An outstanding 30 min lecture on Luther By Harvard’s Ronald Thieman. Here’s one of his characterizations of Luther through a selection of Luther’s quotes:
Luther: “A person who believes that he can obtain grace by doing what is in him… adds sin to sin so that he becomes doubly guilty. Our utter inability to achieve righteousness before God, should not”, Luther stresses, “be cause for despair. But, rather should desire to humble oneself and seek the grace of God. But, even this self humbling and seeking is not a meritorious human act. The transformation of our wills is itself always and only a work of God, though, it is certain though that man must utterly despair of his own ability before he is prepared to receive the grace of Christ.”
Thus it becomes clear in these early thesis that Luther is setting out a set of normative proposals for living a life shaped by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While there are a set of epistemological consequences of living such a life, the existential spiritual dimensions of the theology of the cross are front and center from the onset. Thus, it comes as no surprise in the next set of thesis that Luther turns not to the abstract question of the theology of the cross, but, to the concrete issue to the form of life exemplified by the theologian of the cross.
That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things that have actually happened. He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross. A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross call the thing what it actually is.
“Luther’s Theology of the Cross: Resource for a Theology of Religions?” presented by Ronald Thiemann (Harvard University) on the topic of “Continuity and Novelty” — “The Global Luther: Reconsidering the Contributions of Martin Luther, an International Conference” Department of Religion, Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University, February 23, 2008. Northwestern University, February 23, 2008.http://www.religion.northwestern.edu/conferences/globalluther/
Uploaded by NorthwesternU on Jul 7, 2008