Saturday, September 19, 2015

Luther On Being Lutheran

I ran across an interesting quote the other day, reproduced below:

Far from attempting to found a new sect, Luther always saw himself as a faithful and obedient servant of the church. Thus his deep chagrin that the first Protestants, in England and France no less than in Germany, were being called “Lutherans”: 
“The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone. . . . How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?” 
This disclaimer, written in 1522, was not the protest of a false humility but rather a genuine effort to deflate an already-burgeoning “personality cult” and to direct attention to the source of the reformer’s thought. “The teaching is not mine”— to understand what Luther meant by that statement is to grasp the central thrust of his Reformation theology.

George, Timothy (2013-09-01). Theology of the Reformers (Kindle Locations 1142-1149). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

The man Lutherans are named after specifically didn't want people using his name. Any Lutherans out there come across this and what is the response? There are plenty of other examples: Calvinists, Wesleyan, Mennonites, etc. and it always seemed jarring in light of 1 Corinthians 1:10-16.

I don't like the naming of a group after a man. I prefer the more generic term Anabaptist to Mennonite or Hutterite, both named after early Anabaptist leaders. The more we divide ourselves based on secondary issue, the worse we seem to be in our witness. I recognize that many traditions can be valuable over time but when we start to identify with a single man, I don't think that is helpful. Anyway, just though that quote was interesting.

1 comment:

Blog Editor: said...

Good post. Let's take it a step further.

People may call themselves “Christians” and say that being a Christian is the true common bond, and that it doesn’t matter what “Christian church” you belong to. If that is the case, the teachings and warnings of Jesus and his Apostles to be united in one mind and judgment and to reject division at all costs have become irrelevant.

But if Jesus’ teachings and warnings are legitimate and to be followed at all costs, why don’t Christians stop serving and supporting divisions created by competing church “brands” and come together to resolve their differences as instructed by Jesus and His Apostles to unite as one body and be led by the ONE who said no one should call themselves leaders or teachers because there is but ONE who leads and ONE who teaches – Jesus Christ? (Matthew 23)

The answer is simple. The “leaders of the brands” know that their stature, power and livelihoods depend on the divisions different church brands create among Christians. These power hungry greedy elitist need divisions in the Ekklesia to survive. Because unity in Christ alone means no leaders – only servants.

When Jesus said, “I will build MY ekklesia; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it,” does His statement apply to what is known as “church today?”

Satan does not fear man’s church, he embraces it. In fact, through Satan’s lies and deception the majority of Christians have been corrupted by man’s weakness in the areas of greed, power and arrogance. So in a sense, Satan is the architect who built man’s church. And Satan not only built man's church – his work helps grow and maintain it. Satan has no intention to destroy man’s church; on the contrary, it’s without a doubt one of his greatest accomplishments. The corporate church is one of Satan’s most efficient weapons to keep people from the truth of the gospel and stifle the spirit in every individual's life.

Likewise, Satan also relies on man’s creation and acceptance of false doctrines, miss-translations and changes of the original bible text, especially with regard to the unbiblical corporate/institutional assembly model of today’s church, and even the use of the word “church” itself. What Satan does fear however is something that he has absolutely no power over - the true Ekklesia Jesus said He would build – God’s kingdom here on earth.

It should be noted that Satan is not only behind the corrupt corporate assembly model, he's also behind the insidious act of replacing the word “Ekklesia” with the word “church” in the New Testament. Satan not only created man's church - he named it as well! Ekklesia, NOT church, is the word Jesus used to define what HE said HE would build; and that’s a big part of the problem today for those wishing to return to the original body life as expressed by Jesus and his apostles.

Because the word church is so connected with the institution today, continuing to use it while attempting to return to the original intent of Jesus will only cause confusion. So in order to differentiate Christ’s disciples, who reject institutional “church” and chose to follow the original pattern set by Jesus and his apostles, only Ekklesia should be used to define or describe them.

You may think using the word church is of no consequence; but read Matthew 23 and ask yourself if anything Jesus pointed out was of no consequence.