Friday, October 31, 2003

Happy Reformation Day

In honor of Martin Luther and the Reformation the Holy Spirit brought about through his daring, let's have a few words from him:

If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for He is victorious over sin, death, and the world.
This sounds quite odd at first blush, but as I've thought about it, it's really a neat idea. God doesn't love us because we've cleaned up for him, or we're every quite composed and religious enough to be holy and loveable -- he just loves us. Gratuitously, entirely apart from anything we do or don't do. We are free to acknowledge that we are sinners, completely undeserving of His love, but deeply privilaged recipients of it just the same. "From His fullness we have recieved grace upon grace."

Luther also had quite the sense of humor. When one of his ministers came to him complaining that one of the regional religious leaders approved of practices that were far too "Romish," he responsed thus:

Why don't you, for heaven's sake, march around wearing a sliver or gold cross, as well as a skull cap and a chasuble made of velvet, silk or cotton? If your superior, the Elector, thinks that one cap or one chasuble is not enough, then put on two or three, like Aaron, the high priest, who wore three coats, one on top of the other, and they all looked wonderful...

If your Electoral Excellency thinks one procession is not enough, marching around with singing and with bells, then do it seven times, just as Joshua did in Jericho with the Children of Israel. They shouted and blew their trunpets. Perhaps your Electoral Excellency might even jump around and dance in front of all the people with harps, drums, cymbels, and bells, just as David did before the Ark of the Covenant on it's way to Jerusalem. I completely approve of such things, as long as they ar not abused or steal the thunder from the gospel; and as long as they are not viewed as necessary for salvation, or binding on consciences.
Uh, sure, whatever...