This Reformation Sunday sermon looks at postings from Martin Luther, John Shelby Spong, Matthew Fox and Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Newmarket in the hope of string up the Spirit for Reformation today! The written manuscript is a facsimile of the sermon that was preached on Reformation Sunday 2013, which you can listen to here
Semper Reformanda – Always Reforming: On October 31st 1522, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the cathedral in Wittenburg and the church has been Semper Reformanda – ing ever since.
Luther’s 95 Theses famously itemized the wrongs and the abuses of the church of his day and insisted that change was long overdue. Luther’s list included many theses opposed to the churches selling of indulgences:
41 Papal indulgences must be preached with caution, lest people erroneously think that they are preferable to other good works of love.
42 Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend that the buying of indulgences should in any way be compared with works of mercy.
43 Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences.
But even though Luther railed against the church’s selling of indulgences, he did approve of using threats of hell.
4 Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death and hell.
5 And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace
Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Cathedral, and the newfangled invention of the Printing Press ensured that his protests were reproduced for all of Europe to read. Just before the turn of the last century, in 1998 to be exact, the Right Reverend John Shelby Spong, the Bishop of Newark published his own protestations. Bishop Spong, looked around at the state of the church and decided that it was time for a new reformation. Using the newfangled invention of our time, Jack posted his Twelve Theses with these words:
“Martin Luther ignited the Reformation of the 16th century by nailing to the door of the church in Wittenberg in 1517 the 95 Theses that he wished to debate. I will publish this challenge to Christianity in The Voice. I will post my theses on the Internet and send copies with invitations to debate them to the recognized Christian leaders of the world. My theses are far smaller in number than were those of Martin Luther, but they are far more threatening theologically. Continue reading