Series - Theology Thursday

Theology Thursday - Continuity or Discontinuity Between the Covenants?

What’s All of the Fuss?1

“Evangelicals agree that God has spoken and that the Bible is His word. But, God has not revealed all of His word at once. How are we to relate what He has said through the prophets of old to what has been revealed through His apostles? Without an answer to this question it is difficult to know how to use both Testaments in formulating either doctrine of practice.

“An example of a doctrinal issue that hinges on this question is one’s understanding of the church. Are Christian to formulate their concept of the church on the basis of both Testaments, claiming so much continuity between the people of God that one may see the church in the OT? Or is there such discontinuity between Israel and the church that one’s understanding of the church must be formed solely on the basis of the NT?  …

“Such questions cannot be answered adequately without first addressing the more fundamental issue of how the Testaments relate. Read more about Theology Thursday - Continuity or Discontinuity Between the Covenants?

Theology Thursday - Luther on Baptism

The Book of Concord

This is an excerpt from Luther’s Large Catechism, in the Book of Concord.

“Comprehend the difference, then, that Baptism is quite another thing than all other water; not on account of the natural quality but because something more noble is here added; for God Himself stakes His honor, His power and might on it. Therefore it is not only natural water, but a divine, heavenly, holy, and blessed water, and in whatever other terms we can praise it, all on account of the Word, which is a heavenly, holy Word, that no one can sufficiently extol, for it has, and is able to do, all that God is and can do (since it has all the virtue and power of God comprised in it).

“Hence also it derives its essence as a Sacrament, as St. Augustine also taught. That is, when the Word is joined to the element or natural substance, it becomes a Sacrament, that is, a holy and divine matter and sign. Read more about Theology Thursday - Luther on Baptism

Theology Thursday - Tetzel the Salesman

Would you trust this man?

Albert of Brandenburg was deeply in debt, after purchasing two church offices. Pope Leo X, desperate to raise funds for the construction of St. Peter’s, agreed to allow Albert to sell indulgences to both repay his own debt and help finance St. Peter’s. Thus, Tetzel came upon the scene.

A Bit About Tetzel from an Observer1

“At that time a Dominican monk named Johann Tetzel was the great mouthpiece, commissioner, and preacher of indulgence in Germany. His preaching sent enormous amounts of money which were sent to Rome. This was particularly the case in the new mining town St. Annaberg, where I, Friedrich Myconius, listened to him for over two years.

“The claims of this uneducated and shameful monk were unbelievable. Thus he said that even if someone had slept with Christ’s dear Mother, the Pope had power in heaven and on earth to forgive as long as money was put into the indulgence coffer. And if the Pope would forgive, God also had power to forgive. He furthermore said if they would put money quickly into the coffer to obtain grace and indulgence, all the mountains near St Annaberg would turn into pure silver. He claimed that in the very moment the coin rang in the coffer, the soul rose up to heaven. Such a marvelous thing was his indulgence! Read more about Theology Thursday - Tetzel the Salesman

Theology Thursday - Albert of Brandenburg Needs Some Cash

Albert is unhappy . . .

This article gives some brief background to the circumstances leading up to Albert’s selling of indulgences near Wittenburg in 1517. This is a catalyst which led to Luther writing his 95 theses.

Albert and His Money Troubles1

“Archbishop Albert of Mainz was a prince aged twenty-seven, brother of the Elector of Brandenburg. He was also Archbishop of Magdeburg (in which diocese lay Wittenburg) and administrator of the see of Halberstadt.

To combine these high offices he needed dispensations from Rome. The fees for dispensation on this gargantuan scale being vast, Albert borrowed money from the great banking house of Germany, the Fugger of Augsburg.

As security for the debt, he undertook to arrange the proclamation through Germany of the Indulgence which the Pope had recently declared for the purpose of building St. Peter’s at Rome. The money from the sale of this Indulgence (or phrased less crudely, from the gifts of the faithful seeking the remission of pains in purgatory) went in part to the Pope’s building and in part to the bankers in payment of Albert’s debt. Read more about Theology Thursday - Albert of Brandenburg Needs Some Cash

Theology Thursday - Luther Explains His Salvation

About Luther

“He was never an infidel, nor a wicked man, but a pious Catholic from early youth; but he now became overwhelmed with a sense of the vanity of this world and the absorbing importance of saving his soul, which, according to the prevailing notion of his age, he could best secure in the quiet retreat of a cloister.

He afterward underwent as it were a second conversion, from the monastic and legalistic piety of mediæval Catholicism to the free evangelical piety of Protestantism, when he awoke to an experimental knowledge of justification by free grace through faith alone.”1

Luther Tells About His Conversion2

Read more about Theology Thursday - Luther Explains His Salvation

Anathema! The Council of Trent on Justification (Part 2)

Following the deep division in the church which had resulted from the Protestant Reformation, there was a widespread desire, which grew stronger and was expressed in a variety of ways, for an ecumenical council. Its aim would be to reject errors against faith, add strength to the official teaching, restore the unity of the church, and reform the standards of the Roman curia and of church discipline.1

SIXTH SESSION, held January 13, 1547.

Decree on Justification2

CANON 18. If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep: let him be anathema.

CANON 19. If any one saith, that nothing besides faith is commanded in the Gospel; that other things are indifferent, neither commanded nor prohibited, but free; or, that the ten commandments nowise appertain to Christians: let him be anathema. Read more about Anathema! The Council of Trent on Justification (Part 2)

Theology Thursday - Anathema! The Council of Trent on Justification

Following the deep division in the church which had resulted from the Protestant Reformation, there was a widespread desire, which grew stronger and was expressed in a variety of ways, for an ecumenical council. Its aim would be to reject errors against faith, add strength to the official teaching, restore the unity of the church, and reform the standards of the Roman curia and of church discipline.1

SIXTH SESSION, held January 13, 1547.

Decree on Justification2

CANON 1. If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ: let him be anathema.

CANON 2. If any one saith, that the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, is given only for this, that man may be able more easily to live justly, and to merit eternal life, as if, by free-will without grace, he were able to do both, though hardly indeed and with difficulty: let him be anathema. Read more about Theology Thursday - Anathema! The Council of Trent on Justification

Theology Thursday - Persecution for Religion Judg’d and Condem’d

Thomas Helwys - John Murton's Predecessor

Background

No author is listed for the following treatise, but most attribute it to John Murton, an associate and successor of Thomas Helwys as leader of General Baptists in London. The treatise first appeared in 1615.1

Leon McBeth wrote,

“Murton made the trek to Amsterdam with Smyth, became a Baptist there, and sided with Helwys in the split from Smyth. He also suffered for his faith, spending some years in prison where apparently he died in 1626. From prison he authored two significant treatises on religious liberty.”2

Murton’s Plea for Religious Liberty

To all that truly wish Jerusalem’s Prosperity and Babylons Destruction; Wisdom and Understanding be multiplyed upon you. Read more about Theology Thursday - Persecution for Religion Judg’d and Condem’d

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