Martin Luther Sightings

In David Brook’s column an interesting wrap-up.

Liberalism has not expanded because it has not had a Martin Luther, a leader committed to stripping away the corruptions, complexities and indulgences that have grown up over the years.

If you’ll forgive some outside advice, President Obama might consider running for re-election as Luther. It’s not enough to pick a series of small squabbles and then win as the least ugly man in the room. He might run as someone who believes in government but sees how much it needs to be cleansed and purified.

Just two thoughts. First, politically (which you should care about my opinion as much as the crank on the street), he’s probably right, and it would take someone with a D after their name to do it. Just like it took a former extremely pious monk. Second, and this is the deeper problem, arguing for greater purity of anything this side of heaven is a losing battle. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. The first use of the law is as a curb – the civil use of the law. In this case the corruptions, complexities and indulgences need to be curbed. But the law does not save. The more you focus on the law the more it exposes the depth of our degradation. We would create new ways of selling indulgences (cross reference K Street Project, Fannie Mae, TARP – friends of Angelo were just plain refreshing old school corruption). The good news is that there is a Lord who knows our plight. He was crucified under Pontius Pilate. And the increase of his government and his peace will never end. (Isa 9:7)

2 responses to “Martin Luther Sightings

  1. Dear Parson Brown,

    I just want you to know I enjoy your website. I’m a semi-retired Lutheran Pastor. I grew up in the shadow of the LCMS in mostly ALC churches in Iowa, Minnesota, and Ohio (where my Dad was a Pastor for about 50 plus years). My Pelikanesque rebellion came in attending Harvard Divinity School, where I met many great scholars of the Bible, Lutheran and non-Lutheran. I graduated in 1972 and was a Vicar in Syracuse at First English Lutheran. I now teach courses on Ethics and Moral Philosophy at America’s only true Dominican college, Providence College. I try to faithfully distinguish between Law and Gospel and interpret scripture in a way that goes beyond mere literalism yet stays clear of the abuses of “higher” (i.e. polytheistic) “criticism.” I keep your church and schooL in my daily prayer.

    Pax vobiscum, Dave Buehler

    PS: Do you belong to the SST or do you read First Things?

  2. Dr. Buehler, always nice to here something from readers. I’ve always been in the LCMS (accident of birth I guess), but I’ve long thought the biggest modern tragedy in Lutheranism was the disappearance of the ALC. That third significant sized body just balanced things out. It was impossible for the LCMS to just dismiss the ALC as non-confessional. And it was impossible for the LCA to keep steamrolling with two bodies asking questions. Being at Harvard at the time you were there must have been interesting. I’m a little too much of a natural contrarian to really join much, but I do read First Things. Between three kids under 8 and parish life the spare time to join much is limited. Trying to apply Law and Gospel in a clear way is a tough thing. Thanks for your witness, and thank you for your prayers. Blessings.