Luther published a treatise called On War Against the Turk. In this work, he distinguishes between the two men who should fight against the Turk, “and there ought to be only two: the one is named Christian, the other, Emperor Charles.” When the emperor takes up this task in obedience to God, he also serves his neighbors by providing protection for his subjects and a good conscience for his soldiers.
Although Cranach was not an ordained pastor, he was most certainly a theologian, using his skills with paint and brush to visually proclaim the mercy of Christ. It is Jesus who takes the little children, embraces them, and makes them His own. His grace is pure gift! Christ is the heart and center of the painting and the Christian faith drawing all people to Himself in the blessing of the sacrament of Holy Baptism.
The contributions of Nicolaus Decius to Lutheran hymnody, although few, actually predate the first published hymns of Martin Luther by one year. Two of these settings have survived in Lutheran hymnals of recent decades, “All Glory Be to God on High” and “Lamb of God, Pure and Holy.”
True worship relies not on our building towers to God, our works, or merit. True worship relies on God alone, His Word and mercy given to us poor sinners.
Luther and other Lutheran Reformers defended the inerrancy of Scripture with gusto. The way they defended inerrancy in their day gives us confidence in our day that we are teaching nothing new, but stand on the shoulders of our forefathers in the faith when we confess the same.
The clarity of Scripture means that Scripture stands by itself, sufficient and useful for man without the need of other authorities. Its meaning may not be immediately apparent to man, but is sought out through careful study and use of the remedies God provides to overcome the difficulties of Scripture. When this is done, Scripture gives us a solid, clear foundation for both faith and life.
The sufficiency of Scripture was a hallmark of Reformation theology among the Lutherans. They would indeed bring in arguments of reason and authorities from tradition to establish their points, but only insofar as they stood under the judgment of Scripture. If they had neither reason nor tradition, the Lutherans wouldn’t care. God’s Word has already said enough.
Although historians cannot go back in time and read Luther’s thoughts at the different stages of his early Reformation development, many have suggested that his affirmation of the doctrine of sola Scriptura was dependent on his discovery of the Gospel.
Gerhard could move from the sick-bed to the classroom, from the pulpit to the lecture hall, from writing devotional material to composing a dogmatic textbook, because for him the task was the same, to lead people into all truth in Christ. He could vary his delivery of this truth to fit the circumstance, but the truth always remained the same, and his concern for that truth remained the same.
When original sin is rightly confessed, it not only drives us to our knees as we despair of our ability to save ourselves, it also helps us realize just how necessary Christ is.