The founder of the Church of England, King Henry VIII, hated Luther (who opposed his multiple marriages) and martyred his followers. Later, when Anglicans became distinctly Protestant, they threw in with John Calvin and the Reformed tradition.
Even though the church followed Luther in adopting the Liturgy and emphasizing the Sacraments–thanks to Wittenberg student Thomas Cranmer–the Anglicans don’t do much with Luther. So they are mostly skipping the October 31 celebration.
British journalist Peter Stanford, writing in the left-of-center Guardian, thinks that’s a shame. He says Luther deserves to be celebrated as a populist, a champion of the poor, and the seminal defender of the freedom of speech and the freedom of conscience. He also says Luther is a key founder of the modern era. He was also unimaginably brave.
Now I’m not sure Mr. Stanford fully understands the religious significance of Luther, particularly, his recovery of the Gospel, and there are other things he gets wrong. But you should read his article for an interesting secular perspective on Luther’s cultural influence. [Read more…]