Exhortation, Fourth Sunday of Easter

Easter is about faith, and Easter is about hope. On the third day of creation, God separated the waters, so that the dry land appeared. When He covered the world with flood waters, His Spirit hovered and divided the waters again. At the Exodus, He separated the waters of the Sea of Reeds and formed . . . . Continue Reading »


Explaining the first article of the creed, Luther’s small catechism says taht “I believe that God made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members . . . also clothing and shoes . . . .” Is there a single Reformed confession or . . . . Continue Reading »

Promise, Justification, Sacrament

Oberman says that Luther moved toward his reformation insights by exploring what he described as the “theological grammar” of Scripture, which involved letting God define his own terms, on the assumption that nomina sunt ad pacitum Dei . Through this, he realized that the God of . . . . Continue Reading »

What Did Sennacherib Hear?

In response to Hezekiah’s query, Isaiah promises that the Lord will “put a spirit” in the Assyrian king and that Sennacherib will “hear a rumor and return to his own land” (2 Kings 19:7). The following verse tells us that Sennacherib had gone from Lachish to Libnah, . . . . Continue Reading »

Hezekiah’s prayer, and ours

Because of Hezekiah’s prayer (2 Kings 19:14-19), the Lord delivers Jerusalem, kills 185,000 Assyrians, and sends Sennacherib packing back to Nineveh. That’s what one calls an effective prayer. What made it so effective? Among other things, it is firmly based on the promise and word of . . . . Continue Reading »

Sola scriptura

According to Oberman, Luther’s great discovery regarding Scripture was not that Scripture alone can be trusted without question and is the final judge of controversy: “the maxim of sola scriptura . . . was the fundamental principle of the entire scholastic disputation tradition.” . . . . Continue Reading »

Nature/Supernature in Luther

According to Oberman, “Luther’s critique of Aristotle concerns the disregard of that fundamental nominalist axioma , the demarcation line between the realms of reason and faith. Provided that this distinction is respected, Aristotle is not merely useful but indeed to be respected. In a . . . . Continue Reading »

Person v. Being

Oberman sees a crucial shift in late medieval theology from God as being to God as person, and sees Luther as both heir and critic of the late medieval theology proper. Without the earlier shift, “the Reformation breakthrough would be inconceivable,” but this does not mean that there is . . . . Continue Reading »

Plague and Theology

Oberman again: “The experience of the [bubonic] plague may in fact help us understand the fifteenth-century ascendency of nominalism, its innovations in the whole field ranging from theology to science, and its successful invasion of schools and universities, where it was firmly established . . . . Continue Reading »

Cultural history and religion

Heiko Oberman notes the impact of cultural history in his posthumously published book, The Two Reformations : “By moving from established politicla history to cultural and mentality studies, historians reestablished the crucial importance of religion, although they frequently marginalized it . . . . Continue Reading »