The Luther Reading Challenge

Some people from the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasburg, France, have been teaching Luther and his theology to an international crowd in Wittenberg for the last six years.  They have been amazed at how Luther’s articulation of the Gospel addresses contemporary issues and contemporary religious struggles.

So in conjunction with Lutheran Forum, this group is sponsoring a Luther Reading Challenge.

You can go to this  website to find free readings from Luther.  You can discuss them here and in groups of your own.  The reading project will continue until the 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses, which will be on October 31, 2017.

Read about it after the jump and take the Luther Reading Challenge! [Read more...]

Super-Christians & vows against vocation

In the second in Mission Work’s series on a Lutheran perspective on faith & work, Rev. Adam Roe offers a post entitled No super-Christians.  He discusses Luther’s reaction against the view that those who want to be particularly spiritual–”super-Christians”–would become monks, nuns, or priests.  These were considered callings from God–”vocations”–while lay occupations were not.

I would add that the specific way that a person became a “super-Christian” contributed to the problem:  A person who sought to become “religious” took–and still takes–vows.  [Read more...]

Luther’s favorite Bible verses

You know those 76 red volumes of the collected works of Luther in English?  Well, there are a lot more writings by the Reformer that have not been translated into English.  Concordia Publishing House is adding more translations to the series, including this Volume 77 of the Church Postils (a series of sermons meant to be read in other churches–a genre in which Luther developed and promulgated the doctrine of vocation).

As we’ve posted, Dr. Benjamin Mayes  has been working on this project for CPH, going over untranslated writings of Luther.  Dr. Mayes came across a simple list of Bible verses that Luther said gave him comfort and that he used to console himself.   See the Bible verses after the jump.  Then look them up. [Read more...]

The comfort of Baptism

Dr. Benjamin Mayes is working with Concordia Publishing House on the new translations of Luther’s Works.  He was researching what Luther wrote about where Christians can find comfort.  Dr. Mayes writes, “Baptism is one of the comforting things, alongside various Bible passages, that console us regarding God’s particular love for us, giving peace of conscience and certainty of salvation. See LW 51:166 for an example: “Then, in this Christian church, you have ‘the forgiveness of sins.’ This term includes baptism, consolation upon a deathbed, the sacrament of the altar, absolution, and all the comforting passages [of the gospel].”  After the jump, two powerful quotations from Luther on the comfort that we can find in Baptism. [Read more...]

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Luther, Madison, and the Two Kingdoms

Rev. Matthew Harrison, the president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, discusses a letter President James Madison sent to a Lutheran pastor in 1821 upon reading one of his sermons:

It is a pleasing and persuasive example of pious zeal, united with pure benevolence and of a cordial attachment to a particular creed, untinctured with sectarian illiberality. It illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.

 President Harrison then goes on to give a very clear and perceptive explanation of the Doctrine of the  Two Kingdoms, which Madison was picking up on, which gives an alternative both to the view that the church should try to rule the world and the view that Christians should withdraw from that world. [Read more...]


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