Arguing against Erasmus, Dr. Martin Luther, of blessed and holy memory, wrote, “Therefore, it is not irreverent, inquisitive, or superfluous, but essentially salutary and necessary for a Christian, to find out whether the will does anything or nothing in matters pertaining to eternal salvation” (Bondage of the Will 116). This same understanding of man is asserted in the Apology to the Augsburg Confession saying, “Knowledge of original sin is a necessity. For we cannot know the magnitude of Christ;s grace unless we first recognize our malady” (AP II.33).
Maybe the title of this article should be, ‘Why your pastor should read Luther everyday,” but since it is summer This seemed appropriate. Why should your pastor read Luther this summer? Reason number one is to be a better preacher. If you have a great preacher in your pastor he will only improve by reading Luther. Luther’s understanding of the will of man guides the proclamation of the Pastor. Your pastor is placed into the pulpit to do one thing; to free you from the bondage of sin, death, and the power of the devil by proclaiming the Gospel of the forgiveness of your sins in the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Luther’s Bondage of the Will asserts this work of the ministry. Reading Luther will only help your pastor better understand what he is to do when preaching both in the Church service and to the individual member either in his study, the hospital, or in their homes.
The second reason to read Luther this summer is to prevent your pastor from reading some other junk. I’m not talking about other good Lutheran writings, but other theological works that contradict the Lutheran Confessions. I doubt any pastor has read all of Luther’s Works. Ask your pastor that. If he says no then ask him to start that process. Reading Luther everyday instead of evangelical material is like filling your stomach with kale and spinach so that you are too stuffed to attempt the Snickers bar.
The third and final reason that your pastor should read Luther this summer is because he needs it. Your pastor is not fed by another pastor on a weekly basis. He does not get to hear sermons every Sunday and sit in bible study. He doesn’t get to have that gift every week. He should have a Father Confessor in order to confess his sins and be fed accordingly with Holy Absolution. However, he does not have anything on Sunday mornings. What he does have is Luther. He should read the Scriptures everyday, the Confessions everyday, and in addition to this read Luther everyday. This will feed your pastor the good things of the Gospel. This is the most important reason why your pastor should read Luther this summer. He should read Luther in order to be fed and comforted in the forgiveness of his sin in order that he may proclaim that same gospel to you. If you pastor doesn’t own Luther’s Works get them for him. If he doesn’t like books, get him the CD. I’m sure there is a kindle version. Encourage your pastor to read Luther and you will benefit from it as well. Let us not tire of doing good for one another, but build each other up int he forgiveness of our sins and the eternal life we share in the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.