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Posts tagged "Martin Luther"


Another Week Ends: Operation Ceasefire, Idiot Prayer, Racism and Sin, Troublesome Empathy, Martin Luther, and Immortality

1. A pretty obvious place to look for the dynamics of law and grace is, well, the law. In a recent story from Mother Jones, Samantha Michaels describes a program designed to curb gun violence in cities with high murder rates. Operation Ceasefire identifies people who are at risk of shooting someone or being shot; rather […]

Exorcising Regrets By Divine Amnesia

Failure and sports go hand-in-hand. As much as we might hold up elite athletes as gods, perfection is never their goal. The best batters strike out 60% of the time. The best quarterbacks have 40% of their passes hit the ground. All-star athletes have to have remarkably short memories. They can’t dwell on their mistakes. […]

Our Unwelcome Infinite Summer: David Foster Wallace and Martin Luther on Desire and Discontent

Probably the least sexy limit-experience one can have is of being bored with something one otherwise normally enjoys. Sitting in a lawn chair with Infinite Jest while my kids play with water is a good thing, one I look forward to as part of a relaxed afternoon. But why, then, do I periodically lift my […]

Martin Luther on Where to Find God: Suffering and the Cross, Glory and Majesty

Shortly before his death in 2002, renowned paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould was asked what he would write to an extraterrestrial if given the opportunity. He replied that he’d start off by asking if his alien pen-pal was made up of DNA or something else. “And the other thing,” Gould continued, I will give to you […]

Another Week Ends: Martin Luther on COVID-19, Tara Isabella Burton, Christ and Calamity, Generational Sin, and Faithful Doubt

1. Mere Orthodoxy has published an excerpt from an excellent book, Christ and Calamity: Grace and Gratitude in the Darkest Valley, by Harold Senkbeil. I’ve noted some highlights below and if you like what you read, the e-book is free this month: Just what does it mean to deny yourself and take up your cross? […]

Netflix’s “Cheer”: Law and Grace in Action

It took just three days to plow through the six episodes of Netflix’s latest docuseries Cheer, but it was well worth it. I’m not a cheerleading expert, or even a casual fan, but my initial skepticism was quickly won over by the show’s tear-jerking storytelling. Don’t get me wrong, the flips are as amazing to […]

Above the Noise: A Word of Comfort in a World of Sound

The ears, Martin Luther said, are “the only organs of the Christian.” His point was not to contradict Paul’s “body of Christ” analogy but that hearing is the most passive of the senses. While the watchful eye and the grabbing hand both suggest a more aggressive mode of action, the ears simply receive whatever comes […]

Grace for ME: Kierkegaard, Sin, and the Self

A week ago my father asked me, presumably because I was the only suitable philosophical authority within a few miles, what “Existentialism” is. Being the word-merchant that I am, I deftly replied, “uh…well, it was kind of started by Kierkegaard — though it’s not explicitly Christian — and it deals with big questions, like, um, […]

All Pride Contains a Hint of Malice

Another heartening excerpt from David Brooks’ new work The Second Mountain. Here the Times columnist turns over the definition of grace with a little help from Martin Luther and Reinhold Niebuhr—but with the heavy-lifting from Anne Snyder, Brooks’ erstwhile research assistant, now wife. I was struggling with the concept of surrender and grace. I didn’t […]

Sixty to Zero

In Lyndal Roper’s Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet, the author narrates the moment when Martin, a newly minted Augustinian monk, participated in his first mass as priest (1507). What made this moment especially charged was that his father Hans was present. Hans, you may remember, sacrificed to send his boy to college so that Martin […]

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lost Doctrine of Sin

An immense honor to put this up for online reading. This essay from Dr. Simeon Zahl was originally given at the NYC Conference in 2016 and was republished in written form in our most recent issue of the magazine, The Déjà Vu Issue. To order one for your favorite sinner, go here. And if you […]

Fear of the Gospel (According to Steven Paulson)

Can’t believe we’re less than four weeks away from our conference in Oklahoma City (10/11-13)! What better way to prime the pump than reproducing a quote from keynoter Steven Paulson’s latest book, Luther’s Outlaw God? Dr. Paulson is speaking here in reference to the great 16th Century epistolary debate between Martin Luther and Erasmus:

“For Erasmus, freedom… is precisely the problem–it means freedom even from the law, which he will not abide as a good Christian man. Erasmus’s fear is the same held by Paul’s congregations in Galatia. Will people who are freely forgiven abuse their freedom once they realize the law does not save? If excessive gospel causes tumult and loss of concord in the church and society, shouldn’t the gospel be curtailed? No, said Paul, and Luther followed suit. That temptation to truncate the gospel for its possible ill effects is the ‘temporal leprosy’ that must be endured. Such abusers of the gospel, if they arise, are not worth suppressing the gushing public fountain of God’s word. Erasmus backed himself into a terrible corner by defending God’s law as the means of electing the righteous. In the end, all he could do was blame the gospel itself for the evil of the world. This fear of gospel is the nadir of unfaith–the prison of the will.”

For more info or to pre-register, click here!