Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hominem Predicant: They Preach Man

"They preach man..."

This is the beginning of the 27th thesis of Luther's 95 Theses.  The entire thesis reads:
They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out.

To put it in a more familiar form, Luther was speaking against Johann Tetzel's slogan, "When a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs."

It was on this day in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door at the Castle Church in Wittenberg.  It sounds kind of radical or odd that someone would nail anything to the door of a church, but this door kind of served as a community bulletin board.  Much like you might see notices for garage sales as you enter your grocery store, the church door served as a place where you could post something of interest.

It wasn't the act of nailing something to the door of a church that set things spinning, but the content of the theses that thrust the Protestant Reformation to the forefront of society.

Luther challenged the sale of indulgences, the church's teaching on justification, and the authority of the pope in these theses.  Many of the issues are still taught by Rome today.

That being said, even though Rome still sells indulgences, its docrine of justification remains in tact, and the pope still claims to be the "Vicar of Christ on Earth," these issue hardly plagues the Church Universal the way it once did.

What does? Pastor Peters has an excellent post on The New Reformation.

While Johann Tetzel is no longer "preaching man" instead of "preaching Christ crucified," many others are.  These are the voices of the prosperity gospel, new age philosophy, eastern mysticism, popular television hosts, and all those books about how you need a "purpose".  Wherever a person's individual actions are used in lieu of Jesus' saving work, whether inside the church or outside the church, this is where "they preach man."

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