History briefs — Luther comes to Christ

Romans 1


16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

The following is an insightful passage about Luther’s faith, from a beautiful tribute to him and Calvin, two men whom the Lord used in an extraordinary way during an extraordinary period of history. The article is interesting and edifying in many ways.

Soli deo Gloria — glory to God ALONE

Portrait of Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach, via Wikimedia Commons

Luther’s Loyal Son

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Luther was the pioneer of Protestant theology, piety, and practice. He gradually became Protestant in the period between 1513-21 as he lectured through the Psalms, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and the Psalms again. Reading Augustine as he lectured on the Psalms he realized that the doctrine of man and sin that he had learned in university did not agree with Scripture nor did it agree with Augustine. In the Psalms he saw that human depravity is greater than he had thought and grace is greater, more powerful, and more free than he thought, that God has elected his people to new life and true faith unconditionally, from all eternity (sola gratia). By the end of his lectures on the Psalms he had become young, restless, and Augustinian but he was not yet a Protestant. As he lectured through Romans, he began to see that the basis on which we stand before God is not the sanctity wrought in us by grace and cooperation with grace but Christ’s righteousness accomplished outside of us and imputed to us. As he lectured through Galatians he came to see that view confirmed and he began to re-think what he had learned about the role of faith in salvation, that it was not just another virtue formed in us by grace and cooperation with grace. The picture became clearer as he lectured through Hebrews and the Psalms again. Late in life, looking back at his theological development, he said that it was as he lectured through Psalms again that the light went on, as it were, and he realized that it is faith that apprehends Christ, that rests in and receives Christ and his righteousness for us. It is through faith the Spirit unites us to Christ so that he becomes ours and we become his (sola fide).

TROUBLEmaker, a call to prayer for Leah


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Reading Leah Remini’s memoir of life as a member of the Church of Scientology is interesting but tough. For one thing the language is vulgar, and occasionally she uses the Lord’s Name – and unlike the exposé of Scientology produced by A&E, which featured her and other ex-members, cannot be bleeped. Tom of excatholic4christ has posted a helpful review of this, and as always he focuses on the Gospel of grace. Go here to read this: Final thoughts on “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”.

A few words about L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the “church” that enslaved Leah for many years: Hubbard was a science fiction writer. Perhaps, using the same gifts of invention, he came up with his “religion”, for it seems like an experiment in mind control, and mind control is a topic explored in classic works of sci fi. It’s as if he wanted to bring speculative fiction to life and see how far it would go. I could be very wrong and be ascribing a wrong motive to him, however, it’s difficult to see false teachers in a kind light. He was an inventor of evil, a godless method of trying to remake humanity in order to save the world.  

Leah Remini left Scientology, and is exposing its evils, but has returned to the faith of her grandmother, the Roman Catholic faith. I’m grateful I got to know what happened to her and others through this book but honestly don’t know if I can stand to finish it. Please pray for her and others trapped in false religions!

Romans 1

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.