Catholicism Reformation

Is Doctrine a Matter of the “Wisdom of the Crowd?”

The recent quincentennial of the Reformation brought a passel of celebration within Protestantism. For the most part, this has been a reaffirmation that whatever else he failed to reform, Luther’s recovery of justification by faith alone a thing to be cherished.  Even Pope Francis, speaking of Luther’s view of justification by faith alone said, “On this point, which is very important, he did not err.”[1] But as the Twitterati were rejoicing over these Reformation truths,…

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Reformation The Church

Nominal Christianity and the Reformation Legacy

Reconciliation comes not when we accept ourselves as we are, but when we accept the sacrifice of Christ in our place. On this 500th Reformation Day, and leading up to it, there has been a plethora of commentary on the divisions that remain in the Church. These have typically focused on the Rome-Protestant divide, but there is another divide, just as tragic, perhaps even more so. That is those churches and believers who trace their…

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Bible Reformation

Priesthood: The Other Recovered Reformation Truth

When people think of the Reformation and its heritage, the most common thing is the recovery of justification by faith alone.  But one of the other things that Martin Luther proclaimed was the priesthood of all believers.  Luther didn’t practice this to the degree that the Reformation step-children (the Anabaptists) did, but still, this was a truth he did revive. With all of the talk about Protestants and Rome being not that far apart, we should recall that…

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Catholicism Reformation

The Fragile Doctrine of Justification

As all but cave-dwellers know, this coming Tuesday, October 31st, is the 500th anniversary Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses to door of the castle church in in Wittenberg. Many have commented that the Reformation is over, and that the similarities between Rome and Protestantism are such that the two sides should pursue a shared future. But this is wishful thinking at best, and willful ignorance at worst. The two sides are by no means in…

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Culture Reformation

Luther’s Lessons on Gospel Vigilance

The just-released documentary Luther is an interesting bit of filmmaking. It is artful and professional, and hits on some key points of why the Reformation took place. (Nor does the film shy away from some of Luther’s sins – his late life anti-Semitism, for example, is dealt with head on.) Among the reasons the film is worth seeing is because Christians need constant vigilance for the gospel, and there are parallels between Luther’s day and ours.…

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Reformation The Church

When Reform Brings Schism

 In this 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I think it’s important to revisit certain truths, not only doctrinal, but historical as well. I’ve written previously about the idea of the Reformation being over. That is, in the view of some, the level of agreement between former ecclesiastical foes is now so small that we can put the Reformation behind us and join together. That is a non-starter, in my view, not because I have anything…

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Reformation

Is the Reformation to be repented of?

It is not so surprising to find calls for unity among Christians in this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation. So has the Archbishop of Canterbury (and earlier, Pope Francis) done in recent remarks. But we should be clear to distinguish between the effects of social upheaval,  and the ideas – the doctrines – that were the impetus preceding that upheaval. The Reformation was a massive shift in European society that came about for many…

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Bible Reformation

Reformation 499

Let the revisions begin Today is the 499th anniversary of Martin Luther’s declaration of war, or thus it amounted to. Indeed, Luther may have intended the 95 theses to be grist for university debate, but they struck so fundamental a blow to medieval religion that the tide could not be stopped, and the Reformation was set in motion. A reading of the 95 theses reveals that while they have an air of protest about them,…

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