The fall classes at Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) here in Austin have now begun! My class is called, “Two Reformation Giants: Martin Luther & John Calvin.” For the next six weeks I have the luxury of slowly unpacking the theology of Martin Luther. I’ll go through the details of his life, and also the key elements of his theology. The most fun, though, will be examining Luther’s actual writings and discussing them. We’ll begin with the 95 Theses and then end up with The Bondage of the Will. For example, here are four of the theses from Luther’s electrifying diatribe,
Thesis #27 – “Those who assert that a soul straightway flies out (of purgatory) as a coin tinkles in the collection-box, are preaching an invention of man (hominen praedicant).”
Thesis #28 – “It is sure that when a coin tinkles greed and avarice are increased; but the intercession (suffragium) of the church is the will of God alone.”
Thesis #51 – “Christians are to be taught that the pope (as is his duty) would desire to give of his own substance to those poor men from many of whom certain sellers of pardons are extracting money; that to this end he would even, if need be, sell the basilica of Saint Peter.”
Thesis #52 – “Confidence in salvation through letters of indulgence is vain; and that even if the commissary, nay, even the pope himself, should pledge his soul as a guarantee.”
As you can see, Martin Luther does not hold back from expressing his outrage and disdain for the poor state of the Roman Catholic Church! He strongly urges reform, so that once again the true Gospel will be proclaimed throughout the church. God, however, has other plans–for as Jesus said, the “new wine” cannot go into the “old wine skins” (Matthew 9:17). Therefore, entirely new churches will be raised-up throughout Europe (and around the world) who will be faithful to preach the Bible and proclaim the Gospel. It is a joy for me to teach the history of Christ’s Church!
— Dr. Marcus J. Serven