Reformed on the Web would like to wish everyone a Happy and blessed Reformation Day!
Here is a four volume history on Luther and the Protestant Reformation:
James MacKinnon [1860-1945], Luther and the Reformation, 4 Vols. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1925-1930
Volume 1- Early Life and Religious Development to 1517 (Pdf)
Volume 2- The Breach with Rome (1517-21) (Pdf)
Volume 3- Progress of the Movement (1521-29) (Pdf)
Volume 4- Vindication of the Movement (1530-46) (Pdf)
Michael A. G. Haykin is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has authored numerous books including: The Spirit of God: The Exegesis of 1 and 2 Corinthians in the Pneumatomachian Controversy of the Fourth Century (E. J. Brill, 1994); One Heart and One Soul: John Sutcliff of Olney, His Friends, and His Times (Evangelical Press, 1994); Kiffin, Knollys and Keach: Rediscovering Our English Baptist Heritage (Reformation Today Trust, 1996); ‘At the Pure Fountain of Thy Word’: Andrew Fuller as an Apologist (Paternoster Press, 2004); Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival (Evangelical Press, 2005); The God Who Draws Near: An Introduction to Biblical Spirituality (Evangelical Press, 2007); The Christian Lover: The Sweetness of Love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers (Reformation Trust, 2009); The Empire of the Holy Spirit (Borderstone Press, 2010); Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church (Crossway, 2011). Haykin is the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and blogs at Historia ecclesiastica. Haykin is married to Alison and they have two children, Victoria and Nigel.
Source [Credo Magazine]
“Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” I like what Luther says “I would run into Christ’s arms if he had a drawn sword in his hands.” That is called venturesome believing, but as an old divine says, there is no such thing as venturesome believing, we cannot venture on Christ, it is no venture at all, there is no hap-hazard in the least degree. It is a holy and heavenly experience, when we can go to Christ, amid the storm, and say, “Oh! Jesus, I believe I am covered by thy blood,” when we can feel ourselves to be all over rags, and yet can say, “Lord, I believe that through Christ Jesus, ragged though I am, I am fully absolved.” A saint’s faith is little faith when he believes as a saint, but a sinner’s faith is true faith when he believes as a sinner. The faith, not of a sinless being but the faith of a sinful creature — that is the faith which delights God. Go, then Christian; ask that this may be thy experience, to learn each day, “He only is my rock and my salvation.”
Charles H. Spurgeon- God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856
theroadofgrace / 1 week ago
In the previous article, we discussed Augustine’s classic work City of God as a means of demonstrating how the Church interacts with the culture in the public sphere. Now, we will examine Martin Luther’s development of Augustine’s ideas.
Much of Luther’s public theology can be examined by interacting with Luther’s 1523 essay Temporal Authority: To What Extent It Should Be Obeyed. In this essay, Luther taught that the temporal authority (i.e. the civil state) exists by divine ordinance (cf. Genesis 4:14-15; 9:6), having existed since creation and having been confirmed by Moses, John the Baptist, and Christ Himself. Luther divided the human race into two groups, one belonging to the kingdom of God and the other belonging to the kingdom of the world. Luther argued that the citizens of the kingdom of God need neither law nor sword, whereas the citizens of the kingdom of this world need both. In light of this need, God has established two governments (one spiritual and one temporal). The spiritual government is for the Holy Spirit to produce righteous Christians under Christ’s rule, and the purpose of the temporal government is for restraining the wicked and non-believers by the sword.
Kingdom vs. Government
It’s important to note here that Luther introduces an important distinction between kingdom and government. The two kingdoms are mutually exclusive (reminiscent of Augustine’s Two Cities), but the two governments are not mutually exclusive. As Luther articulates the idea of the two governments that rule these two kingdoms, Luther makes clear that the temporal authority, which executes the legal and coercive government of the earthly kingdom, brings Christians and non-Christians under its sway. In Luther’s thought, we have a supplement to Augustine’s doctrine of the Two Cities, which David VanDrunen describes this way:
Read the entire article here.
Believe the truth. Do not pretend to believe it, but believe it thoroughly. And he who does believe it, and fixes his faith first in Christ, and then in all Christ says will not be likely to let it go. Why, we do not believe religion, most of us. We pretend to believe it, but we do not believe it with all our heart and all our soul, with all our might and all our strength—-not with that “faith which is in Christ Jesus;” for if we did, come storms, come trials, like Luther of old, we should not flinch because of persecution, but stand fast in the evil day, having our faith fixed upon a rock.
Charles H. Spurgeon-The Form of Sound Words-Delivered on Sabbath, May 11, 1856
(The Relation of Faith to Justification)
Dr. Joel R. Beeke
Justification by faith alone was Martin Luther’s great spiritual and theological breakthrough. It did not come easily. He had tried everything from sleeping on hard floors and fasting to climbing a staircase in Rome while kneeling in prayer. Monasteries, disciplines, confessions, masses, absolutions, good works-all proved fruitless. Peace with God eluded him. The thought of the righteousness of God pursued him. He hated the very word “righteousness,” which he believed provided a divine mandate to condemn him.
Light finally dawned for Luther as he meditated on Romans 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” He saw for the first time that the righteousness Paul had here in mind was not a punitive justice which condemns sinners but a perfect righteousness which God freely grants to sinners on the basis of Christ’s merits, and which sinners receive by faith. Luther saw that the doctrine of justification by grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (per solam fidem) because of Christ alone (solus Christus) was the heart of the gospel and became for him “an open door into paradise…. a gate to heaven.”
The phrase “justification by faith alone” was the key which unlocked the Bible for Luther.1 Each of these four words he came to understand in relation to the others by the light of Scripture and the Spirit. Elsewhere this volume deals with three words of Luther’s four-word rediscovery: justification, faith, alone. My task of expounding “by” may appear at first glance to be elementary, but around this deceptively simple preposition the heart of the Romanist-Protestant debate has raged. Let’s ask and answer several pertinent questions with regard to this critical preposition which will serve to highlight the relationship of faith to justification. We will consider the preposition “by” from four perspectives: first, scripturally, by considering the basic teaching of justification by faith, together with exegetical and etymological implications of the preposition; second, theologically, by grappling with the issue of faith as a possible “condition” of justification; third, experientially, by addressing how a sinner appropriates Christ by faith; fourth, polemically, by defending the Protestant View of justification, “by” faith against the views of Roman Catholicism, Arminianism, and Antinomianism.
Read the entire article here.
In fact, while many students of the Reformation today focus their attention to the obvious differences between Protestantism and Romanism, such as the Papacy, mass, indulgences, et cetera, Luther himself recognizes those issues to be entirely peripheral to the conflict. He wrote in 1525 to Erasmus of Rotterdam, with whom he had been debating the Sovereignty of God’s grace (in election and salvation) and the freedom of man’s will:
I give you hearty praise and commendation on this further account—that you alone, in contrast with all others, have attacked the real thing, that is, the essential issue. You have not wearied me with those extraneous issues about the Papacy, purgatory, indulgences and such like—trifles, rather than issues in respect of which almost all to date have sought my blood (though without success); you, and you alone, have seen the hinge on which all turns, and aimed for the vital spot.3
With this admission by the Father of the Protestant Reformation, the present study becomes highly important in understanding the Reformation. The debate over single versus double predestination has certainly been an issue throughout church history, but was it an issue among the Reformers? Specifically, were Luther and Calvin at odds on this issue? 19th Century Scottish theologian William Cunningham asserts,
When Luther’s followers, in a subsequent generation, openly deviated from scriptural orthodoxy on these points, they set themselves to prove that Luther had never held Calvinistic principles. . . But we have no hesitation in saying, that it can be established beyond all reasonable question, that Luther held the doctrines which are commonly regarded as most peculiarly Calvinistic, though he was never led to explain and apply, to illustrate and defend some of them, so fully as Calvin did.4
Though Cunningham is confident enough to make this claim, his reader may be disappointed that he fails to make a comprehensive case for his assertion (though his claim is not entirely without defense). Another Reformed5 theologian, Loraine Boettner, in his work The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination claims that “Luther. . .went into the doctrine [of predestination] as heartily as did Calvin himself. He even asserted it with more warmth and proceeded to much harsher lengths in defending it than Calvin ever did.”6 Boettner’s work displays a far better defense of his claim than Cunningham’s, but both fail to fully analyze Luther’s position.
What Cunningham and Boettner both fail to support, the present work intends to prove. Where their assertions fall short, this work will provide ample evidence to support their claims. The Modern Lutheran church does not stand with Martin Luther on the issue of predestination, and thus suffers from an internal contradiction. It’s efforts to modify Luther’s views and to present a more moderate case for predestination ultimately end in conflict with Luther’s uncompromising doctrine of God’s Sovereignty. However, before critically analyzing the writings of Luther, an examination must be made of the various presuppositions possible in approaching Luther’s writings.
Read the entire article here (Pdf 112 Kb).
3 Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1992) p.319.
4 William Cunningham, The Reformers & the Theology of the Reformation, (London: Banner of Truth, 1967) p.109.
5 The term “Reformed,” unless otherwise indicated, denotes a scholar from the Calvinist tradition.
6 Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian & Reformed,