Out of Love and Zeal for the Truth

“Out of love and zeal for truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following theses will be publicly discussed at Wittenberg under the chairmanship of the reverend father Martin Lutther [sic], Master of Arts and Sacred Theology … Continue reading

Two hymns for Reformation Day (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

Here are two hymns for Reformation Day that I wrote, which we’ll be singing in our church this Sunday. If you click the tune links, you can sing along. BY GRACE ALONE WE ARE GOD’S OWN By grace alone We … Continue reading

Do the Work But Forsake the Anxiety

“I have seen many youths, excellently brought up and very well educated, who nevertheless became completely corrupt once they lost their teachers and came into their inheritance, others, lacking in upbringing and education, were good men.  What are we to … Continue reading

Dr. Luther’s Warning to the German People

“…it is not fitting for me, as a preacher, vested with the spiritual office, to wage war or to counsel war on incite it, but rather to dissuade from war and to direct to peace, as I have done until … Continue reading

Christians Teach Morals and All the Virtues

In his lectures on Galatians, published in 1535, Dr. Luther discussed the Law as the means by which God reveals sin and brings God’s just punishment on sinners. Second, he identified the Gospel of the free forgiveness in Jesus Christ … Continue reading

Righteousness Comes From Faith

While Martin Luther had formulated the theology of justification from 1515 to 1519, his theological opponents within the papal court called for an ecclesiastical trial for his “false teaching.”  Political circumstances in Europe had distracted his theological enemies and the … Continue reading

A Tiny Error Overthrows the Whole Teaching

“A little yeast leavens the whole lump.” Galatians 5:9 In Dr. Luther’s commentary on this verse, we may observe his typical approach in dealing with false teaching.  Even when someone seems to agree with right doctrine in most matters, divergence … Continue reading

Pride

Pride (superbia) was the foundation of all sin in medieval piety and theology.  A concept well-established on the Bible and the Church Fathers, pride was the devil’s original sin. Augustine of Hippo explained that pride was the original sin of … Continue reading

Our Righteousness Descends to Us

Martin Luther published his edited lectures on Galatians in 1519. In these lectures, we may examine Dr. Luther’s new understanding of justification by faith alone in Christ’s promises.  When he commented on Galatians 2:16-21, Luther discussed the difference between divine … Continue reading

Martin Luther Against Scholastic Theology

We saw that Martin Luther began his rediscovery of the Gospel during his lectures on Romans in 1515-16 (Cause of Salvation). Although Dr. Luther became famous because of the publication of the Ninety-Five Theses in November 1517, his scholarly activities since … Continue reading

The Cause of Salvation

“In human teachings the righteousness of man is revealed and taught, that is, who is and becomes righteous before himself and before other people and how this takes place. Only in the Gospel is the righteousness of God revealed (that … Continue reading

Reformers Are Not Radicals

The Evangelical Lutheran princes of the Holy Roman Empire presented their confession of faith to Emperor Charles V on June 25, 1530.  This document became known as the Augsburg Confession because the meeting took place in Augsburg (in modern southern … Continue reading

Who was this John the Steadfast, anyway?

Kick off your Reformation celebration this year at the annual Reformation Lectures at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN, Thursday, October 27 to Friday, October 28, 2016.  This year’s topic is “The Cost of Confessing: Luther and the Three Princes.”  Hear what … Continue reading

The Princess of the Whole Human Race

“Filius ita factus est homo, ut a spiritu sancto sine virili opera conciperetur et ex Maria pura, sancta, semper virgine nasceretur…” Dass der Sohn sei also Mensch worden, das er vom heiligen Geist ohn männlich Zutun empfangen und von der … Continue reading

Dr Luther on the Office of the Ministry

“This much is sure: Whoever despises the office of the ministry will not think very highly of the Gospel.” [Martin Luther, The Sermon on the Mount, LW 21:226] Dr. Luther wrote these words in the early 1530s.  He preached on … Continue reading

Dr Luther on the Soldier’s Obedience and Just War

“A second question: ‘Suppose my lord were wrong in going to war.’  I reply: If you know for sure that he is wrong, then you should fear God rather than men, Acts 4 [5:29], and you should neither fight nor … Continue reading

The Reformation and Laity Today-Part III

The life of the baptized lay person today should look very similar to the life of the baptized in the sixteenth century.  Most importantly, this baptized priest will gather with the communion of the saints weekly (or more often) to … Continue reading

Luther on Vocation and the Christian Life-Part II

This post is the second on this topic.  In order to read part I, go here: Luther on Vocation Part I Dr. Martin Luther often preached and taught regarding the doctrine of vocation.  His sermons, particularly the collections known as the … Continue reading

A Gracious and Merciful God

“Now, if you are afraid to go to the Sacrament, and your conscience frightens you, as if you were unworthy, put this verse into your heart and on your lips.  Then you must hear and feel how sincerely He calls … Continue reading

Luther on Vocation and the Christian Life-Part I

In the sixteenth century Dr. Martin Luther’s teaching on the office of Christian priesthood liberated the laity from the servitude to an elite spiritual class of tonsured priests who did the really spiritual works on their behalf.  However, having been … Continue reading

Sir Patrick Hamilton, The First Lutheran Martyr in Scotland

Growing up, I had no idea that Lutheran was almost synonymous with German heritage (sorry, Preuses, et al.). The little country parish where I grew up was largely populated by my mom’s family, who were all Metcalfs. This is probably … Continue reading

One Hundred Years of Turpitude

As the quincentennial of Martin Luther’s Reformation draws closer, opponents are also preparing to defame the man, the denominations that carry his name, and Christianity in general. Expect a lazy media narrative that makes Martin Luther responsible for single-handedly destroying … Continue reading

The Word Became Flesh

“Thus the most precious treasure and strongest consolation we Christians have is this: that the Word, the true and natural Son of God, became man, with flesh and blood like that of any other human; that He became incarnate for … Continue reading

The Holy Cross Cannot Be Found Wanting: Luther on Persecution and Martyrdom

Martin Luther never softened his message to make it more acceptable.  He did not do this for his theological opponents, his colleagues, or his agreeable listeners or readers.  If there is something for which we may praise (and criticize) Dr. … Continue reading

The Reformation of Penance

When Martin Luther published his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, he sought to redefine the foundation of late medieval piety: the sacrament of penance.  While he argued that Christ “willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance,” Luther … Continue reading