Reformation 500 (Some Quick Reads)

October 31 will mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther hanging the 95 Theses on the doors of the church in Wittenberg to contest the sale of indulgences.


 #21 Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved from every penalty and saved by papal indulgences.


#37 Any true Christian, whether living or dead, participates in all the blessings of Christ and the church; and this is granted him by God, even without indulgence letters.

The 95 Theses are considered the spark that ignited the Protestant Reformation. Of course the fire of reformation burned on the early work of Wycliffe, Hus, and others. What made Luther different from the reformers that preceded him? According to Roger Olson (link), “Hus was burned at the stake, largely ending his ministry and movement, and Luther was not.

According to Challies definition, I would not be considered Reformed, as he links the term strongly with the theological points captured in TULIP (link). However, I consider myself so in the sense that I identify with the needed break from the errors of the Roman Catholic Church.

[The Protestant Reformation was a] biblical response to the excesses and perversions of the Roman Catholic Church. The Reformers, having returned to Scripture, attempted to carefully and faithfully rebuild the church upon the teachings of the New Testament.

Here are some posts written over the last few years on the Reformation.


I am Thesis Man (Reform a Song)

What would it look like if Black Sabbath’s hit song Iron Man was written as a tribute to Martin Luther and the Reformation? I’m glad you asked.

It might go something like this:

Has he lost his mind
Luther is now in a bind
In the sight of all
95 thesis on the wall

People being led
By wrong things the Pope has said
You must pay the fare
To ascend heavenly stair

That is works based zeal
And a faith that is not real
Reform so sublime
Faces quite an uphill climb


Martin Luther

Pope Leo wants him
Papal Bull is unfurled

Planning his vengeance
Kick him out of the fold

He stands without fear
Diet of Worms is now here
Writings he won’t waive
Why can’t Luther just behave

Nobody wants him
They just turn their heads

Nobody stops him
So Rome can’t get it’s revenge

Thesis has been read
Reform fever now has spread
Telling all the men they can
By faith alone we live again

Faith to Faith

Martin Luther

Martin Luther

Since Romans 1:17 was such a crucial passage in Luther’s understanding the gospel and coming to Jesus I wanted to re-post an article I wrote examining how several scholars translated that passage.

There is an interesting series of blog posts at the Bible Gateway called “Perspectives in Translation” (which is no longer available). Here is the assignment on translating Romans 1:17 and the summary of the responses.

If any Bible passage could be credited for igniting the Protestant Reformation, it’s Romans 1:17. Yet as Luther understood so well, this one verse could inspire a thousand scholarly monographs.

Michael Bird addresses four areas that need to be addressed in rendering a translation for this verse. Continue reading