Block: How Lutherans Should View Luther

Matthew Block on Standing with Martin Luther:

. . . It is easy to understand why people seek to justify Luther’s errors. We consider Luther to be a hero of the faith. Consequently, we sometimes feel compelled to gloss over that which is distasteful about him. But Lutherans cannot and should not wish to ignore these failings in Luther. They must be recognized; and they must be rejected. . . .

. . . This truly is why we remember Luther: not because he was always nice, not because he was always good, and certainly not because he was always right. He wasn’t. Instead, we remember Luther because he directed attention always away from himself to Christ. It is to Christ we look for salvation, not our own holiness. . . .

. . . Luther, then, did not excuse sin. Nor should we today ignore Luther’s sins. But with Luther, we recognize that the sacrifice of Christ is greater than our sin. We confess with him that the Lamb of God has taken away the sin of the world—our sin—through the free gift of grace. We therefore still stand where Luther himself took his stand—indeed, where all the saints throughout the long history of the Church have always stood: at the foot of the cross. . . .

If Lutherans can see how the bad in Luther is an illustration of what was good in him and his teaching, I wonder how Wesleyans would make that same assessment of Wesley.

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