4 Feb 2009

Faith Alone

Our Bible Study Homegroup resumes tonight after the summer break. The group of 10 meets each Wednesday evening at our home for a night of fellowship and serious Bible study. We love our homegroup - it's a real support and we all value it highly. These people are my closest friends.

Generally we study a book of the Bible in depth, although we're currently part way through a survey of the Old Testament, trying to glean the 'Big Picture' of creation, the fall and the history of God's dealings with Israel.

Though we're all itching to get our teeth into some serious study once more, tonight is a social night...we're having a movie night!!

I first watched Luther, the movie, last weekend after purchasing it at the Illuminated Manuscripts exhibition at the State Library of Victoria last year. I hadn't been aware of it prior to this, although it was released for mainstream distribution back in 2003.

I was a little concerned with what I would find on first viewing. To me, Martin Luther is a hero. To many others he was a villain - the man who divided the church. I'm glad to report that my fears were unfounded. Luther is represented fairly as the a reluctant hero he was - a man who, though plagued with doubt about his own abilities, stood firm in the face of fearsome opposition, and through it all changed the face of Europe - and the church forever.

My conscience is captive to the Word of God...Here I stand, I can do no other.
Through the film we see most of Luther’s most famous moments – the storm that drove him to commit his life to the church, his stand before the Diet of Worms and his constant wrestling with Satan - and with himself. We are introduced to Johan Tetzel and his unprincipled hawking of indulgences, and hear Luther’s biting response.

As soon as a coin in the coffer rings,
the soul from purgatory springs.

Attributed to Tetzel

It is strange that we hear little about his theology. He was, after all is said and done, a theologian! The film says nothing about his wrestle with Romans:

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

Romans 1:17
Luther realised that the righteousness of God was not primarily a characteristic of God to be feared, but an activity of God. God is righteous when he declares that the unrighteous who have faith shall be righteous.

The film mentions nothing of that...we never even hear the word 'justification'. While papal indulgences were a significant factor in Luther's stand against the Roman church, it was 'Faith Alone' that formed the basis for Luther's ninety-five theses. He rejected the Catholic teaching that sin could be absolved through indulgences since grace was given by God alone.

Despite these omissions, the films strengths far outweigh its weaknesses.

I'm really looking forward to tonight. I'm sure we'll have a great time.

The hot buttered popcorn and chocolate Jaffas will help too!!

P.S. The scenes of death in the movie are graphic. There are no battle sequences, but the results of the peasant war are graphically presented, along with several images of hangings. This is not a movie for younger children. Jemimah will be going to bed!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you will be having some real meat, not watered down or milky. How my Spirit hungers for fellowship with like minded believers! Not my will be done but His....there is a time and season for everything and how I have learnt to be content with GOd's workings and timings!


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