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What Luther Says

It's Not Really About Martin Luther, The Reformation, The Reformers, The Lutheran Church, Or Me

I've taken this week to truly reflect on what it means to to be a Lutheran, especially after so many years spent in the spiritual wilderness that is American Evangelicalism.

I've noticed quite a few excellent editorials on the Reformation and the history of Lutheranism as we quickly approach the 500th Anniversary next week that are worth mentioning.

For instance, here's one piece that highlights the five of "big misinterpretations of the Reformation" that you should avoid this year...

5 Ways To Not Celebrate The Reformation's Quincentenary This Year 
In case you missed the memo, this October 31 is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg doors, beginning the Protestant Reformation. 
1. The Reformation Celebrates Anti-Catholicism 
2. The Reformation Was the Coming of Age of Oppressed, Anti-Rome, Pre-Evangelicals  
3. The Reformation Is about Liberated Consciousness 
4. The Reformation Is All about the Triumph of Self against The Man 
5. The Reformation Was Against ‘Legalism’ and ‘Pharisaism’

It's a really informative commentary and an important one.

As the author concludes...

The Reformation was about a lot of things. Pick your poison this October 31. Discuss how Luther’s more literal interpretation of scripture clashed with the more allegorical (read: Neoplatonic) approach of the Middle Ages. Discuss the differences in understandings on grace between Luther and the scholastics. Discuss what, if anything, the human will is capable of before God. Discuss the nature of the church and its ministry. Discuss how new information technologies contributed to the Reformation, and what that can tell us about today. Discuss the legacy of the Reformation and what it means for faith in Christ. 
But it doesn’t help to ignore Reformation history and revise its meaning. Lazy glosses of history might pass for things like the 129th anniversary of some event, but not the 500th.

Once you're done reading that, make sure you make some time to follow it up with "3 Things This Lutheran Wants Her Catholic Friends To Know About Reformation Day" that's just as good.

It's another honest treatment of this topic that opens with, "In Catholics' eyes, our admiration for Martin Luther is as misguided as holding a big party in honor of one’s divorce."

If those words don't grab your attention, maybe these will...

"I readily concede that the Reformation brought costs as well as benefits. Yet as a Lutheran, I am profoundly grateful for the sixteenth-century return to Scripture that reminded us of Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, and Solus Christus. I deeply appreciate the Lutheran determination, demonstrated in the Book of Concord, to find and cling to biblical truth. That is why I want my Catholic friends to know three things about the event I will be celebrating on October 31."

May we all be so bold in our vocations with our family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.

So, what are those three things she wants her Catholic friends to know?

1. It's Not About Individualism 
2. Lutherans Don't Cast Off History And Tradition 
3. The Lutheran Confessions Were Intended To Unite

Make no mistake, as important as these discussions are for all Christians to have an understand, the what Martin Luther did some 500 years ago that sparked the Reformation is not what our faith is all about.

Of course, it's about Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection for you and for the forgiveness of sins of all mankind.

Ok, so then why am I so passionate about preaching Lutheran doctrine to anyone and everyone who will listen?

So What Is It To Be A Lutheran? 
Being a Lutheran is being a person who believes the truths of God’s Word, the Holy Bible, as they are correctly explained and taught in the Book of Concord. To do so is to confess the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Genuine Lutherans,confessional Lutherans,dare to insist that “All doctrines should conform to the standards [the Lutheran Confessions] set forth above.Whatever is contrary to them should be rejected and condemned as opposed to the unanimous declaration of our faith” (FC Ep.RN,6). Such a statement may strike some as boastful. But it is not; rather,it is an expression of the Spirit-led confidence that moves us to speak of our faith before the world. To be a confessional Lutheran is to be one who honors the Word of God. That word makes it clear that it is God’s desire for His church to be in agreement about doctrine, and to be of one mind,living at peace with one another (1 Cor.1:10; 2 Cor.13:11). It is for that reason that we so treasure the precious confession of Christian truth that we have in the Book of Concord. For confessional Lutherans,there is no other collection of documents,or statements or books that so clearly, accurately and comfortingly presents the teachings of God’s Word and reveals the Biblical Gospel as does our Book of Concord. Hand-in-hand with our commitment to pure teaching and confession of the faith, is, and always must be, our equally strong commitment to reaching out boldly with the Gospel and speaking God’s truth to the world. That is what “confession” of the faith is all about, in the final analysis. Indeed, “It is written:‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak” (2 Cor.4:13).This is what it means to be a Lutheran.

It's not really about Martin Luther.

It's not really about the Reformation.

It's not really about the Reformers.

It's not really about the Lutheran church.

It's not really about me.

It's about knowing you've found the pure truth of God's Word and wanting to proclaim it from the rooftops, because you know it has the power to save souls and change lives.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, it's about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who was the propitiation for our sins, and how we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 4 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. 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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