God always begins with NOTHING

“It is God’s nature to make something out of nothing; hence one who is not yet nothing, out of him God cannot make anything. . . .Therefore God accepts only the forsaken, cures only the sick, gives sight only to the blind, restores life only to the dead, sanctifies only the sinners, gives wisdom only to the unwise.  In short, He has mercy only on those who are wretched, and gives grace only to those who are not in grace.”

–Martin Luther, “Commentary on Psalm 38,” Luther’s Works 14:163. [Read more…]

Woman of the Reformation

I came across an interesting post from CPH from last winter about Elisabeth Cruciger, the first female Lutheran hymnwriter, who lived a fascinating life in the early days of the Reformation. [Read more…]

The case against the papacy

In honor of Pope Francis’s visit to the United States and in recognition of the papal envy being expressed by many Protestants, we offer Melanchthon’s case against the papacy, as stated in A Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, one of the Lutheran confessions:

1] The Roman Pontiff claims for himself [in the first place] that by divine right he is [supreme] above all bishops and pastors [in all Christendom].

2] Secondly, he adds also that by divine right he has both swords, i.e., the authority also of bestowing kingdoms [enthroning and deposing kings, regulating secular dominions etc.].

3] And thirdly, he says that to believe this is necessary for salvation. And for these reasons the Roman bishop calls himself [and boasts that he is] the vicar of Christ on earth.

4] These three articles we hold to be false, godless, tyrannical, and [quite] pernicious to the Church. [Read more…]

Kierkegaard on Luther

We keep hearing that today’s church needs to change; that is to say, it needs reformation.  What will it take to reform the church?  The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, credited or blamed for inventing existentialism, took up this same question.  First of all, he said, we need a reformer.  And the reformer needs to be like Martin Luther.

It’s fascinating–and perhaps an entry into the mindset of today’s existentialists–to see what Kierkegaard saw in Luther.  Read that after the jump, and click the link to see what he had to say about reform and false reform in the church. [Read more…]

Luther on politicians

The conventional wisdom is that Luther taught total submission to government authorities.  But you’ve got to read what he actually wrote about those government authorities.  Dr. Matthew Phillips usefully quotes from Luther’s most important treatise on earthly government and the Two Kingdoms, in which he makes the Tea Partiers sound mild. [Read more…]

The Pope goes all in on environmental issues

Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato Si  (“praise to you,” from the first words of the document), fully embracing the environmentalist cause.  It warns of global warming, says man is responsible, and calls for sweeping changes to save the earth.  It also, as we will blog tomorrow, makes some sweeping theological changes that constitute a major change in Western Christianity.

You can read the entire document in English here.  After the jump is a news account.  Then I want to pose some questions for our discussion. [Read more…]


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