ABOUT EVERYONE’S LUTHER
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” (John 10:27).
Hearing the voice of Jesus is the life of the Christian. His voice gives us faith. His voice forgives our sins. His voice sounds with mercy and kindness.
We hear the voice of Jesus echoed in the great teachers and preachers of the church. This is especially true in the teaching of Martin Luther. Luther is the great teacher and preacher of the Reformation. This is to say that he is the great teacher and preacher of the Gospel. Luther points us to Christ. He unfolds the Scripture. His writing radiates with the clear distinction of Law and Gospel.
For five centuries Luther’s writings have delighted the church. His teaching is as fresh now as it is was when it flew off the printing press or echoed in the classroom and pulpit, but most of his works have been in collections aimed at professional theologians. Everyone’s Luther endeavors to make Luther accessible for the church at large.
2017 is the 500th anniversary of the posting of the Ninety-Five Theses. This will, no doubt, renew the church’s attention on the Wittenberg theologians. Everyone’s Luther hopes to join the conversation, offering up important selections from Luther for the church. All of this with the hope and confidence that in the reading of Luther we will hear the voice of Jesus, and find our life and our joy in being the sheep of the Good Shepherd.
May God grant it.
Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller
Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, Colorado
Martin Luther’s Large Catechism
The Large Catechism is the clearest exposition of Luther’s teaching to the church. In masterful fashion he unfolds the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. It is one of the most important and foundational texts of the church, and should be familiar to all Christians.
We’ve formatted to the text of the Large Catechism from the Concordia Triglotta, a public domain text. It is available as a free download, or for $5 from lulu.
Martin Luther’s Smalcald Articles
In 1537 Fredrick the Wise ask Martin Luther to prepare a summary of the Lutheran teaching in preparation for a church council. The result is the Smalcald Articles. In three parts Luther discusses the Trinity and Two Natures of Jesus, the Gospel and its abuse in the church, and outlines the major articles of the faith. Together with the Small and Large Catechisms, the Smalcald Articles are included in the Book of Concord, making it one of the most important writings of the Reformer.
The Epitome of the Formula of Concord
A number of political and theological controversies followed after the death of Martin Luther (in 1546). These controversies included the topics of Original Sin, Righteousness, Law and Gospel, Good Works, the Lord’s Supper, Election, and more.
In an attempt to settle these controversies and bring about a theological unity among the theologians of the Augsburg Confession, a meeting was held in Torgau from April until June of 1576. Momentum from this meeting inspired the writing of a confession, The Formula of Concord, a year later.
The two leading theologians were Jakob Andrea and Martin Chemnitz.
The Epitome of the Formula of Concord was published first in 1577. It provides profound insight into the theology of the Scriptures, and also provides an outline for approaching theological controversies.
The Epitome is published in the Book of Concord (1580), and is considered a right articulation of doctrine and a correct exposition of the Holy Scriptures.
For us, the Epitome is a beautiful and surprisingly comforting unfolding of Biblical teaching. Each theological dispute is carefully and clearly outlined, and the appropriate Scriptures are brought together to witness to the truth. Only after the case has been made from the Scriptures, the testimony of the Augsburg Confession, Martin Luther, and other fathers of the church are brought in to support the teaching.
Errors are rejected with clarity. The truth is brought forth to comfort sinners with the hope of the Gospel. All the time the Formulators have their eyes and their pens pointing at Christ, preaching and teaching His person and work for us.