Carl Trueman, writing against our tendency to romanticize Luther, remaking him in our own image, offers 9.5 theses about the man and why he might have a hard time fitting into the typical evangelical church:
- Luther saw church leadership as primarily marked by servanthood.
- Luther understood worship as rooted in repentance.
- Luther did not care for the myth of cultural influence nor for the prerequisite cultural swagger necessary to catch the attention of the great and good.
- Luther saw suffering as a mark of the true church.
- Luther was pastorally sensitive to the cherished practices of older Christians.
- Luther did not agree to differ on matters of importance and thus to make them into practical trivia.
- Luther saw the existence of the ordained ministry as a mark of the church.
- Luther saw the problem of a leadership accountable only to itself
- Luther thought very little of his own literary contribution to Christianity.
Shortly before he died, Luther declared that only his 1525 response to Erasmus, On Bound Choice, and his catechisms were worthy of preservation. If he were alive today, it is very doubtful that he would be running a website devoted primarily to promoting his own books and pamphlets. He would thus be unlikely to make the grade in the modern American evangelical world. Nor would he indulge in such shameless self-promotion by calling it explicitly ‘shameless self-promotion’, as if the labored attempt at postmodern irony somehow makes the self-serving nature of such venal vanity acceptable. I suspect he would think that it actually makes it worse, adding the sin of ‘insulting the reader’s intelligence’ to the obvious one of ‘shameless self-promotion.’
If Luther was alive today, he would be a member of Zion Detroit :)
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