Martin Luther: The Spearhead of the Reformation

Cost: R100.00
Dates: 29 – 31 August 2017
Address: 34 Beach Rd, Muizenberg, 7945,
Cape Town, South Africa

  Conference Overview

  ‘The Great Outlaw’
Martin Luther: Spearhead of the Protestant Reformation

Luther: Man Between God and the Devil, is the title of a well-informed biography by Heiko Oberman, capturing the life, ministry, and person of Martin Luther. And it captures the social and religious environment of that work.  But, as that Wittenberg Professor of Bible both knew and taught, Romans 6 will not allow that paradox, for we either belong to sin, death, and devil, or belong to God.

Yet, Paul’s epistle clearly indicates that belonging to God proceeds under conditions of struggle.  Luther came to see and teach that the resolution of that paradox and struggle lies in Jesus Christ. That discovery changed the face of Christianity in Europe, and ultimately the religious outlook of much of the world, especially Africa.

There is a second, and also fruitful paradox. Although an agent of change, in his person and writings Luther was neither a medieval nor modern man.  He looked both ways, but became neither.  Here also lies his ongoing relevance.

 Looking backward from Wittenberg, Luther along with all other Christians was only indirectly related to God, at best – along a hierarchy of sacraments and sacramental persons. And the other dominant feature of this landscape was “merit”, the need to earn it. The lintels above entrances to churches made it clear where you stood in your progress.  Jesus of Revelation 1:16 was carved there. Out of his mouth a sharp, two-edged sword.  Below, on his right sit one or two beatific saints, not of course of that village or district.  On his left a mass of coarse peasants, churchgoers, and under them demons, dragging them down into hell. Luther’s discovery, re-discovery of the Jesus of the New Testament, changed that!

 As true knowledge of God grew in parish and village, Luther was confronted by new misunderstandings that still mark our modern period. Amongst these are religious and historical optimism, as well as quantitative and progressive sanctification. On the foundation of Christ clothed with his gospel, these too are addressed in his writings.

 Martin Luther’s thought is as spiritually powerful, and deceptively simple today as it was five hundred years ago.  The talks at the Luther Conference offer insights of immediate relevance.

 We will be joined by speakers from Africa, UK, Australia, Canada, and the USA. Many of these are of international stature when it comes to Luther’s thought. The papers to be delivered will be aimed at folk in practical ministry.

In preparation, you may care to read three of his core tracts where the Christological foundation was developed and applied: The Freedom of a Christian (1520, LW 31), Two Kinds of Righteousness (1519, LW 31), The Holy and Blessed Sacrament of Baptism (1519, LW 51).

[LW = Luther’s Works American Edition, and volume number]