Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Today’s class is postponed. This will give me a little bit more time to go through Romans 4 before class proper.

I was reading Moo’s commentary on Romans this morning and find it not that easy a read. But it has a very interesting excursus on “Paul, Works of the Law, and First Century Judaism”.

Reading it through reminded me of what my good friend and Romans classmate once commented: that Luther may be too extreme in arguing for justification by faith alone, and almost doing away completely faith by works. He should have qualified it and included some on justification by works, as Paul did. But could he?

Given what the church was involved in at that time, I do not see how else could Luther have done it. Just like Paul who was strong in his conviction that justification is by faith, Luther fought for it hoping to undo what the church had done selling faith to the people at large who were biblically illiterate and whose only source of spiritual teaching is the church. However, did circumstances prevent Luther from qualifying his conviction? If Paul can speak and teach both justification by faith and justification by works, what about Luther? Did he do it and if not, would he have done it given the chance?

Looks like I need a more in-depth history lesson on church reformation, the life of Luther, and his impact and contributions to Christendom.

Maeghan
Picture by Sean Standish

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6 comment(s)

  1. Maeghan,

    Interstingly enough, Luther was driven to the priesthood by a tramitic event his life (being nearly struck by lightning if my memory serves me correctly.).

    Luther was driven by a guilt-driven conscious. It comes as little surprize that his interpretation of the Gospel is through faith and faith alone. I happen to agree with him.

    Paul teaches a gospel of salvation by faith unto works. Matt, Mark, John, and Luke (the original fab-4) taught a gospel of salvation through faith.

    Even James, an often quoted verse, says you show me your works and I will see your faith.

    I have said this on some other blog (too many to think about right now). We also see that their are 'fruits' of a Spirit-filled life. These fruits seem to cover good works.

    I concluded that good works are the biproduct of a spirit-filled life. What I mean is that the faith came first; our faith includes being submitted to the Spirit; and the Spirit directs us to doing good works.

    All this to say, I am still of the opinion that it all must start with faith.

    God Bless
    Doug

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  2. ctnxexbInterstingly enough, Luther was driven to the priesthood by a tramitic event his life (being nearly struck by lightning if my memory serves me correctly.).

    I think you are right - that was the first scene in Luther.

    Luther was driven by a guilt-driven conscious. It comes as little surprize that his interpretation of the Gospel is through faith and faith alone. I happen to agree with him.

    I do too.
    I think he did that because he could not accept how faith can be bought. He seeked for a God who loves and who can accept him for who he is, as long as he has faith.

    Paul teaches a gospel of salvation by faith unto works. Matt, Mark, John, and Luke (the original fab-4) taught a gospel of salvation through faith.

    Very well stated - I couldn't have said it better.

    Thanks for the headstart on Luther. I need to read more which I have not done it yet. Time, Oh Time, wherefore art thou Time.

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  3. Maeghan,

    On your musing blog, I think I added time to that list of things that there is just not enough of.

    Protestants owe a lot ot Luther and his braverey to stand for what he believed, but if you have to study him, you might want to look at his dark side too:

    1) He was an self-abusing alchoholic. In fact the reason that Lutherens start their morning service so late was because he was generally too inebriated to start early. (I promise that I am not making this stuff up).

    2) He wanted to remove certain books from the Bible. In particular: James, I & II Peter, and Revelation. He felt that they didn't align well with his understanding of the Gospel, so rather than conclude that his own theology needed refining, he wanted to do away with the problems.

    3) His disdain for Catholicism, made him preach a doctrine of hate towards Catholics. He would often persecute them in his sermans. There was no love loss there.

    All that said, he was amazingly brilliant and I know his movement was orchestrated by God.

    God Bless
    -Doug

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  4. Yup ... time ... there is never enough of it.
    My aunt just approached me on Sunday to get involved and help out in the adult fellowship and here I am trying to delegate off some Sunday School responsibilities ... sigh ...

    I have not read up on Martin yet - tried checking out Wikipedia but it has a Neutrality Disputed sign.
    And I just finished reading up Josh MsDowell's Da Vinci's Code: A Quest for Answers today - short read, only about an hour required.

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  5. At the risk of adding to M's time burden and huge book list (I really must wade through that at some point!), I struggled with church history until fairly recently.
    For two reasons:
    * history generally left me fairly cold - perhaps because of poor teaching
    * I didn't really see the need for reading up on it

    Then I came across Needham's absolutely marvellous _2000 Years of Christ's Power_ which isn't written so much for history scholars but more the likes of me as a bear of very little brain. (In fact, IIRC, he originally started writing them for English as a second language Bible students in Africa).

    The mix of being hugely readable, covering church history in enough detail to be interesting (I think there are currently 3 volumes with a fourth on its way) but not getting too bogged down, and finally including at the end of each chapter selected excerpts from the actual writing of each period covered, was simply brilliant. I devoured the first three volumes which I've very foolishly given away to a friend in Scandinavia who I thought might like them, and am now waiting for the final installment!

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  6. Timothy,
    perhaps because of poor teaching

    I'd bank on that! haha
    The same reason why I did not do well in Physics and Accounting.

    I didn't really see the need for reading up on it

    I felt the same during schooldays but now I have a sudden interest in it. I find it intriguing reading what happened to others under the given circumstances, their decisions, etc.

    Thanks for the heads up on the books. I am looking them up in Amazon.com right now. Hope you get your volumes back!

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