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” Surprisingly, for Luther divine punishment is for our good.
Richard Niebuhr’s famous caricature, “teaches a God without wrath who brings men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.” Such readers can indeed be taken aback by the Theses’ emphasis on penalties and the cross.
But for Luther, as we have heard, these pains are divinely given aids to be welcomed by the pilgrim disciples on their arduous journey of purification on the narrow way to heaven.
It would not mean, I venture, a booster shot for habitual anti-Catholicism, nor would it remotely endorse “cheap grace” as the remedy for ecclesiastical profiteering.
Hearing and understanding the Theses in their original sense, I propose, would entail a willingness to be shaped by the cross of Christ, as expressed in Luther’s opening statement: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ [Matt.
First, it reflects the truth that Luther, when he wrote the Theses, had not yet realized all the implications of his doctrine of justification by faith.
Example Of Argumentative Essay Introduction - Martin Luther 95 Theses Essay
He had yet to discover how faith is certain because it moves the believer out of self-preoccupation and into trusting God and regarding the neighbor in love.
Why indeed then would anyone wish to short-circuit the purgation of their wayward desires through Christ, in holy preparation for eternal life with God?
If purgatory means the purification of the Christian, beginning in this lifetime, then the message of Luther’s 95 Theses might well be stated: In his little book on the 95 Theses, Timothy Wengert tells of a contemporary layperson who, upon reading the 95 Theses, commented that “they aren’t very Lutheran!
Try selling that on the religious marketplace, then or now!
of the religious marketplace was exactly Luther’s point.