Thursday, October 31, 2013

Celebrating Luther Today


Do you know what today is? Reformation Day! On this day in 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis on the church door in Wittenburg, Germany, starting the Protestant Reformation.

What, you thought I was going to say something else?

Justin Taylor has links to Carl Trueman's great posts on Luther's life and theology.
Carl Trueman at Reformation21 has been blogging of late on Martin Luther. Below I’ll provide links to his series on what Luther saw as the six marks of a true theologian, and the nine qualities of a good preacher.
But first, he has a nice list of recommended books for those who want to become familiar with Luther and his work. Read the post for more details on each book, but here’s an outline:
Luther’s Life
Luther’s Writings
  • Martin Luther, Table Talk. (“I would suggest that, if you have never read Luther, this is the place to start.”)
Luther’s Theology
Trueman writes:
To be tired of Luther is to be tired of life. Only crashing bores, I suspect, can remain untouched by him as they read his works, though, sadly, the church has more than a few of those hanging around her doors and pulpits. Still, I trust that the above will whet a few appetites for reading him, reading about him, and using him in the contemporary church.
In Table Talk Luther gives a list of six things that make a theologian. After introducing the topic, Trueman does a series of posts explaining the marks of the true theologian:
  1. the grace of the Spirit (as shaping the theologian’s identity)
  1. agonizing struggle (the essence of which is the universal experience of doubt as antithetical to faith)
  1. experience (the practical, real-life experience of the external word of God impacting the individual)
  1. opportunity (interpreting or responding appropriately to an opportune moment)
  1. careful and constant reading (particularly of the biblical text)
  1. a practical knowledge of the academic disciplines
(Note: numbers 5 and 6 go to the same link, as they are treated in a combined post.)
Then, in a short series, Trueman looks at the nine characteristic that Luther lists for a good preacher. A good preacher should have:
  1. an ability to teach
  1. a good head.
  1. eloquence.
  1. clarity of speech.
  1. a good memory.
  1. know when to stop.
  1. be certain and diligent in his subject.
  1. put his life, limb, possessions, and honor into his subject.
  1. be able to accept ridicule from anyone.
Marks 1-5 are dealt with in the first post, marks 6-9 in the second.