Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Radical Teaching!

Martin Luther spent portions of his life in seclusion. The establishment did not appreciate his efforts to drain the swamp of anti-biblical practices. This is a 1521 painting of Martin Luther disguised as “Jonker Jörg,” an identity he took on while secluded at the Wartburg castle. This man looks haggard and stressed, to me. He paid a high price for his passion. (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Photo by nevsepic.com.ua.)

When the television series Biography addressed the question of the most important figure of the past millennium, they placed Johann Gutenberg first, Isaac Newton second, and Martin Luther third.

When members of the Religion Newswriters Association were asked to vote for the most significant religious story of the past 1000 years, the event that came out on top took place in 1517, when Martin Luther went public with 95 propositions supporting his contention that the Church's practice of selling "indulgences" (whereby people paid money to cut down their time in purgatory) was wrong and abusive, which, the newswriters said, “sparked a Protestant Reformation whose results are still being felt."

The 500th anniversary of that event was commemorated around the world last Tuesday. Has your church celebrated the kick-off of the Reformation?

We have a lot to celebrate with respect to Luther's courage and the Reformation that ensued. Luther is often acknowledged for his role in restoring great truths such as "Scripture alone," the "priesthood of all believers," and "saved by grace, not by works." But what is not often mentioned in Evangelical circles is Luther's radical teaching on the sacredness of all vocations. 

His teaching on this forgotten truth elevated the work of the milkmaid and the farmer to that of the pastor in the pulpit, and the monk in the monastery. Yes, this was radical teaching!

A few years ago, I had the privilege of video recording a conversation with Os Guinness, one of the most respected voices in the Evangelical world today, about the effects of the Reformation upon Western culture, and specifically the effects of Martin Luther's radical teaching on work. 

The Doctrine of Vocation was a powerful driver in the early Reformation, but it has been largely forgotten today. It begs to be recovered, and, by God's grace, this is something Worldview Matters and others are laboring to do. Our particular focus is on restoring theology of work to the standard curriculum of elementary and secondary schools, and to the hearts and minds of adults in the church.

An excellent book that deals specifically with Luther's Doctrine of Vocation is Gene Edward Veith, Jr's, God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life. I highly recommend it.

I invite you to view an edited version of my conversation with Os Guinness here.