The Foundations of Lutheran Theology

Today’s seminar focused on one of the most foundational documents of Martin Luther entitled “Martin Luther’s Treatise on Christian Liberty” or “The Freedom of a Christian.” The lengthy document can be summed up in two sentences:

  1. A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.
  2. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful serving of all, subject to all.

While these two seem to be diametrically opposed to each other, Luther goes to great detail explaining how we are first set free by God, who gives us faith to believe and trust in God. In doing so, we come to know that it is by God’s doing, not ours, that we are saved.   Because we are free, we are not made right by doing good works. But we DO good works out of love and obedience to God. Good works are not done to gain approval of God, but rather in response to our relationship with God.    We spent the whole day in this text. For me, it is a great opportunity to revisit these works with my colleagues from around the world. The conversations have been insightful and helpful.

This afternoon we walked to the house of Philip Melanchthon, a professor, theologian and writer of the Augsburg Confession.
Melanchthon came to Wittenberg at the age of 21 to teach at the University. His house was next to Luther’s, and the two worked together in writing and leadership in the Reformation movement. When Melanchthon died, his position was replaced by FOUR professors. He was a brilliant man.


Tonight, Beata cooked an Italian
dish for us – she is from Hungary,
but her husband is Italian. We had pasta with pumpkin and spices, salad and yogurt with fruit. 
In the evening, four colleagues presented information about their ministries.
Pavel is from the far eastern area of the Czech Republic. His country is one of the most atheistic countries in the world. While the church is supported by taxes given to the government, the country is removing this support, and the churches will have to independently support themselves in the next couple of years. His hope is to continue to bring the Gospel to the people who don’t trust the church. What he loves most is about his ministry is Jesus!

Dhanaraj serves the Lutheran Church in the southernmost part of India. There are 12 Lutheran church bodies in India. In his church, there are about 1000 families, and they celebrate about 100 baptisms a year. Dhanaraj loves his church wholeheartedly, because the church gave him an education and taught him the love of God. He gave each of us a wooden medallion with a Bible verse written in his native language.  

Isak is from Namibia. He lives in the city of Windhoek. The churches in town worship about 1500-1800 each week, and the national church has grown about 13% over the past six years. 39% of the population are members of the national church.  Isak loves being a pastor, and he is thankful that his church is a singing church.    

Klaus is also a pastor in Namibia. He serves a church in the coastal town of Swakopmund. His church has its roots from being the first colonial town founded by Germany. He sees the need for the church to focus on the issues of the past genocide, and work on reparations and satisfaction, and ancestral land issues. His church worships about 100 each week.  
We spent time today sharing pictures of our families with each other. I think we are all a bit homesick. But the joy and laughter we share is contagious and therapeutic. It is a blessing to be together as members of the body of Christ.  
Pastor Charlie    

One Response to “The Foundations of Lutheran Theology”

  1. Bill Raridan says:

    What a blessing to be one of such a diverse group but with a common purpose! Thank you pastor for sharing.

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