Concerning Christian Liberty (1520)


From the introduction:

The Freedom of the Christian is one of the three great essays published by Martin Luther in 1520.

In the years following the publication of the Ninty-Five Theses the theological conversation had heated up. A number of disputations and official conversations had failed to bring peace. Luther had been threatened with excommunication in June of 1520. (Luther himself recounts much of the historical context in his preface which we have included at the end.)

This essay was written to Pope Leo X to demonstrate the profoundly Biblical and comforting doctrine of the Wittenberg theologians. It failed to achieve that end, and Luther was excommunated by Pope Leo X on January 3, 1521.

Luther’s essay Concerning Christian Liberty, though, stands as a shining example of his Biblical theology, and the core Reformation distinction of Law and Gospel shines brilliantly through this work. Luther sets us up before God with no works, only faith in Christ and the glory of His righteousness. And Luther sends us to our neighbor armed with love and good works.

The teaching of this little essay is profound and comforting, and it deserves the attention of every Christian, especially as Luther points us to the Scriptures and the wisdom of Christ.

Spread the word! If you haven’t read much Luther, this is a great place to start.

And, if any of you guys are interested in writing a study guide, please let me know. I’d like to publish a second edition with study questions included.