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What Luther Says

A Word Focused Ministry

I've been reading The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile) by Steven Lawson after I received a free digital copy recently and have loved every minute of it so far!

Here's an interview that Mr. Lawson gave to promote the book a few months ago that will give you a taste of what it's focus is.

The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther: An Interview with Steven Lawson from Ligonier Ministries on Vimeo.

Obviously, Dr. Lawson is of the Reformed camp (as this is sponsored by Ligonier Ministries) so I'll have to rely on you life-long Lutherans to tell me if there was anything about what he said that is inconsistent with Lutheran Doctrine or just not quite right.

From what I could tell though (from the interview and from what I've read so far), it seems like a pretty faithful presentation on Luther's life and ministry and certainly worth your time and prayerful consideration during these urgent times.

Here's an excerpt I wanted to share with you today.

Such a Word-focused ministry represented a radical paradigm shift in the sixteenth century. At that time, the preaching of the Bible was completely lost in the Roman Catholic Church. Sermons had been reduced to short homilies in Latin, a foreign language to the uneducated populace. Worse, they espoused tradition-bound Roman dogma. These deluded messages were delivered by unregenerate men who did not even believe the Word. Rather than preaching, the Mass occupied the central place in the Roman church. This left the pulpit relegated to the side in the typical Roman Catholic church building, with the altar in the center. Thus, the Mass was elevated as the primary means of grace, while the preaching of the Word was eclipsed. XXX By Luther’s own estimation, God’s holy Word was being neglected. He lamented:

God’s Word has been silenced, and only reading and singing remain in the churches. This is the worst abuse. ... A host of unchristian fables and lies, in legends, hymns, and sermons were introduced that it is horrible to see. ... faith disappeared and everyone pressed to enter the priesthood, convents, and monasteries, and to build churches and endow them. ... A Christian congregation should never gather together without the preaching of God’s Word and prayer, no matter how briefly, as Psalm 102 says, “When the kings and the people assemble to serve the Lord, they shall declare the name and the praise of God.” And Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:26–31 says that when they come together, there should be prophesying, teaching, and admonition. Therefore, when God’s Word is not preached, one had better neither sing nor read, or even come together.

This was the dire state of the church in Luther’s day. There was a famine in the land for the hearing of the Word of the Lord (Amos 8:11). Yet during this dark hour of church history, God raised up this extraordinary figure, a powerful prophet of God, to declare the Scriptures again. Luther restored the primacy of Scripture in the church, a decisive reformation of the pulpit. Though Luther did not invent preaching, he elevated biblical exposition to its grandest height since the early church.

*- The Heroic Boldness Of Martin Luther
(A Long Line of Godly Men Profile)
By Steven J. Lawson

Isn't that just beautiful?

I gotta tell ya, Luther's comments seem so applicable to the current state of affairs -- even today, almost 500 years later! -- as "God's Word has been silenced" and as we see that "faith disappeared and everyone pressed to enter the priesthood, convents, and monasteries, and to build churches and endow them" which sounds an awful lot like the present day "Church Growth" and "Missional" movements led by those who have not been called by God to preach and teach, let alone those who have no business shepherding His flock.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, this is one of the better books I've read in quite some time (I highly recommend it) simply due to the fact that the very things Luther boldly addressed during his life and ministry in service to the Lord are the very same things that threaten Christ's Church today.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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