Bondage and Freedom

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation sent me back to Luther and his debate with Erasmus. The two were among the most widely read authors in sixteenth-century Europe. In the early 1520s, they exchanged dueling treatises on free will. They raised recondite theological questions of biblical . . . . Continue Reading »

The End of Christendom

Next year marks the fifth centenary of one of the few precisely datable historical events that can be said to have changed the world forever. In 1517, an unknown German professor from an undistinguished new university protested against the sordid trade in religious benefits known as . . . . Continue Reading »

Reading the Psalms with the Reformers

In the fourth century, St. Athanasius wrote a letter to a certain Marcellinus, who was likely a deacon in the church in Alexandria. During a long illness, Marcellinus had turned to the study of the Bible and was especially drawn to the Book of Psalms, striving “to comprehend the meaning contained . . . . Continue Reading »

Losing Luther

As a recent Atlantic essay points out, Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber’s emphasis on sin and grace in Christ sounds downright conservative. Her congregation even utilizes orthodox Lutheran liturgy! In a sense, the claims to Lutheran orthodoxy are correct. Bolz-Weber’s approach is the . . . . Continue Reading »

Reformation Day

It was around two o’clock in the afternoon on the eve of the Day of All Saints, October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther, hammer in hand, approached the main north door of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church) in Wittenberg. There he nailed up his Ninety-Five Theses protesting the abuse of indulgences in the teaching and practice of the Church of his day. In remembrance of this event, millions of Christians still celebrate this day as the symbolic beginning of the Protestant Reformation. October 31 is not a day for the ghosts and ghouls of Halloween but a time to remember the Reformation, especially what Luther wrote in thesis sixty-two: “The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.” Continue Reading »