Saturday, March 16, 2013
Matt Redmond on the new Pope, Luther, and our need to take aim at ourselves
... The reason I was ill at ease about evangelicals making light of the papal process and then using Luther to defend it was this. Luther was taking aim at his own tradition. Not the tradition of his neighbor alone. Luther was not trying to start a new religion or denomination or sect. He was trying to reform the church already there. Luther was Roman Catholic, if you will. not Lutheran.
And of course they wanted to kill him. So his criticism and strong language should be seen in that light.
Here is what I think, you wanna be like Luther? Set your aim on all the silliness with evangelicalism. The legalism. The celebrity. The concerts disguised as worship. The worship disguised as concerts. The marketing ad nauseum. The legalism. The calls for radical living from pastors with iPads and iPhones who live in the suburbs with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. Set your aim on the cover-up of sexual abuse. The legalism. Set your aim on a theology that questions everything and stands for nothing. The pastor as CEO. The pastor as rock star. The legalism.
Making fun of the conclave given the task of selecting the Pope is easy while living in the evangelical enclave. You lose nothing and get some laughs. Luther took on the church from within. And not for a laugh but because he genuinely sought God and cared for people.
There's more that could be said, of course, but the closing thought I'll add is to note that if we do what Matt suggests we should remember that none of the prophets whose books ended up in the Bible succeeded. In an evangelical eagerness to show how Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets we have to remember that it wasn't just the Law that failed to bring about the loving obedience of the people. If the OT is any indication the more prophetic you are the more spectacularly you'll fail to have a ministry that catalyzes the repentance of God's people. What was Isaiah told WOULDN'T happen when people heard the words he was supposed to say ... ?