Episode 16 – Open Letter to the Christian Nobility Part 2

The opening section of Martin Luther’s Open Letter to the Christian Nobility was an effective broadside against the Roman Catholic power structure. It outlined a biblical argument that elevated both the nobility and the common man to stand equal to both priest and pope in the eyes of God.

But Luther wasn’t done. The Open Letter also outlined Luther’s calls to reform the church from how people should dress to ceremonial changes to help people understand that the pope was just a man like everyone else.

The Open Letter was very effective. Before the release of the Open Letter, the pressure was building on Frederick the Wise to turn Luther over to the Roman authorities. The success of the Open Letter allowed Frederick to continue to protect Luther through this critical period of the Reformation.

In this episode we conclude our discussion of this letter. The implications for church and state relationships are huge as Luther calls upon the people to identify their role in the church through their baptism instead of through self-righteousness.

This letter includes a description of three false walls that divide the clergy and laity in the church. After tearing down these walls, Luther goes on to list reforms for the church. Walls surrounding the self-righteous are torn down. Our only identity in the church is found in Christ.

Beer Break

Curmudgeon Ale from Founders Brewery. This beer was chosen based on a request from a listener in New York. This beer is brewed with molasses and an insane focus on the malt bill.

Thank You

Josh for the sound engineer work. These episode used a different post-production technique. We are interested in feedback on if any differences are noticed.

St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg

Sources

    • David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
    • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
    • Luther’s Works – volumes 44
    • Wikipedia
    • Elsie Singmaster, Martin Luther – the story of his life
    • Hannah S. Bowers – Coffeeshopthinking.wordpress.com

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Episode 15 – Open Letter to the Christian Nobility Part One

In 1520 Martin Luther addressed the Christian nobility in Germany to give them encouragement in their role as supporters of the gospel. Martin Luther attacked three walls the pope had erected around Scripture. These walls were designed to intimidate the secular people from speaking up. If these walls could be torn down, then the Word of God would be more clearly shared in Germany.

The first wall is the notion that the spiritual power of the pope is above the temporal power of magistrates. This would prevent the magistrates, or local leaders, from instituting reform. This wall also established that the moral authority of the church silences the temporal leaders from having a voice.

When Luther knocks down this wall, he places a voice in the church in the hands of people other than the professionals. Giving a moral voice to people other than the clergy is possible because we all have the same standing before God by virtue of our baptism. Luther wrote, “For whoever comes out of the water of baptism can boast that he is already consecrated priest, bishop, and pope, although of course it is not seems that just anybody should exercise such office.”

This episode largely deals with introducing this letter from Luther and discussing the implications of knocking down the first wall. In episode 16, we will discuss the other two walls of the letter. The second wall was that interpretation of Scripture belongs to the pope and the professionals. The third wall was that only the pope can call a council that would deal with possible reforms in the church.

Luther knocked down these walls as artificial barriers to the priesthood of believers participating in the promises of God.

Where does the Roman Catholic Church stand today? The catholic church is full of very fine distinctions. It is important here to note that Rome has moved very close to Luther on the equality of all Christians. The catholic catechism, starting at section 897, states that the laity are, “the faithful, who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ and integrated into the People of God, are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ, and have their own part to play in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the World.”

Beer Break

Liberty Street Brewing Company, Plymouth, Michigan

Liberty Street Brewing began in 2006. They provide a large assortment of crafted, small batch ales and lagers through an exceptionally service oriented waitstaff.

Recognitions

Recognition of source materials

  •  Wikipedia
  •  Elsie Singmaster, Martin Luther – the story of his life
  •  Hannah S. Bowers – Coffeeshopthinking.wordpress.com
  •  Vatican website where they have the official Roman Catholic teaching on the role of the laity and the role of the priesthood.

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