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Reformation

Yet Another "New Start": Karl Holl on Luther's Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

Yet Another “New Start”: Karl Holl on Luther’s Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

The following is an excerpt from Karl Holl’s booklength essay, “What Did Luther Understand by Religion?” (trans. Meuser & Wietzke) in which Holl draws out Luther’s theology beginning with his history. As you’ll see, Holl maintains a refreshing emphasis on everyday heart-level matters, compared to other scholars of his caliber. Still, you might want to put on your academic spectacles for this one—but it’s worth it. I started transcribing the first paragraph and just couldn’t stop there. Enjoy!

Like Jesus, [Luther] tried to show his contemporaries that their apparently intense piety, the piety of good works, devotions, and mortifications, was actually…

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Champions She Shall Never Want

Champions She Shall Never Want

The following post was written by our friend, Matt Milliner, professor of art history at Wheaton College. 

I recently decided to leave Mockingbird. I do not mean that I was convinced over a bourbon-fueled colloquy with a recent Catholic convert that Sylvester Prierias was unimpeachably correct to respond to Luther’s attack on indulgences by defending papal authority. Nor do I mean that I brushed up on recent Pauline scholarship and determined that Luther’s existential read of Romans is passé. Least of all do I mean, by leaving Mockingbird, that the Mainline Protestant status quo—with its newfangled gospel of intersectionality—holds any lingering appeal….

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Sin Boldly? Really? – Mark Braaten

Next breakout from Tyler is here! This one arrives courtesy of our friend Pastor Mark Braaten of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church down there, who gives a terrific primer on the anniversary at hand. Apologies for the audio, which comes in and out a bit:

Sin Boldly? Really? ~ Mark Braaten from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Dear Reformation, It’s Not You It’s Me: Theology We Love to Hate – Sarah Condon

The first video from Tyler is here! And as you’ll see, the footage fills in a number of blanks from the recording, so if you’ve yet to listen to the audio, definitely start here. The good Rev. Condon brought the house down – truly one for the ages (and an immediate addition to the “I’m New Here” page). Asshats not included sadly:

Dear Reformation, It’s Not You, It’s Me: Theology We Love to Hate ~ Sarah Condon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

P.S. We’ll have PZ’s opening talk soon – the separate venue made for a slight delay.

Mockingbird on a Wire: Grace Across the Church Divide

Mockingbird on a Wire: Grace Across the Church Divide

We’re humbled (by which I mean, deeply flattered) to offer up this generous contribution from Prof. Matthew Milliner, who also happens to be speaking at our upcoming NYC Conference (4/27-29):

I imagine there are some enthusiastic Mockingbird recruits out there, but I feel drafted. Visiting the Limelight Marketplace – a onetime church turned legendary nightclub turned bourgeois boutique (which advertises a “slice of heaven” from its gourmet pizza shop) – was my Protestant rock bottom. Limelight is not far from where I had attended Father Richard John Neuhaus’ funeral, who had been keen (as he was everyone) to see me come…

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The Pastor in the Batter's Box

The Pastor in the Batter’s Box

Get your elbows up! Watch the ball! Bend your knees! Be a hitter! Keep your elbows down! Choke up on the bat! Jump on that fastball! Wait for your pitch!

I remember standing in that little league batter’s box, with coaches and random parents and teammates all yelling their well-meaning directives to me at the same time. And I wanted to please them all. I wanted with all my 9 year old body to actualize all their shouted instructions simultaneously — even when they contradicted one another. But most of the time, I felt practically paralyzed by their imperatives. The…

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Happy Reformation Day! Special Podcast and Round-Up

When I realized the law was one thing, and the gospel another, I broke through and was free. – M. Luther

21. Believe it or not, this week marks not only 499 years since the Protestant Reformation kicked off, but one year since The Mockingcast did. Coincidence?! You decide… In commemoration of both anniversaries (but mainly the former one), we put together a special episode. Scott, Sarah and myself open the festivities before handing the mic to Duo Dickinson and Paul Zahl for an extended reflection on the meaning of the day. Click here to listen.

2. Over at 1517 Project, our friend Scott Keith put together a super accessible guide to “Just What Are the Five Solas of The Reformation”. A great refresher for today.

3. Be sure to take a gander at Nick Lannon’s wonderful “Merry Halloween” post if you haven’t recently. A seasonal favorite for sure. Click here to peruse our Martin Luther archive, too.

4. On the grace-in-practice front, pretty amazing to read about Pope Francis’ trip to Sweden to celebrate the 500th Anniversary.

5. Mark your calendars for October 19-21, which is when the Here We Still Stand: A Reformation Conference takes place in San Diego. I’ll be there, and hope you will be too.

6. Don’t forget the Luther Insult Generator.

More as the day progresses.

P.S. Huge thank you to all those who helped make this past weekend’s conference in Oklahoma City such a beautiful time! Recordings will be available soon.

How to Snub Christ (According to Martin Luther)

As the countdown to Reformation Day (10/31) continues, a quick word from the Great Reformer’s commentary on Galatians:

Men fast, pray, watch, suffer. They intend to appease the wrath of God and to deserve God’s grace by their exertions. But there is no glory in it for God, because by their exertions these workers pronounce God an unmerciful slave driver, an unfaithful and angry Judge. They despise God, make a liar out of Him, snub Christ and all His benefits; in short they pull God from His throne and perch themselves on it.

Run Don't Walk: 'Martin Luther's Reformation' at the Morgan Library in New York

Run Don’t Walk: ‘Martin Luther’s Reformation’ at the Morgan Library in New York

Calling all Mockingbirds! Attention, all Mockingbirds!

Adam and Eve in excellent company

Run Don’t Walk to the Martin Luther exhibition at the Morgan Library in New York. And first let’s get a couple of details straight. The Morgan is at the corner of 36th Street and Madison Avenue, which is exactly six blocks south of Grand Central Station. You can check out the opening hours on line, and the Morgan is only closed Mondays. Also, it’s a great place to go to the bathroom — always an issue in New York — and the cafe is excellent, and never crowded. Plus,…

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This Post Can't Teach You Theology: Learning with Luther

This Post Can’t Teach You Theology: Learning with Luther

Some years ago I had a simple plan for my life. Step 1: head to grad school to learn a bit of theology. Step 2: acquire degrees. Step 3: teach for a living. Forgive my youthful naivete regarding the academic job market. My plan failed, but not for that reason. Neither was I derailed by the process of earning degrees; I proved an able student, did earn one degree, and may yet grab another. But that didn’t matter very much. No, I failed at Step 1, because I presumed it possible to learn something of God by devoting myself to that project, as if I were studying…

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Happy Reformation Day (from Stephen Tyng)

Some wise words for Reformation Day from The Rev. Dr. Stephen Tyng, who served as rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in New York City (where we hold our Spring conferences) from 1845-1878:

7cf9292f426c9a2001d10d85c2f2d31cIt is true, you are required to repent of sin; and to obey the commands of God, in a new life of holiness. But these are the results of faith.  You can have no repentance unto salvation, without believing in him whom you have pierced, who is exalted to bestow it.  You cannot obey a single command, but by his power dwelling within you.  All these gracious dispositions and habits are fruits of the Holy Spirit; and are so far from being any preceding qualification by which you obtain salvation, that they are themselves a part, and a most important part, of that very salvation, which is offered you freely in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the purchase of his obedience and death. “He that hath the son, hath life;” and all the traits and attributes, and acts of life, flow out from it.

From Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians (Chapter Two Verse Five)

“We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.”

-1Human reason can think only in terms of the Law. It mumbles: “This I have done, this I have not done.” But faith looks to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, given into death for the sins of the whole world. To turn one’s eyes away from Jesus means to turn them to the Law…

On the question of justification we must remain adamant, or else we shall lose the truth of the Gospel. It is a matter of life and death. It involves the death of the Son of God, who died for the sins of the world. If we surrender faith in Christ, as the only thing that can justify us, the death and resurrection of Jesus are without meaning; that Christ is the Savior of the world would be a myth. God would be a liar, because He would not have fulfilled His promises. Our stubbornness is right, because we want to preserve the liberty which we have in Christ. Only by preserving our liberty shall we be able to retain the truth of the Gospel inviolate.

Some will object that the Law is divine and holy. Let it be divine and holy. The Law has no right to tell me that I must be justified by it. The Law has the right to tell me that I should love God and my neighbor, that I should live in chastity, temperance, patience, etc. The Law has no right to tell me how I may be delivered from sin, death, and hell. It is the Gospel’s business to tell me that. I must listen to the Gospel. It tells me, not what I must do, but what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has done for me.