Thursday, November 1, 2012

In honor of All Saints Day: Trueman on Luther

Carl Trueman has posted a powerful piece playing on Martin Luther's 95 Theses that set off the Reformation, shaking and shaping the world.  Trueman writes of 9.5 Theses for the modern church that Luther would probably post.  Worth thinking about...

1.  Luther saw leadership as primarily marked by servanthood - "The minister, like his Saviour, was to serve the poor and despised and the things that are not."

2.  Luther understood worship as rooted in repentance - "[Luther] did not consider that the primary problem of sinners was that they were hurting...[but] that they were in deliberate rebellion against God and actually enjoying it."  Ouch.

3.  Luther did not care for they myth of cultural influence nor for the prerequisite cultural swagger necessary to catch the attention of the great and good - "He knew that the world really cares nothing for nuance nor for the friendship of the church and attempts by the church to befriend the world are always disastrous to the former."

4.  Luther saw suffering as a mark of the church - "Suffering and being regarded as scum by the world were to go with the territory."

5.  Luther was pastorally sensitive to the cherished practices of older Christians - "The contemporary cult of youth and innovation would have struck him as utterly wrong-headed and insensitive, a capitulation to the tastes and demands of the very category of people least likely to have anything useful or wise to contribute to how the church should go about her business."

6.  Luther did not agree to disagree on matters of importance and thus to make them into practical trivia - "Luther did not allow the tastes of his own day nor the urgent need of a broad confederation to lead him to set aside what he was convinced was the teaching of Scripture."

7.  Luther saw the existence of the ordained ministry as a mark of the church - "Luther quickly came to see that ordained ministers, those chosen by the church as exhibiting the moral and pedagogical abilities described by Paul, were the ones to whom the church was entrusted.  There is a lesson here for a world like ours, where the Beautiful Young Things with computer savvy can aspire to set the churches' agenda by sheer strength of technological ability."

8.  Luther saw the problem of leadership accountable only to itself - "The problem of unaccountable and influential leadership in evangelicalism is alive and well."

9.  Luther thought very little of his own literary contribution to Christianity - "If here were alive today, it is very doubtful that he would be running a website devoted primarily to promoting his own books and pamphlets."

Read the whole thing here.  It's worth your time.

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