. Your argument, ironically, is the argument of the scribes and Pharisees. You are confusing Law (letter) and Gospel (spirit) in your thinking, that’s why you arrive at your conclusion the way you do. That’s why Paul says everywhere, “guard the sound form of the doctrine”. Scripture is repleat with this. The Pharisees were wrong not due to their diligence but their confusion of Law and Gospel. (I.e. “love talk” = “law talk” = “the letter”).

    Secondly, the argument of “being closed to the spirit” is always the argument of the pietist/pharisee. The ability to do theology is a gift of God, i.e. all men can do it. Though it can be done without faith, which is to say without the “pro me” Gospel first, this was the error of the Pharisees and hence their only seeing the letter or law and not the spirit or the Gospel, the later intrinisically includes the “pro me” or its not the Gospel at all but another dead letter.

  • SKPeterson

    Bob – The point of doctrine is to establish precisely how we and others are alike and where we differ. This is nothing more than answering the question that Jesus himself asked, “Who do you say I am?” I’ll ask you this though: Which is more important, opening your heart to a fellow Christian or opening up the Word with that Christian? Did the disciples on the road have a heart-filled experience before or after Jesus opened and explained the Scriptures to them? What is doctrine but the explanation of the Word?

  • SKPeterson

    Bob – The point of doctrine is to establish precisely how we and others are alike and where we differ. This is nothing more than answering the question that Jesus himself asked, “Who do you say I am?” I’ll ask you this though: Which is more important, opening your heart to a fellow Christian or opening up the Word with that Christian? Did the disciples on the road have a heart-filled experience before or after Jesus opened and explained the Scriptures to them? What is doctrine but the explanation of the Word?


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