Reformation Day Reminder

Today is Reformation Day, the alleged date that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the Wittenberg church’s door.

Luther was certainly right to have a problem with the indulgences of the Catholic Church and call them out on their profiteering.

As with most reactionary responses, it went to an equally ridiculous extreme. Luther invented the concept of Sola Fide, which refers to being justified by faith alone.

The only problem is that the only time the Bible mentions “faith alone” is in James 2:24

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

So, you are now left having to choose between Sola Fide or Sola Scriptura. Faith Alone or Scripture Alone? Choose carefully, because it can’t be both!

Guess which one Luther chose? You guessed it: he went with his pet doctrine over Scripture.

“Therefore St James’ epistle is really an epistle of straw, compared to these others, for it has nothing of the nature of the Gospel about it . . . The epistle of James gives us much trouble, for the Papists embrace it alone and leave out all the rest…Accordingly, if they will not admit my interpretations, then I shall make rubble also of it. I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove . . . I maintain that some Jew wrote it who probably heard about Christian people but never encountered any. Since he heard that Christians place great weight on faith in Christ, he thought, ‘Wait a moment! I’ll oppose them and urge works alone.’ This he did.”
–Martin Luther

This Reformation Day, take some time to reflect on your faith. How much is based on Scripture and how much is based on defending doctrines that your guys hold? How much of the Bible do you need to throw away to maintain your doctrine? Is your faith consistent with Scripture? Do you know the Scriptures well enough to answer that question? If not, don’t you think you might want to figure that out before you stand before God and give an account?

Don’t worry about reforming the church; reform your own faith.

5 thoughts on “Reformation Day Reminder”

  1. Sadly it’s a clear sign of how eagerly bad theology is blindly adopted – even when the only reference in scripture related to it very clearly and categorically rejects the premise of that theology.

    As you point out, rather than correct the theology, some find it preferable to reject the part of scripture that denounces the favoured theological idea.

    Some people (it seems) prefer theology above truth.

  2. The biggest argument against it, besides the Bible flatly stating the opposite, is “Even the demons believe.” Followed by “Now abides faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” Love is huge in the NT, yet completely skipped by the Solas.

  3. Well even straw is useful. It keeps weeds from growing…the weeds of an imaginary faith. I do like the story about the priest of Kalenberg though. It goes something like this:

    “The preacher of Kalenberg, when visited by the duchess, heated the room with the wooden statues of the apostles. The statue of James was the last and as the preacher shoved it into the stove he exclaimed, ‘Now bend over, Jimmy, you must go into the stove; no matter if you were the pope or all the bishops, the room must become warm.'”

  4. Okay, I found a text in the Bible that teaches “faith alone”:

    Mark 5:36 – “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he said unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.”

    “Only believe”. Faith alone.

  5. Good catch! I would counter that the Mark 5 passage is not talking about salvation but about the synagogue leader believing Christ would heal his daughter even though he was told she was dead.

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