October 31, 2017

Thoughts on Reformation Day: Is Luther in Hell?

Martin Luther

Reformation Day is the Protestant observance of Martin Luther's consequential action on October 31, 1517 which would lead to the onset of the Reformation. According to legend, the young Augustinian monk nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, changing Christianity, and the world, forever.

On this the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's historic theses, we bring to your attention two articles of interest. Glenn Stanton writing for the Federalist offers a fascinating examination into the myths, lies, distortions and outright fabrications surrounding Luther's momentous dissent. In "Luther Didn’t Actually Nail Up His 95 Theses, And Other Curious Reformation Day Facts", Stanton observes:
The results of this theology professor’s world-changing action are beyond dispute. What actually happened on what is celebrated as Reformation Day, however, is highly questionable. Simply put, it’s unlikely the door episode ever happened. It certainly didn’t happen as portrayed in popular history and classic paintings.
Stanton also casts doubt on the 95 Theses itself, saying that calls for discussion were commonplace among university theologians: "The document? If it happened at all, the posting would simply have been proposal for a theological debate among his peers on indulgences. It was certainly not calling for a revolution."

Alan Fimister, Assistant Professor of Theology at Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary, writing for the Daily Caller, asserts "Martin Luther Is Probably In Hell":

"One might imagine that to write an article with this title is presumptuous in the extreme. But I do not make this assertion based on the wicked acts of Martin Luther — his division of Christendom, his hatred of the Jews, his licensing of polygamy, his accusations of adultery against the Saviour, his railing, his curses or his insults — but upon the simple principle of faith alone." Fimister's premise is based firmly on theology: "For faith has the power to wipe out any sin by the precious blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but without faith we are lost."

Both offerings are worth your time. Finally, we recall Our Lord's prayer: "I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me" (John 17:20-21).

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