(SA) Mark Thompson–Luther’s most important impact

Luther has been co-opted for all kinds of projects since his own time. He has been the proto-German nationalist, the forerunner of Marxism and communism; the first historical critic of the Bible, the man who would challenge that criticism on the basis of the Bible’s own message; one of the great exponents of introspection and despair, the man who pointed us beyond ourselves to a work done for us first and only then in us.

He was a statesman, counsellor, educator, guide and musician. But he was always, first and foremost, a theologian who taught about Jesus from the Bible. He changed language, politics and society but that is not what he set out to do. He wanted to talk about God and the great thing he has done by giving his Son so that the guilt we like to pretend does not attach to us, our estrangement from the God who made us, our corruption and pollution, and our enslavement to desire and to the devil and his schemes, might be dealt with completely and forever.

I recently heard the suggestion that the Reformation should be summed up simply in the words “freedom” and “responsibility”. Luther himself would have used a single, very different word, for he was all about Christ. His preaching was about Christ. His lecturing was about Christ. His writing was about Christ. His counselling and everything else was about Christ.

Luther didn’t just insipidly endorse the values of our culture or his own. He challenged us all with Christ. What have you done with Christ? Have you laid aside your self-importance and self-preoccupation and taken hold of Christ? That is what Luther’s reformation was about from beginning to end. Everything else was, and is, die Mache – window dressing.

Read it all (my emphasis).


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Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Christology, Church History