Saturday 1 November 2014

Of Pumpkins and Castle Doors

Yesterday was Halloween, the one evening of the year when the front door gets barricaded against marauding bands of munchkins on a demonic sugar fix.

And it's also Reformation Day, commemorating the day in 1517 that Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg. It is a public holiday in 5 of the German states, Slovenia and - go figure - Chile.

Gene Veith is a conservative Lutheran of the LCMS persuasion. An excerpt from his commentary, posted on the Cranach blog, is "nailed up" below.

Luther's theology played second fiddle to the sense of moral outrage he tapped into. Luther is one of those fascinating characters full of self-contradictions. The bombastic peasant, German nationalist, beer connoisseur, scatological humorist, gifted translator, biblical scholar and change-agent with an unshakeable commitment to the oppressive political power structures of his day. Perhaps it's those very human contradictions that enabled him to break the monolithic Western church apart where others (think Jan Hus) had failed.


  1. Darn you Luther! Without you we'd never have had Herbert Armstrong.

    On the other hand, we'd all still be Catholics believing that milk sours because of witches, living as peasants under oppressive rule of church mixed with state.


    Well, I suppose considering the whole, it was better that he posted his 95 thesis to object to excesses which only made sense in a daft religion anyway.

  2. The statement regarding Luther never wanting to destroy the church and start from scratch has a certain familiarity about it. In fact, this same sort of statement has been made by modern day Judaizers about Jesus. And, we could also say that had the established church of that day not crucified Jesus, and had they not put His followers out of the temple, and had that temple not later been destroyed, a separate Christian church might never have come into existence. Collectively, these events caused major changes in the Jewish faith which was prevalent at the time of the second temple, as well.

    This is mind-boggling in its implications. At the very least, it demonstrates the power of one individual to foment change, not only amongst those who would follow him, but also amongst those preservationists who would disagree. Both examples also illustrate the proclivity of those who come later to take the original reformation further, as well as the exertion of evolutionary forces upon the movement. Stasis is never possible, although there can be periods during which equiibrium is maintained. It is a naturally dynamic process, influenced by deeper thought, the collection of experience, and practical application, though there will always be those who fantasize that it is static, and who will try to "preserve" their fantasized version of what this stasis might have been.


    1. If Jesus existed, it wasn't the Jews that crucified him. The Roman authority in Judea crucified him for insurrection, which was probably his temper tantrum at the temple. The Jews didn't put the Jesus people out of the temple...they were still there up until after the time of James, according to the book of Acts. The Chrestians, as they were really called by the populous, were considered a sect of Judaism until after the turn of the second century. However, the Greek followers of Paul left off temple, synagogue services sometime in the 50s AD.