Martin Luther Posts
May 10, 2012 by Jason Hood
The Evangelical Free denomination recently modified its doctrinal statement, led by Greg Strand, Bill Kynes, and others. They did a fine job on this, and you can read the results in the book Evangelical Convictions.
The Canadian branch recently revised their doctrinal statement also and eliminated the requirement of premillennial eschatology in keeping with essentials. The Americans attempted the same but were unable to do so (see Strand’s interview with Ed Stetzer). Too many of the older guard of that denomination have been taught that amil and postmil views were tantamount to liberalism. For instance, the postmil approach was favored by social gospelers who failed to take human sin seriously; the amil interpretation of Revelation (which is suspicious because it takes a symbolic approach and therefore, so the argument runs, does not take scripture literally) has been favored by non-evangelical interpreters in recent years.
Admittedly, guilt by association is rhetorically powerful; but it’s also about the worst argument imaginable for a doctrine. It fails to note that the modern missionary movement spearheaded by Carey, Judson, and others was fueled by postmil expectation; and something like the amil position was held by Augustine, Aquinas, Bernard, Luther, and Calvin.
Should we associate premil theology and interpretation with, say, Jim Jones or David Koresh?2 Comments
February 8, 2011 by Jason Hood
I found this helpful Luther quote in Graham Tomlin, Spiritual Fitness.
Although, as I have said, a man is abundantly and sufficiently justified by faith inwardly, in his spirit, and so has all that he needs, except insofar as this faith and these riches must grow from day to day even to the future life; yet he remains in this mortal life on earth. In this life he must control his own body and have dealings with men. Here the works begin; here a man cannot enjoy leisure; here he must indeed take care to discipline his body by fastings, watchings, labors, and other reasonable discipline, and subject it to the Spirit so that it will obey and conform to the inner man [Christ in us] and faith and not revolt against faith and hinder the inner man, as it is the nature of the body to do if it is not held in check… Works reduce the body to subjection and purify it of its evil lusts, and our whole purpose is to be directed only toward the driving out of lusts. Since by faith the soul is cleansed and made to love God, it desires that all things, and especially its own body, shall be purified so that all things may join with it in loving and praising God. Hence a man cannot be idle, for the need of his body drives him and he is compelled to do many good works to reduce it to subjection.
from The Freedom of a Christian, 1520.
Elsewhere Luther distinguishes between the two types of righteousness, Christ’s righteousness and our own, but notes that they are not unconnected. ‘Proper’ righteousness (our own goodness/virtue) grows out of/flows from the former: “This righteousness goes on to complete the first for it ever strives to do away with the old Adam and destroy the body of sin . . . This righteousness follows the example of Christ in this respect and is transformed into his likeness.” LW 31.300.
December 21, 2010 by Matthew Mason
Jason has rightly pointed out one of the benefits of earning a PhD. But, especially for wannabe ecclesial theologians, these words of Martin Luther are striking:
Doctors of arts, medicine, law and philosophy, can be made by the pope, the emperor, and the university; but be quite sure that no one can make a doctor of Holy Scripture, save only the Holy Ghost from heaven, as Christ says in John vi: ‘They must all be taught of God himself.’ Now the Holy Ghost does not ask after red or brown robes, or what is showy, nor whether a man is young or old, lay or clerical, monastic or secular, virgin or married [we might add: the product of an ivy league graduate school, published in peer reviewed journals, a teacher at a prestigious evangelical seminary, a fellow of SAET...]. Indeed, He once spake by an ass against the prophet that rode on it. Would God we were worthy that such doctors be given us… (quoted in Karl Barth, CD I/1, 19)