A Reformation Day Summary

Luther’s Reformation Breakthrough (by Church History, Historical Theology Professor Ryan Reeves, Gordon-Conwell Seminary)

Dr. Reeves summarizes Luther’s Breakthrough on Justification by Faith Alone:


The Importance of the Reformation:

Dr. Reeves then goes back to explain the 95 Theses:

I wanted to have a link of some of the best that I consider that James Swan has put together in the apologetic issues of Roman Catholic claims against Luther.

Summary of some links that I have found the most helpful articles of James Swan on Luther and the Reformation and apologetics of answering some of the main Roman Catholic common claims against Luther.

Luther Added the word “alone” to Romans 3:28 ?

Alister McGrath on Augustine and Justification in Latin

More on McGrath and the “theological novum” comment & Roman Catholic claims

Luther’s comment on James as “an Epistle of Straw” (Part 2)  (links back to Part 1, see below)

Luther’s comment on James (Part 1) 

An Excerpt from James Swan’s excellent research on Martin Luther’s “Epistle of Straw” comment:

4: Martin Luther Called The Book Of James “An Epistle Of Straw”

The most frequent charge against Luther’s view on the canon is his opinion on the book of James.[50]  Luther wrote this statement in his original Preface To The New Testament in 1522:

“In a word St. John’s Gospel and his first epistle, St. Paul’s epistles, especially Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians, and St. Peter’s first epistle are the books that show you Christ and teach you all that is necessary and salvatory for you to know, even if you were never to see or hear any other book or doctrine. Therefore St. James’ epistle is really an epistle of straw, compared to these others, for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it. But more of this in the other prefaces.”[51]

Rarely is Luther accurately quoted on this topic. Luther says James “is really an epistle of straw” compared to “St. John’s Gospel and his first epistle, St. Paul’s epistles, especially Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians, and St. Peter’s first epistle.” Luther wants his readers to see a comparison.

An interesting fact about this quote (hardly ever mentioned by Luther-detractors!) is that it only appears in the original 1522 Preface To The New Testament. John Warwick Montgomery points out: “Few people realize — and liberal Luther interpreters do not particularly advertise the fact — that in all the editions of Luther’s Bible translation after 1522 the—Reformer dropped the paragraphs at the end, of his general Preface to the New Testament which made value judgments among the various biblical books and which included the famous reference to James as an “Epistle of straw.”[52] Montgomery finds that Luther showed a “considerable reduction in negative tone in the revised Prefaces to the biblical books later in the Reformer’s career.”[53]  For anyone to continue to cite Luther’s “epistle of straw” comment against him is to do Luther an injustice. He saw fit to retract the comment. Subsequent citations of this quote should bear this in mind.[54]

An Article I put together on Historical Theological Developments that Eclipsed the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone

On the Bondage of the Will and Luther’s response to Erasmus

Resources on Justification by Faith Alone

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About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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