Take Every Thought Captive - Make It Obedient to Christ: On Being a Lutheran at “Reformation 500”
Koelpin, Paul E.
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Since the Reformation, the Lutheran Church has been answering the question of what the Lutheran identity means. The Lutheran Church has endured The Thirty Years War, its identity challenged by Roman Catholics and the Reformed Church, pietism, enlightenment, and the blending of the Reformed and Lutheran Churches into the Prussian Union. Today, there are cries of attacks from “progressive millennial” culture, anti-Christian and anti-Lutheran sentiments, and church bodies taking the “Lutheran” name in vain. In order to establish the meaning of the “Lutheran” identity, one ought to return to Paul’s words, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). Our thoughts and beliefs are to be aligned to God’s will, to fall in line with the “Theology of the Cross.” Amid Roman Catholic’s stress upon ritualistic and meritorious actions, Luther strived to bring the church back to the “Theology of the Cross.” Thus, repentance and contrition were part of the “daily” Christian life. Only through the grace and love of God are we greed from the bondage of sin and slavery to Satan. Nevertheless, this message is continually being redefined or altogether ignored. Modern church bodies adapt the message of Luther to resonate with current societal views. Alternatively, in an attempt to maintain order and stability, the confessional churches seek the extremes instead of the “narrow Lutheran middle.” One learns from history and from Luther’s writings to avoid the mistakes of the past. In which we entrust ourselves to knowing that the Spirit of God uses the means of grace (Word and Sacrament) to call, gather, enlighten and strengthen the church.