Guest post by G. Shane Morris
Last night I watched PBS’s new full-length documentary, “Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World,” and was impressed. As soon as Carl Trueman showed up, I knew it was going to be good, but this thing is an achievement. It gets Luther right, warts and all, even if it does try a little too hard at the end to connect him with secular sensibilities. You will be more thankful for the Reformation this Augustinian monk started and better prepared to appreciate its 500th anniversary after watching this. If you’re fuzzy on the details of Luther’s life and work and don’t expect to get a good biography before November, this program is for you.
For me, it also stirred up an unexpected awareness of how tentative my faith is. When Luther made the providential decision to become a monk after his crisis in a lightning storm, he was throwing away the life everyone expected him to live. His promising studies in law, his father’s approval, and any chances of ever getting married (or so he thought) went up in smoke with his monastic vows.
Luther, tortured and guilty soul that he was, took God seriously in a way that’s tough for me to grasp. He lived as if God were real–as if He might actually send a tempest to capture a young law student’s attention and expect him to make a life-changing decision in the terror of the moment. Luther didn’t just profess the reality of a holy God. He lived it in a radical, frighteningly earnest way.
Had I been in Luther’s circumstance, I can easily see myself rationalizing away my vow once the skies had cleared and I was safely home. Would God really hold me to a promise made under superstitious duress? Does God even work that way? I know I would have had my doubts. If Luther did, too, he didn’t let on.
Read more at Breakpoint
Originally posted at Patheos.
Posted here by permission of the author
G Shane Morris is an assistant editor and columnist for breakpoint.com and a content contributor to patheos.com and kuyperian.com