Is it time for a new Martin Luther?
By John Edwards "486 years ago come April 16th Martin Luther appeared in Worms to be offered the opportunity to recant his statements (“The 95 Theses”) regarding the power of the Pope to sell dispensation (Indulgences) for earthly sins to the living and the families of the dead.
What do you mean 'dispensation'? Early in the sixteenth century the Church discovered a new business opportunity-why limit yourself to offering forgiveness to the marketplace of the living, when you could “grow the brand”, as it were, and offer the same services to the deceased for sins they committed during life?
How can you make money from the dead? Easily, if you convince their living descendants that forgiveness in the “afterlife” (the ability to move from Purgatory to Heaven, for example) depends on a steady stream of payments from the living. And thus the “Indulgences” industry was born.
How far had the Catholic Church strayed from Christian principles? In 1536 William Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake (taking no chances, apparently) for translating the Bible into English-versions of the Bible not translated by the Church were listed in the Church’s “Index of Banned Books”, and violation of the rule was a capital offense.
He declined. With that act, resistance "
The actions of Martin Luther are the basis for the formation of the Protestant Church (“Lutheran” of course, being derived from his name).
So here we are, 486 years later, and the wheel seems to have turned full circle.
It is not difficult today to find examples of those who would teach hate as enlightenment, or those who would assert the gathering of wealth is serving a higher purpose.
It is easy to find those who call themselves Christian, but who would ignore the missive “...If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (John 3:16-18).
There are even those who suggest that a final battle will cause the death of the Unbelievers, and bring, in a final show of God’s love, the Second Coming-and that we should do all we can to encourage the process.
With all this in mind, I humbly offer a few New Theses for today.
--Hate is not a tool for spreading understanding.
--Revenge is not a means to achieve righteousness.
--Taking away from the poor because you need the money to kill others will not get you into Heaven.
--If your religion is guided by voices from Heaven, be careful of voices from Earth.
--I don’t care who you are, if you think you understand the One and only Truth about anything metaphysical-you don’t.
--As regards a Second Coming: be careful what you wish for-you may get it.
This is a community.
Let’s all be Martin Luther today.
Do you have a thesis of your own?
Add it to the list-think of it as your own Easter egg to the rest of us.
Ted's take: Wow! When will all of the supposed "conservative-Christians" cease to listen to Bill O'Rielly, Rush Limbaugh, or Jerry Fawell and James Dobson and start listening to Jesus Christ? "Love your enemy, blessed are the peacemakers, go and sell everything and give it to the poor."
Being from South Carolina, I just assumed that Edwards was a Southern Baptist, but this blog entry of his has me thinking he knows his Luther. Click here to read the original post on his blog- he includes a outstanding quote from (Martin Luther in 1545).
One of my favorite parts of Barack Obama's book is when he wondered, as a Constitutional Law professor at the University of Chicago, whether or not the Theology professors were as frustrated as he was- that their students didn't bother reading Scripture (or in his case the Constitution) but hat tiny bits memorized out of context that they used to support their preconceived positions. That's the opposite of sound practice, which is exegesis- learning from Scripture what your position ought to be.
Me ka pule,