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Unformatted text preview: Martin Luther (14831546)
Yearning for Grace Luther was training to become a lawyer when he got caught in a terrifying lightening storm. If he survived, he vowed that he would become a monk. Joined the Augustinian Order in Erfurt. The Early "Anxious" Years Father Confessor Johann von Staupitz Medieval teaching on grace Grace was received through penance and the reception of the sacraments. This was a cyclical ongoing process of being made righteous. Luther, however, never felt himself to be justified by God no matter what he did. Luther believed that God's righteousness and justice condemned him because if God was truly just, then God could only condemn the sinner whom Luther knew himself to be. No act of penance could satisfy the justice of God. Staupitz had even sent Luther on a pilgrimage to Rome where Luther engaged in all the holy rites and religious activities but always felt those experiences to be hollow. "I did not love, indeed I hated, that God who punished sinners; and with monstrous, silent, if not blasphemous, murmuring I fumed against God." Characteristic of Luther's whole life and theology was the life was lived before God who meets in both judgment and mercy. Luther's Experience of Grace:
The Impetus of the Reformation Became a Doctor of Theology in Wittenberg. 15131515: Lectured on the Psalms 1517 the beginning of the conflict with the Catholic Church Leo X needed to raise money for the building of St. Peter's Basilica. He issued the sale of indulgences to raise these funds. John Tetzel, a Dominican friar, was selling these indulgences in a neighboring town to Wittenberg. Luther was incensed and on October 31, 1517 he posted on the church door in Wittenberg his 95 Theses against the sale of indulgences. Luther meant these theses for scholarly discussion, but they were quickly translated (they had been originally written in Latin), published, and spread quickly among the populace. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, "Repent," he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction as administered by the clergy. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortifications of the flesh. The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true, inner repentance), namely until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority of that of the canons. To wit: "Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former A Sampling of the 95 Theses Understanding Luther's Experience of Salvation in Jesus Christ "I had indeed been captivated with an extraordinary ardor for understanding Paul in the Epistle to the Romans. But up till then it was not the cold blood about the heart, but a single word in Chapter 1 (v. 17), "In it the righteousness of God is revealed," that stood in my way. For I hated that word, "righteousness of God," which I had been taught to understand philosophically regarding the formal of active righteousness as they called it, with which God is righteous, and punishes unrighteous sinners. At last by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, "in it the righteousness of God is revealed as it is written, `He who through faith is righteous shall live.'" There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates. Luther came to articulate this experience as justification by faith. Definition: The righteousness of God in Christ was given freely as a gift (sola gratia) to the one who trusts in God's work through Jesus Christ alone (sola fides).
Previously Luther had understood God's righteousness as His demand for obedience to the Law. Furthermore, Christ's righteousness was mediated through the sacraments that provided the Christian resources to keep God's demands, yet the Christian still had to measure up to God's standards. For Luther now understood God to be gracious toward the sinner who is made "righteous" by an act of God even before he or she acts "righteously." Justifying grace is not the gradual transformation over time of the sinner becoming righteous but a change in God's attitude toward the sinner without first requiring a change in the sinner (Rom 4 "God justifies the ungodly"). Simul / semper justus et peccator "At the same time / always a sinner and just" A justified person in this sense has total acceptance with God. God imputes once and for all the righteous of Christ to the believer. A justified person receives an "alien righteousness" from God. God declares the sinner righteous before He makes the sinner righteous. Transformation of the believer is forthcoming because, when the justified believer receives the righteousness of Christ, he or she receives Christ himself in the indwelling Spirit. Luther was not an antinomian. Luther's emphasis is on faith alone as the means of justification. Christus pro me Jesus gave himself for me Personal appropriation: heartfelt trust and not merely mental assent Faith was a divine gift not a human work. Circumvented and undercut the whole system of merits and sacramental system in the Catholic Church Christus pro me Other Central Tenants to Luther's Thought and Experience Bondage of the Will (1525) Written against Erasmus Luther acknowledges that this is the central issue of the Reformation--i.e., what can humans do towards their own salvation. In line with Augustine, Luther acknowledges that humans can do nothing for their salvation because the entire human will is so pervaded by sin. Humanity is fallen. Affirms predestination of the elect. A Christian's preparation to receive God's grace is only in God's predestination not the sacraments or works. Luther responds to complaints that if this so then God is not just. Luther had been shaped by nominalism. According to Luther, whatever God does is just and good and He is not confined to fallen human reason's notions of justice. Sola Scriptura Leipzig disputation (1518) denied the infallible authority of popes and councils Scripture had supreme authority for the believer and it alone bound the believer's conscience. For the believer is confronted by God Himself in the Scriptures. Elevated the sermon over the mass in Christian worship. Reading the Scriptures with Luther Radically Christocentric: Christ and the salvation of the sinners through his death is the touchstone for Luther. Thus he devalues books like James (as a strawy epistle) for this lack of emphasis. Law makes known the will of God but does not provide the resources for its accomplishment. It condemns sinful humanity. Gospel brings the mercy and righteousness of God to the believer and frees him or her to love God and others. Law and Gospel The Reformation Gains Momentum 1521 Condemned at the Diet of Worms by the Catholic representatives and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Frederick had Luther kidnapped and taken to Wartburg Castle where he translated the NT into German. 1529 Diet of Speyer gave German princes the right to choose the religion of their territories. 1530 Diet of Augsburg Magisterial Reformation Augsburg Confession (Doctrinal Foundation of Lutheran Church) was presented to Charles V by the Lutheran German princes. ...
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- Spring '07