30 October, 2009

Reformation Day: An insightful take on Martin Luther

Check out this article by Timothy George on the First Things website. My recently departed friend and mentor, Richard John Neuhaus expressed many times that the reason he converted from the Lutheran Church and became a Roman Catholic was because the issues that Luther raised with his theses were successfully addressed by the Second Vatican Council, a proposition that George comes close to agreeing with in this article.



  1. Tim,

    I read the article by Timothy George. I also read the comments concerning the article and concerning Martin Luther written below. Sadly I found that most seem to be trying to discredit Luther. I don't see any validity to these claims in history which I have read or in a couple of videos which I have, but more importantly what the Scriptures say.

    I have to agree with what the Bible says: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans ch5 vs 1.

    I think this was the central issue in the Reformation. Is salvation by faith plus works or faith plus works plus the sacraments, etc?
    Or is salvation by faith alone in Christ alone through grace alone. And are good works a result of salvation? This is what I believe is the central issue.

    When people talk about the World Youth Lutheran Federation or a particular group of evangelical leaders who signed an agreement with a high official in the RCC back in 1997, they have somehow got the impression that there is now agreement between RCs and Protestants on the doctrine of justification. I think this is far from the truth. This group is a very small segment of the Protestant world and they are not representative of the countless number of believers and churches who would have nothing to do with this agreement.

    One must remember that the Protestant view of churches is also different. RCs believe in the hierarchical model with an earthly head at the top (the Pope); Protestants do not believe this is the biblical model. (But like everything else in life, there may be some exceptions in some ways) The Anglican church, for example, has been dialoging with the RCC for years and may share some ideas concerning the papacy. I don't really know.

    Many Reformed churches for example are self-governing as local churches but have a association within a larger denomination. But this is not the same as the RC church government. The Reformed churches I am speaking about are basically independent and self-governing. They are not ruled from a larger body. There may be some differences on this in some denominations, but this would still be far from the papal system. The elders do meet together in their synods periodically, but they do not have top-down control of local churches and there is no head of the church on earth. The elders are elected by the congregation and the consistory, comprised of the elders, screens and hires their minister. Their authority is the Bible. They believe Christ is their head.

  2. Friends.

    See my "Wayne" post for my comment on this thread.

    Fr. Tim


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