Episode 71 – Luther’s Postil First Sunday in Advent Gospel Part 4

In this edition, Evan Gaertner and Mike Yagley delve into the fourth part of their series on Martin Luther’s “Postil,” where they explore Luther’s sermon on the Gospel reading for the First Sunday in Advent. Join us as we uncover the rich teachings embedded within Luther’s sermon commentary and discover their relevance to our lives today.

The Gospel reading for the First Sunday in Advent is from Matthew 21:1-9, recounting Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. Luther, renowned for his focus on scriptural exegesis, proceeds to dissect the passage, unearthing profound truths within its verses.

Luther emphasizes the significance of Jesus’ choice to ride on a donkey, showcasing his humility and servanthood. We underscore how this act aligns with Jesus’ entire ministry, wherein he consistently prioritized selflessness and compassion for others. We stress the importance of emulating this humility in our own lives, reminding us that true greatness lies in our willingness to serve and love one another.

Furthermore, Luther unveils the dual nature of Jesus’ kingship. While riding on a lowly donkey signifies humility, it is simultaneously an assertion of his divine authority. As the people welcome Jesus with shouts of “Hosanna!” and waving palm branches, they acknowledge him as their king and savior. Jesus transcends worldly power and seeks to bring salvation to all who believe.

Relevance Today

Luther’s words have relevance to our lives. We underscore the timeless nature of the themes addressed: humility and kingship. Just as Jesus humbly served, we are called to follow his example by serving others with selflessness and love.

Simultaneously, we are reminded of the spiritual kingship of Jesus, which offers salvation and hope. Jesus reigns in our lives and we can surrender to his kingship more fully.

Beer Break

New Holland Brewing Company Lightpoint Peak. Brewed with coconut water, orange peel, and spices to make it a compliment for a winter day. This beer does not receive a positive review from us.


Episode 70 – Luther’s Postil First Sunday in Advent Gospel Part 3

In this episode of the “Grace on Tap” podcast, the Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner continue their series on Martin Luther’s “Postil,” a collection of text commentaries he gave on the Bible readings throughout the liturgical year. Specifically, they focus on Luther’s sermon on the Gospel reading for the First Sunday in Advent.

The hosts begin by discussing the context in which Luther gave this sermon, including the political and religious climate of the time. They also note that Luther’s approach to preaching was to focus on the text itself, rather than relying on rhetorical flourishes or personal anecdotes.

The Gospel reading for the First Sunday in Advent is from Matthew 21:1-9, which describes Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. Luther begins his commentary by explaining the significance of this event, which was the fulfillment of a prophecy from Zechariah 9:9.

Luther then explores the themes of humility and kingship in the passage. He emphasizes that Jesus did not enter Jerusalem in a grand chariot or on a mighty steed, but instead chose a humble donkey. This was a deliberate choice on Jesus’ part, as it symbolized his humility and his mission to serve others.

At the same time, however, Luther notes that Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was also an assertion of his kingship. The people who greeted him with palm branches and cries of “Hosanna!” acknowledged him as their king and savior. Luther emphasizes that this kingship is not one of worldly power or domination, but rather a spiritual kingship that brings salvation to all who believe.

The hosts then discuss how Luther’s sermon can be applied to today’s lives. They note that the themes of humility and kingship are just as relevant now as they were in Luther’s time. We are called to follow Jesus’ example of humble service, even as we acknowledge him as our king and savior.

(Episode summary was provided by ChatGPT)

Domestic Donkey (Equus asinus) as a beast of burden. Nile Delta, Egypt

Beer Break

This episode features Eastern Market Brewing Company Paczki Beer. They brewed this year for Fat Tuesday a Rasberry and Blueberry pastry-inspired beer.


Episode 69 – Church Postil First Sunday of Advent Part 2

Evan Gaertner and Mike Yagley continue a discussion on Dr. Martin Luther’s Church Postil commentary on the Gospel lesson for the First Sunday of Advent – The Palm Sunday entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Martin Luther challenges the listener to hear how the mission of the church is shaped by how Jesus entered into Jerusalem. The king is coming gentle and riding on a beast of burden, carrying your burdens. The reason this king is coming is to lead you into the kingdom of God.

Beer Break

Our beer break features a beer from Drafting Table Brewing Company in Wixom, Michigan.

Orange Brewlius

6% ABV 40 IBU

This Milkshake IPA is an orange creamsicle-inspired ale brewed with lactose, malt, oats, and wheat, and fermented with blood orange, tangerine, and vanilla. Enjoy the classic hoppiness of an IPA with a soft, creamy fruited finish.


Episode 68 – Church Postil First Sunday in Advent Part 1

Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner discuss Dr. Martin Luther’s verse by verse commentary in his Church Postil. A postil is a commentary that is published to help preachers. Episodes 68-71 cover the material that Luther writes about Matthew 21:1-11. This commentary is located in Luther’s Works, Volume 75. Luther believed that common pastors and people would find his commentary to be a great devotional book for the Reformation.

Beer Break

Ludington Bay Brewing Company D’Booty Barrel Aged Ale, ABV 8.1% and IBU 37.


Episode 67 – Luther’s Postil First Sunday in Advent Epistle

Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner discuss Dr. Martin Luther’s sermon commentary on the Epistle Lesson for the First Sunday in Advent. This commentary is found in Luther’s Works Volume 75, Church Postil I. Romans 13:11-14 provides a jumping off point for Luther to talk about the exhortation to do good works since you are no longer in darkness. The exhortation to do good works is rooted in the promise that you are now in the daytime of the gospel.

This epistles teaches how a Christian life should be conducted bodily and outwardly on earth among people. People of faith no longer live in darkness but we are awakened by the Gospel.

Beer Break

Altes Sportsman Copper Lager by the Altes Detroit Brewing Company.


Episode 66 – Luther’s Postils Introduction

Dr. Martin Luther collected sermons for the one year lectionary into a publication called a Postil. The sermons were originally published as an aide for pastors in preparing their own sermons. The sermon preparations illustrate how Luther identified the gospel in the Scripture and how he believed it should be shared in a way that the common person can understand it.

Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 75 (Church Postil I)

Beer Break

Catch Me if You Can (2022) by The Bruery. This beer is produced by a small craft brewery in California. The beer is an imperial stout, and it has been bourbon barrel-aged. The beer is a very dark color with a creamy head.


Episode 65 – Luther’s Commentary on the Magnificat

In 1521, Luther published his commentary to the Magnificat found in Luke 1:46-55. This commentary was written for the narrow audience of Prince John Frederick and for the wider audience of all people who seek to use wisdom, power, and riches in God pleasing ways. You can find this commentary in Luther’s Works Volume 21. In 2023, Sola Publishing is providing a Bible study on the Magnificat written by Mike Yagley.

Beer Break

One Well Brewing – Ripped Right


Episode 64 – Sermon on the Mount Part 2

Dr. Martin Luther’s commentary on Sermon on the Mount is from a revision of sermons that he preached, mostly on the Beatitudes. Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner continue their conversation, begun in Episode 63, about how Dr. Luther uses the Beatitudes as an opportunity to affirm the priesthood of all believers. Each of us in our godly vocations care called by God to be active in our righteousness toward others. You can find this commentary by Dr. Luther in Volume 21 of Luther’s Works. Our next episode will be a study of Luther’s commentary on the Magnificat, which is also found in Volume 21.

Beer Break

Upper Hand Brewery – Laughing Fish. This beer is a crisp Northern Golden Ale.


Episode 63 – Sermon on the Mount Part 1

In 1530-1532 Dr. Martin Luther preached a sermon series on St. Matthew’s gospel on Wednesday evenings. This episode reviews his comments on the first four beatitudes. Volume 21 of Luther’s Works (American Edition) holds these sermons, and this volume also has Mike Yagley’s favorite…Luther’s comments on the Magnificat.

Beer Break

Upper Hand Brewery – UPA Upper Peninsula American Ale

5.5% ABV

The flagship and firstborn, UPA® is their go-anywhere, do-anything, back-to-basics pale ale. Timeless and traditional, some things are classics for a reason. Mike and I both enjoyed this simple beer with easy flavors.


Episode 62 – Luther’s Commentary on Psalm 51

In the summer of 1532, Martin Luther gave a series of lectures on Psalm 51. Six years later, in 1538, Luther’s followers released a small book on Psalm 51, based on Luther’s lectures. Luther uses his time of study in this psalm to discuss repentance, sin, grace, justification, and proper worship.

In 1955, the first volume of the American Edition of Luther’s Works was published through a cooperative agreement between Concordia Publishing House and Muhlenberg Press (later called Augsburg Fortress). This ambitious project was initially announced to have 55 volumes, and later has been expanded to include more material from Luther. The first volume published was Volume 12, which included Luther’s commentary on Psalms 2, 8, 19, 23, 26, 45, and 51.

This edition of Grace on Tap looks at Luther’s commentary on Psalm 51.

Beer Break

Cheybogan Brewing Company proudly produces a blueberry cream ale. Mike and Evan positively comment more on the smell than the taste.


Episode 61 – Treatise on Good Works

Martin Luther published the Treatise on Good Works in June of 1520. Martin Luther had upended the medieval theological view of good works by encouraging people to trust in the good work of Christ and not in their own good works. With the focus of trust shifted away from our good works, what role do good works have in the life of a Christian? Luther defines the role of good works in this treatise through an examination of the Ten Commandments.

Project Gutenberg has a open source copy of the Treatise on Good Works. Volume 44 of Luther’s Work the American Edition contains this Treatise. Timothy Wengert has published with Augsburg Fortress an annotated edition that can be purchased for the Kindle at Amazon.

Beer Break

70+ by Old Nation Brewing Company is featured during our Beer Break in this episode. It is a West Coast Style India Pale Ale. 6.8% ABV and 72 IBU. The beer has a tangerine flavor with pine-like contribution from classic Columbus and Simcoe hops. The Idaho 7 hops support the new-school tropical twist.


Episode 60 – 1521 Year in Review

Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner review the Reformation events of 1521. Included in this episode:

  • Dr. Martin Luther’s excommunication through the papal bull, Decet Romanian Pontificem.
  • Diet of Worms and Luther declares, “Here I stand!”
  • Luther “kidnapped” to the Wartburg
  • Luther writes his Commentary on the Magnificat as a gift for John Frederick
  • While Hiding at the Wartburg, Luther translates Erasmus’ Greek New Testament to German
  • Luther continues his thoughts from Babylonian Captivity in November 1521 Treatise on The Misuse of the Mass
  • Growing Controversy with Andreas Karlstadt

Beer Break

The Beer Break features a beer from Unplugged Brewing Company. The beer is Dudley’s Golden Ale which is exclusively available at the Huggy’s Social House in Vermillion. This special beer is a charity beer sold to support a golden retriever rescue society.

All profits from Dudley’s Golden Ale will go back to GRIN?Please consider making a donation to them to further their Golden rescue efforts !?♥️

Episode 59 – 1520 Year in Review

1520 is a year of suspense. The pope renews his calls for Luther to be silenced. Luther publishes some of his most significant books in his lifetime. Emperor Charles V is crowned at Aachen. This episode reviews Luther’s major literary works. We also follow the activities of Rome that lead up Luther’s excommunication.

Beer Break

Ore Dock Brewing Co. – Porter

114 Spring Street

Marquette, Michigan


Hints of coffee and bittersweet chocolate maneuver themselves through the full flavored roastiness of this jet-black ale.  Though altogether complex, the medium body and subtle carbonation of this porter delivers year-round enjoyment dark beer lovers.

Style: American Robust Porter

Yeast: British Ale

Hops:  Fuggles

Water Source: Lake Superior

Grains: Optic, Munich, Carmel, Amber, Black, Chocolate, Pale Chocolate

IBU: 27                ABV: 5.6%                Original Gravity: 1.058

Dates Available: Year Round

Available Packages:  6-pack bottles, draft

*2013 Beverage Tasting Institute World Beer Championships Silver Medal 88pts


Episode 58 – Augsburg Confession Articles 22-28

This episode concludes the conversation on the Augsburg Confession that had been presented at the Diet of Augsburg on June 25, 1530. We focus on the disputed articles, 22-28, and the events that take place between June 25, 1530 and April 15, 1531.

Sound quality is a little mixed in this episode because Evan Gaertner set the wrong setting on the microphone. His wife reminded him that sound checks are a good idea.

Beer Break

Copper Harbor by Midland Brewing Company. A sweet, toasty malt lager. It is named for the shipping port near the northern-most point of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Covid requires recording episodes in different locations.

Episode 57 – Augsburg Confession Articles 1-21

Part One of the Augsburg Confession is Philip Melanchthon’s attempt to show that the Lutheran church is in continuity with the historic Christian faith and more importantly in alignment with the teaching of the Scriptures. This document is meant not to cause division but to show the basis for unity in the church.

This episode discusses Articles 1-21, which are the common articles of the Christian faith in which there should be no disagreement.

Beer Break

Great Lakes Brewing Company – Dortmunder Gold Lager

Presentation of the Augsburg Confession on June 25, 1530 as a presentation of Jesus Christ and the confession of faith that arrives when bound to him as Lord.

Episode 56 – Introduction to the Augsburg Confession

In this episode Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner introduce the Augsburg Confession. The beginning of the episode is a timeline leading up to June 25, 1530.

This date is a major turning point in the identity of Reformation as something other than a schismatic movement that is breaking apart the holy Christian church.

Christian Beyer presents the Augsburg Confession to the Diet of Augsburg.

You can follow read the Augsburg Confession online at

Beer Break

Short’s Brewing Company is again featured during our Beer Break. This beer is a dry hopped double brown ale. Good Humans was originally created to showcase one of Briess Malting Company’s new malt varieties. Good Humans is a Double Brown Ale made with Carabrown Malt and dry-hopped with Simcoe and Golding hops. The brew has sweet malty esters that are met by huge toasted caramel and toffee flavors. The finish is dry with a bouquet of hops


Episode 55 – Luther’s Letter “Whether one may flee from a deadly plague”

1527 Martin Luther writes to Breslau after they requested guidance on the responsibilities people have to stay in a city that experiences a deadly plague. Luther’s open letter “Whether one may flee from a deadly plague” provides a theological response to the common tension we will face between self-preservation and care for another person that is need. The letter is found in volume 43 of the American Edition of Luther’s Works.

Some other resources include:

Gene Veith at Patheos has written an article placing Luther’s letter in the context of the covid-19 virus that is causing concern around the world.

Rev. William Cwirla at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hacienda Heights, California also does an excellent job providing some connections between Luther’s time and our own time.

Luther answers from the perspective of vocation. Those who have a vocation to care for a neighbor in need should not abandon those have need. But when others are sufficiently able to provide care then it is acceptable and commendable to care for oneself.

Beer Break is Nutter your Business from Grand Armory Brewing Company in Grand Haven, Michigan.


Episode 54 – Close of Ten Commandments

In this episode we conclude our discussion of the Ten Commandments and Luther’s exposition in the Large Catechism. The audio is not as good because we recorded in a different room than usual.


Episode 53 – 8th Commandment Part 1

We begin our discussion of Martin Luther’s Explanation to the 8th Commandment, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

The Beer Break features Kickstand Brewing Co.’s CENTER STAGE AMBER ABV – 5.9% IBU – 29. Toasty malt character, medium body with a dry finish. Always a crowd pleaser.

Swearing an oath with fingers crossed behind back concept for dishonesty or business fraud

Episode 52 – Seventh Commandment

Discussion of Martin Luther’s explanation of the seventh commandment, “You shall not steal,” in the Large Catechism.

Beer Break features Enigma by Tapistry Brewing in Bridgeman, MI.


Episode 51 – The Sixth Commandment

Evan Gaertner and Mike Yagley have a conversation about Dr. Martin Luther’s Large Catechism explanation of the sixth commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.”

Beer Break

From Jackie O’s Brewery in Athens Georgia we feature during our beer break Jackie O’s Lost Marbles.


Episode 50 – The Fifth Commandment

You shall not murder.

In this episode Mike and Evan discuss how Martin Luther explains the fifth commandment in the Large Catechism.

Beer Break

This episode features Tsingtao Beer. It is the most popular exported beer from China but it was recently overtaken in the domestic market by Snow Beer. The Tsingtao Beer we drank in this episode was donated by a listener. Thank you Aaron.


Episode 49 4th Commandment Part 3

Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner finish the discussion of how the Large Catechism explains the Fourth Commandment.

Anonymous, Witenburg, watercolor, 1537, from Das Reisealbum des Pfalzgrafen Ottheinrich

Beer Break

Salted Caramel Porter from Pigeon Hill Brewing Company

What starts as a traditional porter takes a turn once caramel and salt are added to this brew. The use of chocolate malt even gives it flavors of chocolate that reminds you of a piece of candy.

Pigeon Hill was located on Muskegon Lake. During the 1800s the hill claimed its name because thousands of passenger pigeons congregated near its peak. In the 1920s the hill was sold to company that removed its sand for industrial purposes. Now it is just a collection of sandy bumps. While the hill has been dismantled, the name continues in the name of this brewery. Pigeon Hill Brewing continues the strong tradition of beer being brewed in Muskegon.


Episode 48 – 4th Commandment Part 2

Second episode focusing on the 4th Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother.” Our discussion circles around the issue of authority, trust, and spheres of influence in our lives. When we place ourselves under the authority of another person, we humble ourselves and trust in God’s ordering of society.

Beer Break

Oberon by Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, Michigan

4 Ingredients for this American Wheat Ale

  • Water
  • Wheat
  • Hops
  • Yeast

Episode 47 -4th Commandment Part 1

We begin our discussion of the fourth commandment explanation by Martin Luther in the Large Catechism.

Beer Break

Griffin Claw Brewing Company on Eton Road in Birmingham, Michigan.

El Rojo Red Ale ABV: 6.5 IBU: 25

A bronze medal winning El Rojo Red Ale has a malty, roasted flavor profile. Entered in competition as an English brown, the El Rojo is more of an American Red – bigger than Scottish Reds with a beautiful ruby red color and a rich, roasty, caramel body.

The Griffin Claw is not nearly as much of a second office as comments in this podcast appear to make it.


Episode 46 – 3rd Commandment

Mike and Evan have a discussion about the 3rd Commandment and Martin Luther’s explanations in the Large Catechism. In Christ we find our holy rest, so it is in receiving Christ the day is holy.

Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.

Beer Break

This episode features the Petoskey Brewing Company and their beer the Horny Monk. This is a deep reddish Belgium style ale that is fairly sweet.


Episode 45 – 2nd Commandment

Discussion of the Second Commandment in the Large Catechism.

Beer Break – Breakfast Stout from Founder’s Brewery.


Episode 44 – Large Catechism 1st Commandment

This episode includes the end of our discussion on the preface and our conversation about Martin Luther’s Large Catechism First Commandment.

Beer Break

Bell’s Official

A year-round offering of a sumptuous hazy ipa from this great Kalamazoo, Michigan, brewery. This beer is great for those who love hops and prefer a wheat beer.


Episode 43 – Finishing the Preface to the Large Catechism

In this episode we finish our examination of Martin Luther’s preface (the long one and the short one) to the Large Catechism.

Beer Break

Grand Rabbits from Black Rock Brewery in Marquette, Michigan, is our featured beer. This cream ale is a delicious beer that sparkles with the waters of Lake Superior. Check out the About Us section of their website. Some good humor that grabbed Mike’s attention.


Episode 42 – Large Catechism Preface Part 2

This podcast episode continues a new format for Grace on Tap. We provide a running commentary of the Large Catechism as we read it together. This episode nearly concludes our discussion of the preface.

You can download the version we are using and follow along with our commentary:

1531 Edition of the Large Catechism in German

The Large Catechism was written by Martin Luther with material from sermons he preached as a part fo the catechism series he did in Wittenberg. The first edition was published in April of 1529. He wrote the longer preface to the 1530 edition while at the Coburg Castle waiting for new from the Diet of Augsburg.

Beer Break

SBC – Saugatuck Brewing Company has a brewery with food and 16 taps. They also have the Barrel Room which provides customers a close look into their Barrel Aging Program, along with 15 rotating taps of speciality and barrel aged beers.

This episode features the Singapore IPA. It is a well-balanced IPA with a little bitterness and powerful citrus burst.


Episode 41 – Commentary on the Preface to the Large Catechism Part 1

This podcast episode begins a new format for Grace on Tap. In this episode and the next several we will provide a running commentary of the Large Catechism as we read it together.

You can download the version we are using and follow along with our commentary:

1531 Edition of the Large Catechism in German

In this episode we get through the first 12 paragraphs of the preface.

The Large Catechism was written by Martin Luther with material from sermons he preached as a part fo the catechism series he did in Wittenberg. The first edition was published in April of 1529. He wrote the longer preface to the 1530 edition while at the Coburg Castle waiting for new from the Diet of Augsburg.

Beer Break

Brewery Vivant is a place of tradition and artistic approach to the Belgian and French style of beers. They use local sources for ingredients and run their business to be environmentally sustainable, with social equity, and economic viability. The brewery in Grand Rapids is in an 80+ year old renovated building. Between 1894-1980 it was operated as a funeral home. The chapel of the funeral home still possess the wood beams and light fixtures.

Chapel then
Chapel of the brewery at Christmas time

The beer we feature in this episode is the Bourbon Barrel Aged Quadrupel. +9% ABV – VARIES by year.


Episode 40 – Saxon Visitations

When Luther and the other Reformers visited the common peasants in Electoral Saxony, they were shocked and deeply dismayed. 

Their problems were numerable, running from administrative issues to serious theological gaps. Most concerning, the majority of the common people had no idea of the most basic principles of the faith. 

Luther’s visits to Electoral Saxony marked a turning point in the Reformation, leading to some of his most cherished teachings to this day.

Taken from: König, Gustav Ferdinand Leopold. 1900. The life of Luther in forty-eight historical engravings. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

Beer Break

Black River Oatmeal Stout from Paw Paw Brewing Co. in Paw Paw, Michigan. This is a small brewery established by two brothers-in-law, Ben Fleckenstein and Ryan Sylvester. Started in 2010 with the goal of putting people and community above everything else.

This is a very smooth stout with pleasing mild roast and rich bittersweet chocolate notes derived from a complex malt profile.

Thank you

Thanks to Josh for the sound engineering and to Sarah Yagley – music and new graphics

Thanks to our listeners

Recognition of source materials

James Kittelson Luther the Reformer

Reformation 500 website

Luther’s Works 40


Contact us at 

Let us know if you’d like to host a road trip.

or catch us on Facebook at graceontap podcast

Would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out. 


Episode 39 – The House of Medici

After the death of Pope Adrian IV, the young kings of Spain, France and England seemed to be less interested in manipulating the election of the next pope. Perhaps because they realized that they could not predict the behavior of a pope. 

The disinterest of the kings allowed the cardinals to maneuver amongst themselves for the position of pope, leaving Leo X cousin, Giulio de Medici with a distinct advantage. 


The papal elections are a really good window into 16th century politics. 

When Leo X died in December 1521, the logical replacement was his cousin, Giulio. Giulio was Leo’s Vice-Chancellor (2nd in command of the church) since March, 1517, just a few months before Luther posted his 95 theses. Effectively, Giulio was Leo’s right-hand-man from the beginning of his pontificate in 1513. But he couldn’t be officially Leo’s Vice-Chancellor. He was the illegitimate son of Leo’s uncle, Giuliano de’ Medici. Since he was illegitimate, he was not allowed to hold high ranking positions within the church. Leo’s first acts as pope was to declare that his cousin’s birth was legitimate because his parents were “wed according to the word of the those present.”

Nobody knows if this was true, but it opened the door for Giulio to become a Cardinal. He was immediately recognized as an unusually skilled statesman. In January, 1514, Henry VIII named him the Cardinal protector of England. Cardinal protector was responsible for representing England in the Roman Curia, or as Henry VIII said, “for the defense of us and our realm in all matters of the Curia.”

Francis I of France also recognized Giulio’s unusual skills and appointed him to the Cardinal protector of France in 1516. Amazing since Henry and Francis hated each other. Having Giulio as the French Cardinal Protector didn’t work out well for Francis, though. When the personal rivalry between Francis and Emperor Charles V broke into war in northern Italy, Giulio Medici sided with Charles.

Giulio distrusted Francis because he was selecting French bishops who were more loyal to the king than to the church. Francis gained the ability to name bishops when he defeated the pope in the battle of Merignano in 1515. The agreement between Francis and the church was called the concordant of Bologna. 

Giulio’s betrayal of France left Francis furious. When Leo died in 1521, Francis made it clear that he would leave the church if Giulio was elected pope, leading to the election of Adrian. After Adrian died in Sept 1523, the Roman people were excited to have a new pope named. They were tired of Adrian and wanted to have a new leader who would better understand them. 

The conclave opened on Oct 1. 

When the Roman leadership started to complain shortly after the conclave opened, the cardinals played for time, telling the Roman leadership that the entire French party had not yet arrived. 

The French party finally settled on Cardinal Gianmaria del Monte. Cardinal Medici promised that he would give up 3 votes if Cardinal Monte could get 18 votes, which would have given Cardinal Monte 21 votes. It also would have given a green light to the Medici party to vote for Monte in the next round (scrutiny). 

Monte originally got 16 votes, but when the members of the French party saw that he was gaining traction, three of them changed their vote to get him to 19. Medici said that Monte would have had to have gotten 18 votes the first time around, so his offer was rescinded. This further infuriated the French party, so no progress was made for a few days. 

 To try to get things moving again, Medici suggested that the French party agree on one name. (Assume it was implied that he would support who ever they agreed on, if they could all agree.)

 The French party was broken up into two groups. 

 ◦ The juniors, who were willing to work together.

 ◦ The seniors, who were all trying to get themselves elected. 

Medici’s proposal caused even more internal strife between the junior members of the French party and the senior members. 

Beer break

Ballast Point Brewing Co – Victory at Sea


They started out in 1996 as a small group of San Diego home brewers who simply wanted to make a better beer. In our exploration, they became obsessed with ingredients—tinkering, testing and tasting to find the perfect balance of taste and aroma. That adventurous spirit leads to award-winning beers in classic and unique styles while challenging their own tastes and expanding yours.


Robust coffee, sweet caramel, and aromatic vanilla.


The Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. They infused this robust porter with vanilla and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.

Time for the election to be over

There were two main groups battling for the papacy.

  • The imperialists, who had about 16 votes and were supporters of Giulio Medici.
  • The French, who had about 19 votes, and were only committed to having somebody other than Medici. 

Up until now, we’ve been highlighting the problems with the French as being between the juniors, who were willing to work together, and the seniors, who were trying to get themselves elected. This is a very simplified view of the French politics. It’s a little difficult to figure out what exactly was happening in the French party, but we’re going to have to give it a try to untangle what happens next. 

First, Alberto Pio, an ambassador of the king of France, showed up in late October. He was a friend of Medici. He tried to convince the French party that Medici would be as good for France as anybody. Although he wasn’t immediately successful, he softened them up a little. 

On November 11, the Roman magistrates threatened to reduce the food for the cardinals to just bread and water.  At this point, Cardinal Farnese, made his move. He approached the Duke of Sessa, to make a deal. The Duke of Sessa was a Spanish noble who was closely aligned with the emperor. 

Cardinal Farnese offered to give the Duke substantial amount of money and a cardinalate for the duke’s brother if the duke would support giving the imperial votes to Farnese. This seems like it worked, because shortly afterward, one of the leaders of the French party, Cardinal Colonna, proposed Farnese as the next pope.

We are starting to see the French block breaking up. Several cardinals objected to Farnese on moral grounds. He was well known to have mistresses and children. Sort of a throwback to the pre-reformation popes. 

There were a couple of versions of what happened next in the literature. Both have to do with Colonna, one of the leaders of the French party. 

  •  One version says that Colonna, claimed he was frustrated that the French had turned against his candidate Farnese, so gave his support to Medici. 
  •  Another source says that when the Farnese proposal fell apart, the majority of the French said they supported Cardinal Orsini. 

 The Colonna and Orsini families hated each other. So Colonna, who only controlled 4 votes, realized that he would be more appreciated in the Medici camp. He threw his four votes over to Medici. After the election, Colonna received a palace and the position of second in command (Vice-Chancellor) of the Vatican in return. 

We have a pope

Either way – on November 19, 1523, Giulio de’ Medici became Pope Clement VII

Clement inherited a mess from his cousin, Leo X, and things didn’t get any better under Adrian VI. 

Now we’re caught up with the popes.

For our next episode, we’ll get back to Luther. 

Sign off

Thanks to our listeners.

Thanks to Josh

Recognition of source materials


Contact us


 ◦ Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip.


Episode 38 – A Failed Pope

The sudden death of Pope Leo X sparked one of the most openly political papal conclaves in history. Each of the three major political powers of the 16th century made clear who they wanted to replace Leo, and they didn’t want. The most competent man for the job, Leo’s cousin Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici, was strongly opposed by King Francis I of France. King Henry VIII of England advocated for his right hand man, Cardinal Wolsey, and struck a deal with Emperor Charles V of Spain to support him. Wolsey came close to getting the required votes, but fell short because he couldn’t get the support of the French delegation who worried it would give too much power to the English. 

The issue was finally resolved when it was suggested to give the papacy to Adrian of Utrecht, a Dutch scholar who was liked and respected by all the kings.

When Pope Leo X died suddenly (and suspiciously!) in December of 1521, he left the papacy deeply in debt, to the point where his funeral needed to borrow candles from a previous funeral. 

The papal conclave that followed was one of the most openly political events in Roman Catholic history, with the papacy eventually being decided in favor of Adrian of Utrecht.

Although Adrian was almost completely unknown in Rome, he had been the tutor for Charles since Charles was seven-years-old.

For all of his political experience, Adrian wasn’t a very political person. Rather, he was a pious, thoughtful, intelligent, professor, which is what he remained as pope. 

Adrian’s piety wasn’t just a problem with the princes of the era. When Adrian arrived in Rome, he openly expressed his disdain for the ancient art from before the Christian era. The leadership of Rome was insulted, and became convinced he was truly a barbarian. 

 He didn’t make friends with the cardinals, either. When a new pope was installed in Rome, it was customary for him to grant petitions to powerful people to build relationships. Ascanio Colonna, a nephew of one of the Cardinals, came and asked for a pardon for a friend who had been convicted of homicide. Adrian refused, saying, “We cannot pardon without hearing both sides.” The Cardinals were heartbroken. 

Beer break

Greenbush Brewing Co. is situated 12 miles across the Michigan border from Indiana, in Sawyer. While the proximity to Chicago makes for a convenient homeward-bound pit stop along I-94 – the excellent food, constantly rotating tap list, and friendly atmosphere are reason enough to make Greenbush a required ‘Michiana’ destination. 

Headbrewer Peter Hasbrouck is charged with concocting the bevy of brewery year-rounds, seasonals, and one-off beers that can be sampled in an increasing footprint throughout the Midwest.

Pete, thanks for meeting us on your day off. So, how does a fella such as yourself end up brewing here in Sawyer, Michigan?

I have a food background. I went to culinary school up in Grand Rapids. I made my way around in the food industry for a bit. I went to Oregon for a few months for an internship also. Then, I made my way around Grand Rapids and got a chance to work about town and eat everywhere. Part of ‘eating’ is drinking. When I was in Oregon, the sous chef I was working for was home brewing. In Oregon, everyone brews. I was like “Man you got to show me how to do that, I’ve always wanted to learn.” He showed me how to extract-brew and then I bought all of his equipment off of him and drove it back home. This was five or six years ago.

After, I took a culinary job just up the road in Sawyer. And three weeks after that, Greenbush opened [in 2011]. Naturally, I became a patron. It was really small back then. The bartenders were the brewers and the cellermen; they did everything. I brought in some ciders and meads and they thought they were really good. In the wintertime, when things slowed down, I asked if there was any way I could come in and just watch from the corner. They said if I wanted to come by and help, that I just to swing in here. So I started to come in every Monday at 6am. A little bit later they needed a brewer and they were like “You already know the job, so do you want it?”  – Yeah, sure!

As for day to day, I deal with raw material stuff all the way through to carbonation. Ryan Beach is basically my other half. He deals with everything from carbonation to packaging. Labels, kegs, 6-pack holders, talking to sales guys: that’s all him.

Broken Promises

Greenbush Brewing Company

IPA – American

In the land of hop contracts, you can’t always get what you want. Lucky for us, when brewing our Wheat IPA we found Zythos hops, which lend a serious citrus burst to this fine brew. 

 There were four main problems Adrian wanted to address

  1.  Reform the curia
  2.  Free the papacy from politics
  3.  Unite Christendom in Europe
  4.  Resist the Turks. 

No Luther?? There’s no doubt Adrian thought Luther was a heretic. He was consulted by the theological faculty of Louvain before they condemned Luther’s writings. Adrian answered, “Not even a novice in theology could make such mistakes.” When Luther met with the emperor at Worms, Adrian wrote to Charles that it would be agreeable to God, and necessary for his reputation as the emperor, to condemn Luther as a heretic.

 Have to remember that Adrian was the Inquisitor-General in Spain. This was at the height of the infamous “Spanish Inquisition”. All the more curious why Luther didn’t make his short list of major issues. The answer can be found in a letter from Aleander to Adrian.

Aleander wrote: “The axe is laid at the root of the tree, unless we choose to return to wisdom. There is no need of issuing new laws and fulminating Bulls; we have the canons and institutes of the fathers, and if they are only observed, the evil may be arrested. Let the pope and the curia do away with their errors by which God and man are rightly offended… If the Germans see this done, there will be no further talk of Luther.”

 Adrian seemed to take Aleander’s advice. Unfortunately for Adrian, reforming the Curia wasn’t going to be easy. The way Leo had managed the papacy left a large group of bishops and cardinals dependent on the income from the abuses. 

So Adrian had a two prong approach to stopping Luther. First, reform the Curia. Second, follow his inquisitor instincts and come down hard on anybody who he thought was a heretic. 

When the reformation of the Curia didn’t work, Adrian began to push for something like a German version of the Spanish Inquisition. According to Adrian, Luther was even worse than the Turk. 

Mandell Creighton sums it up nicely in “A history of the papacy from the great schism to the sack of Rome”

 “He might have impressed the Romans with the power of holiness, and might have substituted for the worldly policy of his predecessors the ideal of the Christian bishop; but he shut himself up in the Vatican and led the retired life of a studious monk. Secure in his good intentions, absorbed in his plans for the future, he lacked that quick sympathy with actual human needs which alone can make abstract plans intelligible. He was content to make his purposes clear, without seeking how he could give them effective expression. He trusted logic and did not strive to awaken enthusiasm. He was more anxious to keep clear from doing evil than to do good. His attitude was negative rather than positive.”

  Most historians will say that Adrian’s inability to make political alliances was a major contributor to the fall of Rhodes and the rise of the Ottomans. 

 In early September of 1523, only a year and a half after he was installed as pope, it became clear that Adrian was very sick. On September 14, the Cardinals rushed to his bedside when they heard he was at his final hour. 

 They were not interested in carrying out his plans. They were not interested in the welfare of the church. They wanted to know where he hid all the money. He raised taxes, but lived very frugally. They were certain that he was a miser. He answered that he didn’t have anything but small savings. They refused to believe him and grilled him like a criminal. When Adrian died, the people of Rome were so happy, they put up a wreath on the door of the doctor who treated Adrian as he died. The wreath, “To the deliverer of his country” 

 Unfortunately, Adrian wasn’t the right man to pull away the attention of the masses from the interests of politics to the real issues. Adrian would be the last non-Italian to be elected pope until John Paul II’s election to the papacy in 1978.


Thanks to our listeners

Thanks to Josh

Recognition of source materials

 A history of the papacy by Mandell Creighton

 Modern Europe Vol 1, 1453 – 1530, by Thomas Dyer


 Contact us

 Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip.


Episode 37 – The New Pope

As the cardinals gathered in Rome in early 1522 to elect a new pope after the unexpected death of Pope Leo X in December 1521, they all recognized that the world had changed dramatically since Leo’s election in 1513.

Not only did Martin Luther challenge the authority of the church and the pope, the Turks were traveling up the Danube River, threatening the eastern regions of Europe, there were three new young kings making dangerous threats against each other and, most urgently, the church was deeply in debt.

The cardinals recognized they needed somebody learned enough to engage in the theological battles, but they also needed someone with experience in the politics of the day and able to calm the warrior princes. They were initially thrilled when they finally settled on Cardinal Adrian Boeyens, the scholar who was first selected to tutor Emperor Charles when he was young, then subsequently selected by the Emperor to manage Spain while the emperor was in Germany.

Within minutes of announcing the selection, the cardinals got their first indication that they had made a mistake when the people of Rome almost rioted after hearing the news.


We’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about the rise and fall of Thomas Müntzer and the Peasants Revolt of 1524 and 1525. This episode goes back to December of 1521.

Luther started December of 1521 in the Wartburg castle, hiding from his enemies, and increasingly concerned about the rumors he had begun hearing about growing Reformation excesses back in Wittenberg.

Pope Leo X

Meanwhile, on December 1, 1521 in Rome, Luther’s primary opponent, Pope Leo X, died (supposedly of pneumonia) at age 46. Leo died suddenly, and wasn’t even given last rites, one day after he complained about the wine that had been handed to him. The pope’s cup-bearer was arrested the next morning, but was released by the pope’s cousin, Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici before any inquiry could be made. The reason the cardinal gave for releasing the cup-bearer was, “lest some great prince should be found mixed up in the matter, and he should thus acquire an implacable enemy.”

The pope’s cousin was the lead candidate for the papacy. The respected 19th century historian, Thomas Dyer, believed the cardinal shut down the inquiry mostly because he didn’t want to lose votes for the papacy. (Sorta hard to campaign for votes from somebody who killed your cousin.)

There was a full agenda left by Leo.

The Turks were threatening Hungary; The young kings of France, England and Spain were ready and anxious for war; Lutheranism was a continually growing irritation.

Most urgently, the church was completely broke. Leo’s “table” alone cost about 100,000 ducats per year (around $15 M in 2018 dollars). Upon his death, Leo had debts of about 850,000 ducats (~$127 M), with no money in the papal treasury to pay.

Leo’s friends, who had loaned him all this money, took whatever wasn’t nailed down at the Vatican to try to recoup their losses. They were so broke, the Vatican couldn’t afford new candles for Leo’s funeral. They had to reuse the candles from the recent funeral of Cardinal Riario.

After the death of Leo, the Roman church engaged in one of the most open and politically motivated papal conclaves in all of history. There were three strong factions, trying to manipulate the voting for their own benefit. So the conclave was stuck in a deadlock.

  • Thomas Wolsey, supported by Emperor Charles and King Henry VIII didn’t have enough votes.
  • Tomasso Soderini, supported by Francis I, king of France, also didn’t have enough votes.
  • Giulio de’ Medici, who was the most qualified, was opposed by Francis, who threatened to leave the Catholic church if another Medici was elected.

Suddenly, out of the blue, Cardinal Medici suggested Adrian of Utrecht.

Adrian of Utrect, Pope Adrian VI

Who was Adrian? He was the tutor to the emperor from the time the emperor was 7 years old. As the emperor grew in power, he gave Adrian more important positions of authority. In 1515, Charles wanted to be the ruler of Spain, instead of his younger brother, Ferdinand. Adrian was sent to Spain to negotiate with Charles’ father. Adrian succeeded and Charles was made the ruler of Spain when his father died. Charles then appointed Adrian Bishop of Tortosa. The appointment was approved by Pope Leo X in Aug of 1518.

When Charles left Spain to become the emperor, he left Adrian in charge.

Almost immediately after Adrian was suggested, he was elected to be the next pope on January 9, 1522.

Beer break

Schlenkerla has a quite extensive description of each of their beers and the processes used to brew them on their website—in English, no less. Just visit

Schlenkerla claims to smoke their own malt, so maybe Weyermann supplies Spezial, which is the other Bamberg brewery that makes Rauchbier.

There are also a couple of breweries in neighboring villages that make Rauchbier. Schlenkerla, which is the most smoky of the three, to be the most widely distributed.

Don’t be offended if you don’t like it.

Back to Adrian

When Adrian arrived outside the walls of Rome, on Aug 29, the cardinals greeted him with a speech about the kinds of reforms they hoped he would implement. Adrian answered that they must first stop sheltering evil-doers in their palaces, and allow the police free access to make arrests. The cardinals were stunned.

One of them didn’t get the memo, and came forward with a request for a pardon for someone convicted of murder. Adrian said, “We cannot pardon without hearing both sides.” The cardinals were devastated.

On August 31, almost nine months after his election, Adrian walked into Rome. He traveled by foot as a sign of his humility. When he arrived at the Roman gate, he took off his shoes and hose as a sign of respect for the city

This made a great impression on the general populace who immediately respected Adrian.

Things didn’t go as well with the higher classes.

He didn’t speak Italian. He had no understanding of Italian manners. Most significantly, he had no appreciation of art. When he saw some of the Roman art from the time of Christ, he turned in horror and cried out, “These are pagan idols!”

This was one of the few times Adrian was passionate about anything. Adrian was almost always relaxed, peaceful, quiet and easy going. The upper classes of Rome even hated this. Before Adrian, Leo was like a never-ending party. Before Leo, Julius was providing all sorts of excitement by continually starting wars with his enemies. They hated that Adrian was boring.

Adrian had arrived in Rome.

We’ll be covering the pontificate of Adrian in our next episode.

Thank You

  • Thanks to our listeners and thanks to Josh our sound engineer.

Recognition of source materials

  • Thomas Henry Dyer – Modern Europe Volume 1 (1453 -1530)
  • Mandell Creighton – A History of the Papacy from the Great Schism to the Sack of Rome
  • Vatican website
  • Wikipedia
  • Contact us
    • Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip.
  • We would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out.




Episode 36 – Defending the Harsh Book

After the princes had brutally put down the peasants revolt of 1525, Luther was subjected to increasing pressure to explain his position of support for the princes.

In his book, “Against the murderous hordes”, Luther made some memorable comments that encouraged the killing of the peasantry. How could Luther possibly defend himself?

Several months after the end of the revolt, Luther answered his critics. Although his answer won’t satisfy everyone, it is an important and necessary clarification to his previous writing.


The Peasants War of 1525 was unbelievably brutal. To put down the rebellion, the princes killed an unbelievable number of people. The total number of dead was about 1 out of every 80 people. This included many who had nothing to do with the rebellion, including women and children. Of course, the princes didn’t do the killing directly. They hired mercenaries who were professional soldiers.

While the mercenaries were engaged in their bloodlust, there were reports that they would quote Luther from his book, “Against the Robbing and Murderous Hordes of Peasants”:

“A prince can win heaven with bloodshed better than other men with prayer.”

“It is plain that these peasants have deserved death many times over.”

“anyone who is killed fighting on the side of the rulers may be a true martyr”

These quotes were almost always taken out of context. Luther was terrified that the peasants would win, ushering in an era where only “might makes right”. As he pointed out in his writings, the leaders of the peasants, especially Thomas Müntzer, were twisting scripture to support a radical reordering of society. If the peasants were successful, he was concerned that scripture would continue to be used to justify one revolution after another. Still, Luther’s typically harsh language, which had served him so well against the pope, backfired in his writings on the peasants war.

In this episode we discuss Luther’s response to his critics and attempt to place the Peasants’ War into the context of the 15th century. Many of our listeners will be happy to hear that this is our last episode discussing the Peasants’ War.

Beer break

BOSS TWEED from Old Nation Brewing Co. Double New England IPA

We have been introducing different breweries for every show, but once in a while a brewery is good enough to visit a few times. (Also this beer was donated by Kirk Siefker, one of our listeners.)

We already talked about Old Nation when we had their M43 beer. (Great beer!) Now we’re going to try this seasonal beer which was released back in the spring. Guessing it’s a summer beer that got pushed out of production by the demand for the M43. Glad to have one here at the end of the summer.

Did a little bit of research on beer. It’s Boss Tweed is part of a family of variations on the M43 style. In addition to M43 and Boss Tweed, they’ve also made one called Boxer and one called Green Stone. (We’ll have to move on from Old Nation, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for those other two for my non-podcast drinking.)

Several folks on line think Boss Tweed is better than M43.

Thanks to Kirk for the beer!


Episode 35 – You Say You Want a Revolution

Thomas Müntzer’s traveled a circuitous route to becoming arguably the most radical of all the reformers of the 16thcentury. Starting out in Wittenberg as a student, he was thrown out of town after town, as the leadership learned who he was and what he was teaching.

Still, it would be a mistake to characterize Müntzer as unsuccessful. Wherever he went, he would find himself in high demand, with crowds gathering from miles around to hear him preach.

Everything came to a head between the fall of 1524 and the spring of 1525, as Müntzer’s teachings took hold, and the peasantry came to believe they were on the verge of new Christian order. In this new order, the peasants would be the leadership and the princes would be destroyed by God Himself.

Beer Break – Bloody Orange Honey

A unique twist on a great American style wheat beer, with the addition of fresh local wildflower honey mixed with blood orange zest, and blood orange puree. The result is a medium bodied beer that is very smooth with a residual sweetness and creaminess from the honey, and an exhilerating nose of citrus from the orange. 5.7% ABV 9.8 IBU

Cheboygan Brewing Co.

This episode is the conclusion of our look at the Peasants Revolt. We discuss how Thomas Müntzer came to an end and his revolution did not bring about the utopian eschatological end he expected.

Thank you to Josh Yagley, sound engineer, and all of our helpful resources that have helped make this episode possible.


Episode 34 – Thieving and Murderous Hordes

Martin Luther had very little understanding of the realities of the revolution when he waded into commenting on the Twelve Articles of the Swabian Peasants. He knew the princes were abusing the peasants, but he had only heard vague rumors of the atrocities of the peasantry.

That all changed when he took a trip to Thuringia to open a new Christian school. He was confronted by hecklers who openly mocked his calls for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. There’s also evidence that he heard more of first hand accounts of the peasants attacks on the princes.

When Luther returned to Wittenberg, he wrote a sharp rebuke of the peasantry with language so harsh that his friends pleaded with him to soften it. But Luther would not be swayed, releasing “Against the Robbing and Murderous Hordes of Peasants” in May of 1525, a book that Luther advocates have repeatedly had to explain and defend for the past 500 years.

Beer break

M-43 N.E. IPA


New England IPA

The First release in Old Nation’s “New Orthodox” IPA series, M-43 is designed to accentuate the deep and complex character from the combination of Calypso, Simcoe, Citra and Amarillo hops. Citrus and Tropical notes of Pineapple, Mango and Grapefruit come through in the huge, yet surprisingly delicate aroma. The flavor backs these aromas with a soft, pillowy mouthfeel. Hop bitterness is not particularly intense, which leads to a very drinkable, New England IPA even non-IPA fans love. The Haze is not from yeast, but rather from an interplay of lipids from the malted oat and oils and acids which naturally occur in the hand selected Dry hops. This beer is a perfect interplay between top grade malt and hops, MI water and brewing technique which cannot be faked.

Title page of Martin Luther’s addendum to Admonition to Peace, titled Against the Murderous and Plundering Peasant Hordes. This is a reprint of just the addendum by Johann Weyßenburger (Landshut, 1525), available from the Bayerische StaatsBibliothek (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Luther built his entire position on the first few verses of Romans 13.
Let’s take a sidebar into Romans 13 to see what Paul has to say.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

Luther starts out pretty strong:
“In my earlier book on this matter, I did not venture to judge the peasants, since they had offered to be corrected and to be instructed; and Christ in Matthew 7 [:1] commands us not to judge. But before I could even inspect the situation, they forgot their promise and violently took matters into their own hands and are robbing and raging like mad dogs. All this now makes it clear that they were trying to deceive us and that the assertions they made in their Twelve Articles were nothing but lies presented under the name of the gospel.”

He then references Muntzer:
“This is particularly the work of that archdevil who rules at Mühlhausen, and does nothing except stir up robbery, murder, and bloodshed.”

Luther then outlines “3 terrible sins”.
The first sin is a lack of obedience to ruling authorities.

The second sin is abusing the property of the others.

The third sin is that the peasants have called themselves a “Christian Association”. Luther is especially upset that they are calling themselves Christian, even as they rebel.

Luther goes back to his original position to finish everything up. “If anyone thinks this too harsh, let him remember that rebellion is intolerable and that the destruction of the world is to be expected every hour.”

Well, there are plenty of people who think Luther was too harsh. Even modern “law and order” folks would have problems with Luther’s call against due process in the face of revolution, especially coupled with the use of the sword to kill. Our mind immediately goes to people like Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot, where the civil authorities need to be constrained. Of course, Luther had never seen industrialized killing, like we have.

Thanks to Josh our sound engineer
James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther, The Man and His Vision
Christina Vunguyen – The Black Death: How it affected Feudalism
Eric W. Gritsch – Thomas Müntzer: A tragedy of errors
Luther’s Works 46
contact us:
Let us know if you’d like to host a road trip.
catch us on Facebook at graceontap podcast

We would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out.


Episode 33 – The Rebellious Spirit of Thomas Müntzer

A Rebellious Spirit

When Thomas Müntzer was installed as the Evangelical preacher at the Lutheran church in the small town of Allstedt, nobody could have predicted how things would progress over the next two years. By the time everything was settled, thousands would be dead and wounded in one of the most violent uprisings in Europe.

Müntzer wasn’t alone. Many people were ready for revolution. There were revolutionaries in the Black Forest, Bavaria, Thuringia, and Swabia. There were even nobles who supported the revolutionary cause.

Even though he wasn’t alone in his appeal for revolution, Müntzer was unique in his mixing of theology with the revolutionary call, a powerfully toxic amalgamation of teachings that he perfected while he preached in Allstedt. His preaching left the commoners believing they were doing God’s work, even as they pillaged and murdered those who stood against them.


In 1522, people were tired of the excesses of the rich and powerful. Revolution was in the air.

There was the revolution in Spain. The Revolt of the Comuneros, which was a revolt in Castile against Charles V.

There were characters like Franz von Sickingen, who proclaimed himself to be a sort of military-style Robin Hood, attacking the powerful on behalf of the weak.

There’s a lot going on at the same time here, so we’re going to use this episode to catch up with another revolutionary, Thomas Müntzer. In episode 30, we left off with Thomas Müntzer and the Zwickau Prophets being run out of Wittenberg by Martin Luther. We also covered Müntzer’s Prague Manifesto, where he outlines his apocalyptic vision.

This episode picks up when Müntzer shows up again in April of 1523 in Allstedt, a small village of about 600 people about 120 km (75 mi) southeast of Wittenberg.

Beer break

Frankenmuth Brewery – BATCH 69 AMERICAN IPA

Batch 69 IPA is a delicious American IPA brewed with four pungent hop varietals that will wake up your senses to fine American hops! This IPA exudes a floral aroma and is also dry-hopped for a subtle bite, finishing off with pleasant notes of citrus and pine. Michigan’s 2015 World Expo of Beer Competition Gold Medal winner, for Best IPA!

People Wanted Change

The medieval world hadn’t heard the last of Thomas Müntzer. In many ways, his teachings were in line with the spirit of the times. The peasantry was excited about the changes that were being brought about by Luther and the Reformation, but they were unwilling to wait for the work of the Spirit. They wanted change now and were ready to take matters into their own hands.

Thomas Müntzer, with his unique apocalyptic vision, gave the peasants the kind of leader they were looking for.

We’ll be getting back to Müntzer and his leadership of the peasants as things ramped up to full out revolution in episode 35, but first, we’re going to use the next episode to take a look at Luther’s response as the revolution became violent.


Thanks and Recognitions

Thanks to Josh Yagley, our sound engineer

James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer

Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther, The Man and His Vision

Matthias Riedl – Thomas Müntzer’s Prague Manifesto – A case study in the secularization of the apocalypse.

Eric W. Gritsch – Thomas Müntzer: A tragedy of errors


Contact us

Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip.

or catch us on Facebook at graceontap podcast

We would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out.


Episode 32 – Admonition to Peace

The arrival of the plague in the mid 1300’s radically changed medieval Germany. The peasants, who were the foundation of the social system, were decimated between the arrival of the plague and the start of the reformation over 170 years later. Ironically, the plague opened up incredible opportunity for many of the surviving peasantry with salable skills.

But as large groups of peasants moved to the cities to become bankers, traders and other merchants, the peasantry that remained in the old feudal system became more and more burdened as the lower nobility sought to create laws and systems that would keep the peasants tied to the land and unable to advance in society.

These peasants who were being horribly mistreated began to make demands for justice. The most famous demands were the Twelve Articles of the Swabian Peasants, written in 1525.

Since the Twelve Articles were promoted as a Christian document, it caught the attention of Martin Luther. He was not impressed.

We’ve spent a couple episodes talking about Franz von Sickingen and Thomas Müntzer, the respective leaders of the Knights’ and the Peasants’ Revolts.

In our last episode, we spent most of the time talking about the Knights’ Revolt, but then we took a little time to go through the Twelve Articles of the Swabian Peasants, since this document did a lot to explain the societal issues that were behind these revolutions.

In this episode, we’ll be talking about Luther’s response to Twelve Articles, in a document titled Admonition to Peace. The full name is “Admonition to Peace, A Reply to the Twelve Articles of the Peasants in Swabia”.

Today, we’ll just cover Luther’s first thoughts on the subject of revolution, the Admonition to Peace.

Title page of Martin Luther’s addendum to Admonition to Peace, titled Against the Murderous and Plundering Peasant Hordes. This is a reprint of just the addendum by Johann Weyßenburger (Landshut, 1525), available from the Bayerische StaatsBibliothek (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Beer break

The Weihenstephan Brewery can trace its roots at the abbey to 768, as a document from that year refers to a hop garden in the area paying a tithe to the monastery. A brewery was licensed by the City of Freising in 1040, and that is the founding date claimed by the modern brewery. The brewery thus has a credible claim to being the oldest working brewery in the world.[1] (Weltenburg Abbey, also in Bavaria, has had a brewery in operation since 1050, and also claims to be the oldest brewery in the world.) When the monastery and brewery were secularised in 1803, they became possessions of the State of Bavaria.

Late history: Since 1923, the brewery has been known as the Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan (in German Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan), and is operated in conjunction with the Technical University of Munich as both a state-of-the-art production facility and a centre for learning.

The brewery produces a range of pale lagers and wheat beers including Weihenstephaner Weissbier, a 5.4% ABV weissbier which is available in filtered (Kristall) and unfiltered (Hefe) versions. The strongest beers the brewery produces are Infinium (10.5% ABV), Vitus (a 7.7% ABV wheat beer) and Korbinian (a 7.4% ABV strong lager or bock).

Hefe Weissbier (Wheat beer) A golden-yellow wheat beer, with its fine-poured white foam, smells of cloves and impresses consumers with its refreshing banana flavor. It is full bodied and with a smooth yeast taste. To be enjoyed at any time, goes excellently with fish and seafood, with spicy cheese and especially with the traditional Bavarian veal sausage. Brewed according to their centuries-old brewing tradition on the Weihenstephan hill.

Sign off

Thanks Josh Yagley for the help with the audio on every episode.

Recognition of source materials

  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • Christina Vunguyen – The Black Death: How it affected Feudalism
  • Luther’s Works vol 46
  • Wikipedia

Contact us

Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip.

Would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out.


Episode 31 – Knights’ Revolt

In October 1347, twelve trading ships docked in the Sicilian port of Messina. When the ships were boarded, the locals were horrified to find most of the crewmates either dead or dying of a strange illness that covered their bodies with the black boils. Even though the authorities ordered the ships sent back out to sea, it was too late. The Black Plague had arrived in Europe.

The plague would not stop ravaging Europe until 1720, almost 400 years after it first arrived. During this time, the plague totally reordered society by killing off huge numbers of peasants who were the foundation of the medieval system of governance called feudalism.

The decimation of the peasant population resulted in increased bargaining power for the remaining peasants, allowing them to make some choices about how they wanted to live. The empowering of the peasants left the knights, who populated the lowest level of the ruling system, without peasants to tax and protect, throwing their entire existence into question.  In 1522, the knights decided to do what they did best – to fight in the knights’ revolt, a critical step in the reordering of Europe during the time of the reformation.

Franz von Sickingen was a knight who saw himself as a sort of Robin Hood, defending the poor against injustices.

In 1513, he took the side of a citizen of Worms who was driven out of town. He attacked Worms with 7000 men and won. In 1518, he fought for the citizens of Metz against the local government. He won that battle too. He was given 20,000 gold gulden and a month’s pay for his troops, but it’s unclear how this helped the citizens. He also offered his castles as refuges for any reformer who was under attack.

He made friends with Ulrich von Hutten, a humanist who was interested in enforcing reform through military means. Together, von Sickingen and von Hutten worked to promote Luther’s teachings, even offering Luther protection against the Emperor. Luther turned them down.

In 1522, Sickingen and Hutton decided to overthrow the Archbishop of Trier, who was a supporter of the pope. Part of his strategy was to get the people of Trier to revolt.

When Sickingen attacked, the people never revolted, so he was left with insufficient forces. He ran out of gunpowder after 7 days, and retreated to his castle in Landstuhl. Hutton escaped to Switzerland. This episode is about how their work upset the social system and laid the groundwork for the peasants revolt led by Thomas Müntzer.

The ringleader of the knights: Franz von Sickingen

Beer break

CAKEWALK by Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City Michigan.

This is our second Traverse City Brewery in a row!!!

Style: Vanilla Cream Ale

ABV: 4.5%

Package: Draft, 12oz Bottle 6-Packs.

Description: An extremely light and approachable cream ale brewed with real Madagascar Vanilla Beans. The addition of corn yields a light creamy mouth feel. This finishes smooth, not sweet.


  • Thanks to Josh
  • Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI
  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther, The Man and His Vision
  • Christina Vunguyen – The Black Death: How it affected Feudalism
  • Roger J. P. Kain, and Hugh C. Prince – The Tithe Surveys of England and Wales


Episode 30 – The Prague Manifesto of Thomas Müntzer

When Thomas Müntzer arrived in Wittenberg in early 1522, Philip Melanchthon, Andreas Karlstadt and the other reformers had no idea of the radical ideas that had come to fruition within his heart.

These ideas, which would ultimately threaten to tear Germany apart, were still hidden from the other scholars in the Wittenberg circle. But they weren’t hidden from everybody. A few months before his return to Wittenberg, Müntzer had outlined his radical theology for the believers in Prague, in a document that would be called Müntzer’s Prague Manifesto.

Müntzer hoped the manifesto would help the believers in Prague to unite against the emperor to form a new society. Instead, it only served to highlight the radical nature of Müntzer’s thinking.

Although Luther was able to calm everything down with the Invocavit Sermons in Wittenberg, there was continuing unrest throughout the rest of Germany, eventually resulting in the Peasants War.

Thomas Muntzer, c.1600 (hand coloured woodcut) by German School; Private Collection; (c.1488-1525 was a Reformation-era German theologian and Anabaptist)

Before we dive into the Peasants War, we’ll introduce Thomas Müntzer, a former Wittenberger who eventually became the leader of the peasants in the war. He was also one of Luther’s earliest supporters.

When one of Müntzer’s parishioners, Nicholas Storch, showed unusual Biblical insight, Müntzer advocated making Storch a preacher without any formal training.

The city council of Zwickau became fearful of this irregularity, they summoned Storch to be questioned. Storch fled Zwickau with two friends, Thomas Drechsel and Marcus Strübner. Strübner was a former student in Wittenberg.

Storch, Drechsel and Strübner eventually ended up in Wittenberg, staying with Andreas Karlstadt. These were the Zwickau Prophets we mentioned back in episode 27.

Karlstadt, Amsdorf and Melanchthon were impressed by the Zwickau prophets claims of special revelation. But both Amsdorf and Melanchthon disagreed with the Zwickau prophets on the rejection of infant baptism. By the time Luther had returned, Thomas Müntzer had also arrived in Wittenberg. But by March 1522, Müntzer’s teachings had changed dramatically compared with when Luther knew him as a student.

Beer break

North Peak Brewing Company – Diabolical IPA

North Peak Brewing Company is located in a historic building which was formerly the Big Daylight Candy Factory.

In March of 1899, a partnership was formed by John G. Straub, his brother, Anton F. Straub and George E. Amiotte in the creation of candies and confectionary in Traverse City.

Under the style of Straub Brothers and Amiotte, the firm soon established success with a large local following and an extensive wholesale trade. So rapidly did the business increase, that it became necessary to provide a building of sufficient capacity to meet the growing demands of the trade.

The building housing North Peak Brewing Company was Straub’s third and final building. Straub Brothers and Amiotte “Big Daylight Candy Factory” is a handsome imposing brick edifice of three floors and a basement. It was constructed with 400,000 bricks and 250,000 feet of lumber, erected and supplied with the latest and most approved machinery devices for the manufacturing of all kinds of candies. It compared favorably on a scale with the largest and most successful establishments of its kind.

Diabolical IPA

An aggressively hopped IPA, with a nice caramel sweetness. This brew features multiple hop additions (including local Cascade, Chinook & Willamette) which provide an abundance of flavor & aroma. Citrus, pine, mint, and floral notes can’t be missed while enjoying this North Peak flagship beer

Northern United Brewing Company beers, spirits and wines are made in Michigan. Using ingredients grown in Michigan.


Josh Yagley

Source materials

James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer

Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther, The Man and His Vision

Matthias Riedl – Thomas Muntzer’s Prague Manifesto – A case study in the secularization of the apocalypse.


Contact us

Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip or catch us on Facebook.

Would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out.



Episode 29 – The Edict of Worms and the Seeds of the Gospel

The Emperor released the Edict of Worms on May 26, 1521, officially declaring Luther and his teachings outlawed, only 3 weeks after Luther disappeared while traveling through the Thuringia forest. With the release of the edict, the reformation entered into a new and dangerous period.

It was most dangerous for those who proclaimed the gospel in areas like modern day Belgium, where the leadership was most loyal to both the pope and the emperor. In areas like this, the leaders were willing to attack the Luther’s teachings vigorously and ruthlessly, using the full force of the law.

When the monks at the Augustinian monastery in Antwerp, Belgium openly proclaimed Luther’s teachings, they found themselves opposed by the most powerful forces in the empire. Most of them recanted, but three, Henry Voes, John Esch and Lampertus Thorn, refused.

Their refusal resulted in their martyrdom.

Heinrich Voss & Johannes Esch

Beer Break

Jet – Bitter Old Fecker Brewery

Bitter Old Fecker Rustic Ales, based in Chelsea, Michigan, is a small batch brewery started by Nathan Hukill, an entrepreneur with an ideal lineage for brewing craft beer. His great grandparents were bootleggers in Detroit, running booze from Canada, who also ran a blind pig speakeasy out of their basement. Detroit police (including the Chief) were their main clientele. His great grandmother also made beer in her kitchen for the guys at the brickyard where she worked.

Nathan’s grandfather Cecil Fecker — rail worker, 17-year Ford employee turned weird angry recluse — left Detroit for Hillsdale, MI to start farming. Cecil started brewing in the early 80’s, naming beers after the things that inspired the recipes and included ingredients he grew or foraged.

After some frustration with trying to break into brewing, Nathan started Bitter Old Fecker, working under Cecil as an apprentice. During the start up process, Nathan took a job as an assistant brewer at Grizzly Peak, leaving after 18 months to focus efforts on Bitter Old Fecker exclusively.

Nathan and Cecil produce high gravity, bold beers brewed in a “rustic” style. No automatic equipment. Kettles, mash tuns, etc., stirred by hand in a brewery that can literally produce beer without the use of electricity. All beers are barrel-aged and include non traditional, foraged and locally sourced ingredients. All malt and hops are 100% US grown. His first brew, introduced in the Summer of 2013, is called Strutter, named after a nasty old rooster on Cecil’s farm. Darlin’, Kaplan, and Jet are brews that are soon to follow.

Jet is named after Cecil’s dog. For many farm dogs out here, life can mean a slow stretch of days, lazing in the shade on the family porch. But that’s not Jet’s life. Jet was rescued by old Cecil K. Fecker after a snarling dog fight on the farm down the road. Their love for each other was sealed in dirt and blood. Ever since, he hasn’t left his master’s side, and is a constant sentry on the farm. Jet’s quick to fight and sink his fangs into any intruder’s backside. This isn’t a friendship, but rather a kinship, born on the same black night, with the moon glowing like the devil’s eyes.




  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • CFW Walther – Missouri Synod in Formation (1844 – 47): Essays of the Founding Fathers (editor: Joel Baseley)
  • THM Akerboom – Emanuel University in Romania

Let us know if you’d like to host a road trip.

Catch us on


Episode 28 – Return of the Reformer

Although Wittenberg was ground zero for the reform movement in the 16th century, it was still home to many priests, monks and laity who were not comfortable with the changes proposed by the reformers. When Luther was in Wittenberg, these disagreements remained within the confines of discussion and debate.

After Luther was in hiding for 6 months, things began to change. Changes in Wittenberg began to be forced upon on the priests and laity, sometimes through edict, but often through threats and even violence.

When Luther returned in the spring of 1522, he was not pleased. He sought to return things to good order, and he had to do it quickly. Just a couple of days after his arrival, Luther began a sermon series that addressed the issues that had arisen. The name of the eight sermon series is the Invocavit sermons. Given over eight days during the first week of Lent, 1522. The Invocavit sermons shaped the implementation of the reform changes in Wittenberg, and still speak to us today.

This episode looks at how the eight sermons preached by Martin Luther when he returned to Wittenberg shaped his understanding of how the gospel motivates and defines the momentum of change in church practices.

Martin Luther’s Sermon, detail from a triptych, 1547 (oil on panel) by Cranach, Lucas, the Elder (1472-1553); Church of St.Marien, Wittenberg, Germany;

Beer Break

Train Wreck – Imperial Amber Ale brewed with Michigan honey and maple syrup; 8.2% ABV. Steam Engine Stout – American stout with chocolate notes up front and a nice dry, roast finish; 6.2% ABV.

After successfully launching the Mountain Town Station Brewing Co. & Steakhouse in Mount Pleasant, MIch., the company’s beer grew in popularity. So owners Jim and Karen Holten formed a new company, Mountain Town Brewing Company, in 2007.

“I began brewing beer when I was a student at Central Michigan University,” said Holton. “I knew brewing beer was going to be a passion of mine and something consumers were going to love.”

As Holton’s craft beer grew in popularity, he and his wife Karen decided to open Mountain Town Brewing Company in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., in 2007. The two are no strangers to entrepreneurship—the brewery is their third business in the Mt. Pleasant area.

The new brewery and taproom allowed them to begin distributing beer across the state while providing locals with a place to enjoy a good beer. Today Michigan consumers can enjoy the Holton’s labor or love through their distinctive ales and lagers that include Gamblers Golden Ale, Railyard Raspberry Wheat and Cow Catcher Red Ale.

Recognitions and Sources


Episode 27 – Marriage and Monks, Communion and Chaos in Wittenberg

The ten-month (1521-1522) stay in the Wartburg castle was one of the most productive periods of Martin Luther’s life, but not all the action was in the castle outside of Eisenach. The team of theologians that Luther left back in Wittenberg were also busy during this period, but with decidedly mixed results.

Although the changes being implemented in Wittenberg were generally in line with Luther’s teachings, they were not carried out in a way that was consistent with Luther’s Evangelical theology. The individual freedom that Luther had defined in his seminal work, “The Freedom of the Christian” was pushed aside to force monks, priests and parishioners to embrace the new thinking.

Luther was not pleased, but there wasn’t much he could do except write to his colleagues to encourage them to be more gracious to those who were uncomfortable with the changes. When this didn’t work, Luther found himself in the uncomfortable position of engaging in an open disagreement with his own supporters, a precursor to the disagreements that we see amongst protestants even today.

Andreas Karlstadt

Andreas von Karlstadt

While Luther was busy at the Wartburg castle, his friends were busy making changes in Wittenberg.

The primary driver for the changes in Wittenberg was Andreas Karlstadt, the dean of the University of Wittenberg.

You may remember Karlstadt from episode 12 on the 1519 debate in Leipzig. This was where Karlstadt engaged John Eck in a debate on Luther’s teachings. He ultimately fumbled the debate so badly (possibly because his notes were ruined when his wagon lost a wheel shortly after his arrival) that Luther had to step in to debate with Eck.

The first of the changes began when three priests near Wittenberg got married in the early summer of 1521.

Luther’s thinking on vows

Luther responded by writing “Themata de Votis” (Themes Concerning Vows) in September of 1521.

These were 280 theses on vows that he was ready to debate.

Beer break

Arbor Brewing Co. – Sacred Cow IPA

DESCRIPTION Coppery-gold hue with a full floral cascade hop aroma. Rich bready malts lay a perfect foundation for the profusion of tangy, citrusy hops that infuse this beer with a distinct ruby-red grapefruit quality that starts on the palate and lingers through a long satisfying finish.

Communion in both kinds

Communion was the second major issue that Luther had to address.

Even though the real theological change in the evangelical theology was in the discussion on monasticism, it was the discussion on communion that seemed like it caused the most problems.

Luther had been talking about sharing both the bread and the wine for communion for over 2 years at this point. Still, nobody had actually shared the wine with the laity yet, so this was all talk to the common people.

In the last episode, we briefly discussed Luther’s “Sin boldly” quote during a discussion on sharing communion in both the bread and the wine with the laity. Sharing the bread and the wine would be sinning since it was disruptive to other Christians. Not sharing the bread and wine would be sinning since it would be continuing to act against Christ’s command. Luther said, go ahead, sin boldly and share the bread and the wine. Even though he wasn’t a priest, Melanchthon understood and celebrated the sacrament of communion with several students on September 29, 1521. On October 6, Gabriel Zwilling, an Augustinian brother who had a reputation for giving strong sermons, started to discourage people from attending mass if the priests refused to share the bread and the wine.

Luther’s visit

Luther decided to see how things were going for himself.

Arrived in Wittenberg on December 4, staying for 3 days in disguise as Junker Jorg.

Luther returned the Wartburg and sent out a manuscript “A sincere admonition to all Christians to guard against insurrection and rebellion” on December 14 to try to calm everything down. Regardless of the letter from Luther, things continued to escalate in Wittenberg. In mid-December, Frederick rejected a call to reform the mass by sharing the wine, stopping private masses, etc.

It was too much change at once. It also threatened the priests who still adhered to the Roman Catholic beliefs.

Andreas Karlstadt ignored Frederick’s ruling and celebrated an Evangelical worship service on Christmas, 1521. Celebrated the Lord’s Supper in German and distributed both the bread and the wine to the congregants.

Zwickau Prophets

More dangerous than the Zwickau prophets was the priest that came with them, Thomas Muntzer.

Muntzer and Karlstadt banded together to start pushing more radical reforms. Luther disagreed with the reforms. Over the next couple of months, the disagreement between Karlstadt and Luther became an open conflict.

Luther’s decision to return

Luther decided to return to Wittenberg. Frederick wanted him to stay at the Wartburg, since the political environment was not yet settled. Luther wrote back with three reasons

  • Called by the whole congregation at Wittenberg in a letter filled with urgent begging and pleading. (There is no copy of this letter, so nobody knows what was in it.)
  • Satan had intruded into his fold in Wittenberg, so he had a pastoral responsibility.
  • He feared that there was a rebellion starting. (Probably exaggerating the danger to impress the emperor.)

Luther arrived in Wittenberg on March 6, 1522.

Gave eight sermons in eight days, starting on the first Sunday in Lent, March 9.

The sermons are called the Invocavit or the Wittenberg sermons.

Recognition of source materials

  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther – Visionary Reformer
  • Bernhard Lohse – Martin Luther’s Theology: Its Historical and Systematic Development
  • Luther’s Works 44 and 45
  • Wikipedia


Episode 26 – In the Wartburg

Even though Martin Luther complained about suffering from laziness and sloth, Luther’s time in the Wartburg was one of the most productive 10 months of his life, resulting in 12 books, several sermons and devotionals. The most impressive of his accomplishments during this time wasn’t started until December 1521, when Luther kicked off a translation of the New Testament. Records indicate that he arrived in Wittenberg in March of 1522 with a completed first draft, a mere 11 weeks after he started.

Luther’s translation of the Bible has reverberated throughout history, commonizing the many dialects of medieval Germany, while also capturing the majesty of God’s Word. His translation work resulting in a frustrated compliment from Luther’s Roman Catholic adversaries “that even tailors and shoemakers, yea, even women and ignorant persons who had accepted this new Lutheran gospel.”


After the Diet of Worms, Luther was kidnapped by friends and hidden in the Wartburg Castle, just outside the city of Eisenach. (Coincidentally, this was where Luther spent his teenage years). Although he left the castle a few times, he pretty much stayed in his room for the next 10 months.

From his personal letters, you would think this was a period of being incredibly unproductive. In July, after about 4 months in the Wartburg, Luther wrote to Melanchthon, “I should be ardent in the spirit but I am ardent in the flesh, in lust, laziness, leisure and sleepiness.”

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth – this was one of Luther’s most productive periods.

Jacob Latomus wrote an attack on Luther’s theology using biblical references. He was a professor at the University of Louvain in Belgium who was an intellectual opponent of the humanists, especially attacking Erasmus.

Luther felt he had to respond immediately, but he didn’t have a library in the Wartburg, so he had to rely on his memory of the writings of the fathers of the church.

Even without a library, Luther presented a forceful refutation in his small book, “Against Latomus”.

It really is a good summary on the central ideas of Lutheran theology.

There were also theological attacks on Luther.


Luther also dedicated a huge part of his time in the Wartburg to the question of monastic life. He had previously discussed that it wasn’t right for children to take monastic vows. Now the question was, should all the monks revoke their vows. Eventually, Luther came to the conclusion that, “Marriage is good, virginity is better, but liberty is best.” Basically stating that the monastic vow rests on the false assumption that there is a special calling for superior Christians. Luther stated that there were no “superior Christians”. Each person is called to their own tasks. The monastic vow is taken in a fit of piety which restricts our liberty to discover the tasks that God has given us.

Sin Boldly

This was also the time when Luther wrote, “sin boldly” in a private letter to Melanchthon. Even though this was a private letter, it has become one of Luther’s most famous writings since some Lutherans have taken this as a call to ignore God’s law. Significant enough that the 20th century theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, addressed its misuse in his famous chapter on “cheap grace” in his book “The Cost of Discipleship”.

“If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death and the world. As long as we are in this world we have to sin. This life is not a dwelling place of righteousness but, as Peter says, we look for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day.”

After reading that, some people only hear, “Sin boldly and commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day!” Becomes much more clear if we look at the context of the letter. Written to Melenchthon, who was Luther’s “right hand man”, about how to rework the Roman Catholic mass. Specifically, Luther was addressing a declaration from Karlstadt that said that it was a sin to withhold the wine from the laity. This declaration created a lot of controversy in Wittenberg. Some people agreed with Karlstadt, but some people disagreed.

Luther was telling Melanchthon, “Listen, if you change the mass, you will be sinning because you will be creating discord within the church. If you don’t change the mass, you will be sinning, because the Bible is clear that the bread and the wine should be shared with the laity. So you should go ahead and sin boldly by making the changes to align the mass with Biblical teachings. It’s the right thing to do.” Melanchthon understood and performed the first Evangelical sharing of the bread and the wine with a few students.

Beer break

Edward’s Portly Brown, American Brown Ale – IBU: 31 – ABV: 5.4 %

A malty, chocolatey and robust brown ale named after the beloved Springer Spaniel of Witch’s Hat Brewing Company.

Tasting Notes: Chocolate, sweet malt, toasted bread, light brown sugar

Food Pairings:  Sharp cheddars, dark chocolate desserts, prime rib

The name of the brewery itself comes from a South Lyon landmark: a one-hundred-year-old train depot called the Witch’s Hat after its conical design. It stands in nearby McHattie Park, where Ryan and Erin exchanged wedding vows in 2007.

“That area is kind of the downtown of South Lyon, and it obviously has a spot in our hearts,” says Ryan. “We figured what better way to showcase the town than with this name?”

Witch’s Hat has created 25 jobs and put South Lyon on the map for craft beer lovers. After 3 years, the company outgrew its original location, moving to a larger 10,000-square-foot-building that alllowed for increased seating and production.

Witch’s Hat is also committed to being a part of the community with more than $60,000 donated to local charities, including The Humane Society of Huron Valley (currently sponsors 4 cages with proceeds from Edward’s Portly Brown Ale), Gleaners Food Bank, American Cancer Society, Wigs for Kids, Blessings in a Backpack and more.

Translating the Bible

Luther is best known for his translation of the Bible while he was in the Wartburg.


What kicked off the project?

Martin Luther’s study at the Wartburg Castle

Translating the Bible was something Luther had been doing for a long time before 1522. In March of 1517, six months before the posting of the 95 theses, Luther published a translation of the seven penitential psalms. Between 1517 and 1522, he also published translations of sections of the Old and New Testament, The Ten Commandments, The Lord’s Prayer, and The Magnificat.

We also know that Luther’s friends in Wittenberg, especially Melanchthon, were asking him to translate the entire Bible.

He first mentioned the project in a personal note to John Lang in December of 1521, only three months before he permanently left the Wartburg.

Probably came up in a discussion with Melanchthon during a stealth visit to Wittenberg in early December, 1521.

Luther didn’t complete the entire Bible in the Wartburg, only the New Testament (which is still remarkable, given that he completed the first draft in 11 weeks).

The full Bible wasn’t completed until 1534. Although Luther completed the first version in the Wartburg, it was a pretty rough draft. After he returned to Wittenberg, he worked very closely with Melanchthon and other scholars who could provide greater expertise. For example, Melanchthon was a much better Greek scholar and Bugenhagen was an expert in the Latin found in the Vulgate. The entire group was called the Bible Club (Collegium Biblieum).

Other notable members of the Bible Club were: Justus Jonas, Bugenhagen (Pommer), Cruciger, Aurogallus and Georg Rorer (who was the 1st clergyman ordained by Luther).

This core group would then go outside for special experts and others for help. For example, Spalatin provided the names of the precious stones in New Jerusalem.

It took a few months for the Bible club to get out the final version of the New Testament. It was released in September 1522.

As English speakers, it’s difficult to understand the importance of the Luther Bible. Even though several dukes tried to outlaw the Bible, they were unsuccessful in stopping the spread of the gospel. A Roman Catholic scholar of the time complained:

“Luther’s New Testament was so much multiplied and spread by printers that even tailors and shoemakers, yea, even women and ignorant persons who had accepted this new Lutheran gospel, and could read a little German, studied it with the greatest avidity as the fountain of all truth. Some committed it to memory, and carried it about in their bosom. In a few months such people deemed themselves so learned that they were not ashamed to dispute about faith and the gospel not only with Catholic laymen, but even with priests and monks and doctors of divinity.”

Even though it’s difficult for us English speakers to appreciate the Luther Bible, there are some things that are extremely helpful to us. Luther wrote an introduction to each book of the New Testament. Even today, these are extremely helpful for us as we read through the Bible.

While Luther was working diligently in the Wartburg, the scholars in Wittenberg were making major changes, eventually resulting in riots. To calm things down, Luther left the safety of the Wartburg.

We’ll be covering the events in Wittenberg, along with Luther’s return, in our next episode.


  • Thanks to Josh Yagley
  • Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI

Source materials

  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther – Visionary Reformer
  • Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church Volume 7
  • Luther’s Works – volumes 35 (For the prefaces to the books of the NT)
  • Wikipedia

Would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out.


Episode 25 – Off to the Wartburg

Martin Luther was cut to the core when he read the words of the young emperor Charles who wrote, “A single friar who goes counter to all Christianity for a thousand years must be wrong.” Luther couldn’t help but wonder, could the emperor be right?

Now that he was safely ensconced in the Wartburg castle, Luther was free from the day-to-day challenges that consumed his attention as the accidently spark of the Reformation. He could finally stop and deeply consider the words of the emperor. Was Luther the only person in a thousand years who could rightly read the Bible?

As he always did, Luther sought his answers in Scripture, eventually settling on an unexpected reading to evaluate his leadership and ambition, and the leadership and ambition of the pope – the song of Mary, the mother of Christ – the Magnificat. In this episode we discuss both the way that Martin Luther arrived at the Wartburg and how the Magnificat provided a lens through which he could understand his path forward, as a servant of Christ, during a time of discord.

When Luther left the city of Worms with Jerome Schurf and Nicolaus von Amsdorf on April 26, 1521, he only had 21 days of promised safe conduct from the emperor. Once the safe conduct expired, anybody could kill Luther as an outlaw.

As part of the safe conduct, the emperor provided a small troop to travel with Luther to make sure nobody hurt him. Luther released them after a couple days, so they returned to Worms with letters from Luther to the emperor and to Spalatin (supposedly also for Frederick) where he explained his actions at Worms.

Luther was told that the safe conduct was only in effect if he did “not stir up the people either by teaching or writing.” Luther tried to listen, but he was compelled by the people in Hersfeld, Eisenach, and Mohra to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jerome Schurf left the group right after they left Eisenach to continue to Wittenberg, leaving Amsdorf and Luther with the driver of the wagon. Luther and Amsdorf decided to travel south, away from Wittenberg to visit Mohra, the city where Luther’s father had grown up. Shortly after they left Mohra, Luther was kidnapped in the Thuringen forest, not far from the Altenstein castle.

A group of armed men on horses came out of the forest and stopped the small traveling party. The driver was terrified. When the armed men asked if one of them was Luther, the driver pointed to Luther immediately. The armed men were two nobles, the castellan of the Wartburg, Hans von Berlepsch, and the resident lord of Altenstein. The armed men took Luther and rode off into the woods. They took Luther to the Wartburg castle, which was owned by Frederick the Wise.

Stop motion animation that uses Playmobil to tell the story of Martin Luther, and the Reformation.

The way the kidnapping was orchestrated in such a way that even Frederick could honestly say he had no idea where Luther was hiding. Luther’s stay in the Wartburg Castle began in May 1521. (Coincidentally, the Wartburg overlooked the city of Eisenach where Luther spent his teenage years.) Although he left the castle a few times, he mostly stayed in his room for the next 10 months.

Beer Break

Black Lotus Brewing Co., 1 East 14 Mile Road Clawson, MI 48017-2132.

Detroit Hip Hops X IPA – American 10% ABV

This is their 10 year anniversary edition of their double IPA. Its a high gravity IPA with notes of citrus and pine and compliments food and conversation extremely well. Put on some vinyl pour a glass and explore the flavor of sound.


  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther – Visionary Reformer
  • Roland Bainton – Here I Stand, A Life of Martin Luther
  • Luther’s Works – volumes 21
  • Wikipedia



Episode 24 – Diet of Worms Part 3

Martin Luther had decided to accept the invitation to the Diet in the city of Worms, Germany, even though he knew there was a very good chance he was going to his death. The pope, who was one of the most powerful people in the world, was clearly aligned against him. And, to make matters worse, the emperor was starting to agree with the papal position.

Even though Luther’s appearance at the Diet was supposed to be a sidebar discussion, everybody knew that the discussion at Worms was going to be a decisive turning point in what to do with Luther and his reforms. The pope and the emperor would only accept a recantation of his teachings. Meanwhile, Luther had made clear many times that he would only accept a hearing based on Scripture. Something had to give.

In this episode we discuss Luther’s speech at the Diet of Worms and the days after his speech. The condensed history of the Diet of Worms is that Martin Luther made his speech, left the city, and then he was “kidnapped” to the Warburg on his way home. In fact, Luther did not immediately leave the city. There were a series of negotiations to determine if anything could be recovered from this situation.

In Wittenberg, this summer, they sold the socks that Martin Luther was likely wearing during the Diet of Worms. In case he forgot his speech, he could look at his ankles.

Beer Break

Eternity Brewing is a microbrewery and taproom in Howell, Michigan. They create handcrafted beers in small batches. The owners are Mike and Dayna Tran. The beer we try in this episode is the Aerial Ace, which is a cream ale. It is dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace from Belleville Hops. The cream ale has a bright lemon aroma and smooth flavor with notes of lemon, dill, and grain.


Episode 23 – Martin Luther’s Reformation of Hymnody and Liturgy

When Martin Luther first posted the 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, he was driven by a deep concern for his congregation. This continued to be the primary driver of everything he did for his entire career as a reformer.

Luther’s concern for his congregation was expressed in many ways. He wrote sermons for his own congregation; he wrote guidelines for sermons for other pastors; he wrote devotionals.  Even when he wrote a theological treatise, his mind wasn’t ever very far from the regular-folk and what this would mean for them.

In this episode we look at how Luther used music.  In churchy terms, we call this Luther’s hymnody, the body of music that was written by Luther to communicate proper theology to the congregation.

This episode is released on Oct 31, 2017, the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 theses. Happy Reformation Day, everyone!

Tower of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

We’re taking a break from Luther’s story at the Diet of Worms. Instead, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 theses, we’re going to focus this episode on the single subject that animated everything that Luther did in his struggles with the medieval Catholic Church – the congregation.

To tackle the entire issue of Luther’s concern for the congregation is too much for one episode, so we’re going to limit ourselves to Luther’s hymns, which were one of his favorite ways to communicate his theology to the common folk.

Neither of us really know much about music, so we’ve invited Chris Mowers, one of our congregation’s music experts at St. Paul Lutheran Church, to help us out.

Beer break!

Stan Bucrek, a member of St. Paul, provided the beer for our break. We asked Chris Mowers and Stan to help with this episode as a demonstration that Luther’s reforms of hymnody and liturgy were done with the congregation in mind.

The Pale Ale is
(Modified)  Cornerstone India Pale Ale:
ABV: 6.56%
Magnum, Amarillo,  Centennial and Cascade hops-
Was supposed to be an IPA, but the secondary hop addition was reduced to let malt not be overwhelmed by hops [I dislike it when the beer tastes like prairie grass]. Well balanced flavor and bite, with a well sustained head when poured.
Original Recipe from: AIH (Adventures in Home-Brewing) Ann Arbor, MI.

Fire Island Scotch Ale:
ABV: 5.51%
(Not related to New York’s Fire Island Brewing Co.)
Crystal and Chocolate malts, brown sugar &  Kent Golding hops –
Smooth, sweet and drinkable – A fall/winterish Ale with pleasant hints/notes resembling Scotch Whiskey sans actually barrel aging the beer.

Recipe from: James C. Whitely, Arbor Beer-making Supplies, East Islip, New York.

Both beers are brewed in 5 gallon batches and bottle aged.
The Pale Ale is from June of this year and the Scotch Ale was brewed in March.


Episode 22 – The Diet of Worms Part 2

Martin Luther, the professor of Biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg, had finally received the invitation with the promise of safe conduct from the emperor. Now Luther had decide if he would attend the Diet of Worms.

The invitation that Luther received said nothing about the structure of the meeting. Would it be the open debate he had wanted since the beginning? Would the Bible or canon law be used to evaluate the positions of the debaters? Luther had no way of knowing.

Ultimately, Luther decided he wouldn’t be called a coward. He loaded up a wagon and began the 300 mile journey to Worms to defend his teachings to the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire.

Martin Luther at the imperial Diet or Reichstag of Worms, Edict of Worms, 1521

Frederick the Wise requested a hearing for Luther. The emperor extended an invite, then rescinded it after hearing arguments from Aleander. But it didn’t matter, since Frederick the Wise declined the invitation since he was suspicious of the clergy over-riding the emperor’s promise of safe conduct, just like they did to Jan Hus. Eventually, everything got worked out and Luther was extended an invitation with a promise of safe conduct.

Luther at the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner, 1877

Beer Break

Wolverine State Brewing Company’s Barista Coffee Lager / 6.6% abv / 13 IBUs

A collaboration brew with Ann Arbor’s RoosRoast featuring locally roasted Colombian coffee. This brew took gold at the 2015 World Expo of Beer! Wolverine Brewer Karl Hinbern, once in the coffee roasting business himself, spearheaded the coffee side of this beer, finally selecting a Colombian Excelso bean roasted at Roos. Part beer, part coffee, what’s not to love?

From Wolverine State Brewing Co.’s website

At Wolverine State Brewing Co., we love lagers. A lot. We love them so much, we make literally nothing else — no ales pass through these draft lines. And in fact, we’re Michigan’s first and only all-lager microbrewery. But what makes lagers special? Why are we so obsessed with them? Read on:

Ales and lagers, for all their perceived differences, are NOT all that different. The chief differences lie in their fermentation temperatures and durations (lagers = colder and longer) and yeast strains. That’s it! You can do anything with a lager that you can do with an ale. Put it in a bourbon barrel. Hop the living hell out of it. Add guava and lime and the kitchen sink. Drink it on a hot day. Warm yourself up in the winter. Leave it unfiltered. The list goes on. Bottom line: they are both beers.

What is different, however, is the way lagers pass through your palate. Lagers are generally characterized by tight, crisp, clean finishes — these finishes are difficult to achieve, which is one reason lots of breweries do not brew lagers. They are hard to make. There is nothing to hide behind. And that crisp finish works as a natural palate cleanser — you’re left wanting more and more and more and more.


Thanks to Josh Yagley our sound engineer.

Source materials

James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer

Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther – Visionary Reformer

Roland Bainton – Here I Stand, A Life of Martin Luther

Luther’s Works – volumes 32




Episode 21 – The Diet of Worms Part 1

Charles V of Spain was on a very steep learning curve. Even though he was only 20 years old, he had just been voted as the new Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Including his governance of Spain, he now had the responsibilities for a vast domain that included modern day Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Northern Italy and South America.

Charles had prepared for these responsibilities for his entire life, so he felt in 1521 as ready as he could have been as he approached his first major meeting with the leaders of the Empire, set for the city of Worms, in the Rhineland of Germany. Still, he knew the princes, electors, dukes and other leaders of the would be watching him closely for any missteps as he sought to guide the empire through the treacherous terrain of medieval European politics.

Treacherous barely describes the complexity of the situation Charles had inherited from his grandfather. The pope was no friend, having done everything in his power to deny Charles the position of Emperor. The German princes were fractious and squabbling, even while the Turks were threatening the eastern edges of the empire. And in his own Spain, the commoners were rising up in revolt against the nobility.

Finally, there was this matter regarding the German monk, Dr. Martin Luther. Although Luther’s teachings were popular with the people, Charles was confident everybody would fall in line behind the pope declaring Luther a heretic. Still, to calm the leadership of the German states, and to get them to finally work together against the Turks, Charles on November 28, 1520 agreed that Luther would be given a hearing at the Diet scheduled to be held in the city of Worms in early 1521.

The Diet of Worms will be dealt with through three parts. The word diet describes an assembly of the Holy Roman Empire. The first part looks at the lead up to the hearing in Worms. We especially focus on why a monk that has already been declared a heretic by the pope is being given a hearing in Germany. The second part will look at the hearing itself and Luther’s famous speech before the emperor. The final part will examine what happens after the hearing is over and how Luther is “kidnapped” and taken to the Wartburg.

Luther at the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner, 1877

Beer Break

Our featured beer in this episode is from Perrin Brewing in Comstock Park, Michigan. The No Problems Session IPA bursts open with aromatics of fresh citrus fruits, ripened melon and a distinctive floral bouquet.

Diet of Worms by Swashbookler


Thanks to Josh Yagley for the sound engineering

James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer

Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther – Visionary Reformer

Roland Bainton – Here I Stand, A Life of Martin Luther

Luther’s Works – volumes 32



Episode 20 – Decet Romanum Pontificem – The Excommunication of Luther

In the summer of 1520, Pope Leo X released Exsurge Domine, a papal bull outlining the errors and heresies of the impudent German monk, Martin Luther. Luther responded by burning the bull. The pope had had enough. It was time for action, so he instructed his theologians to write a new papal bull that would excommunicate Luther By choosing force over dialogue, the pope overestimated his strength in Germany, a fatal mistake for Christian unity in the west. This episode is about the papal bull released on January 3, 1521 that declared Martin Luther excommunicated from the catholic church.

Text of the papal bull at papalencyclicals.netDecet Romanum Pontificem

Decet Romanum was a much better written document than Exsurge Domine, simply because it remains in the very comfortable domain for the 16th century Roman Catholic church. Where Exsurge Domine clumsily tries to explain the specific errors of Luther…Decet Romanum simply declares judgment. “Thou art a heretic!”

Decet Romanum Pontificem

Beer Break

Beautiful Disaster by Odd Side Ales. This is a Blended IPA aged in Red Wine barrels and dry hopped with Citra hops. Odd Side Alles is located in downtown Grand Haven, Michigan. Very mellow beer that spends time in wine barrels.

Recognition of Source Materials

The next episodes will be about the Diet of Worms. The drama of the Reformation was never just about what was on the paper of the documents. Come back and listen for a discussion about the real people and real events of the 16th century.


Freedom of a Christian – Episode 19

Karl von Miltitz wasn’t somebody who would easily give up. As the pope’s ambassador in the Lutheran controversy, he felt had the authority to make a difference in the ongoing theological issues stirring up Germany.

Miltitz was a little more humble about his capabilities in 1520, compared to when he first became enmeshed in the Lutheran dispute a year before. Back in the beginning, he thought he could tamp down all the issues by simply encouraging everybody to calm down. Now he realized that the theological differences were deeper than he first believed.

Now that he had an improved understanding, Miltitz adjusted his goals. He knew he was going to need to get a dialogue started between the pope and Luther. He knew there was no way the pope was going to extend an olive branch to Luther, but maybe he could get Luther to reach out to the pope. It was a long shot, but it was the only way out.

Karl von Miltitz had no way of knowing that he was initiating the writing of one of the greatest summaries of Evangelical theology, the Freedom of a Christian.

Freedom of a Christian was Luther’s response to his critics that his doctrine of freedom would create chaos. It’s built around two seemingly contradictory propositions from St. Paul:

  •  A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.
  •  A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.

Beer Break

Bam Biere by Jolly Pumpkin. It is named after Bam, the tenacious brewery dog.

This delicious farmhouse ale is named for their Jack Russell, who struck by a car, bounced back in fine tenacious Jack Russell fashion. This farmhouse ale is brewed for those of us who knocked down, have picked up, dusted off, and carried on undaunted.

Golden naturally cloudy, bottle conditioned and dry hopped for a perfectly refreshing balance of spicy malts, hops, and yeast.

Resources and Recognitions

A blog post by by Rev. Dr. Jonathan Mumme,

Thanks to Josh

Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI

James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer

Luther’s Works – volumes 31

Contact us

Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip.


Episode 18 – Babylonian Captivity Part 2

Episode 18 – Babylonian Captivity 2

In December of 1519, Martin Luther first trained his sights on redefining the sacraments in a series of sermons and treatise he wrote to help the common people better understand how faith works in the church.

Duke George best reflected the feeling of the supporters of the papal position when he called Luther’s writings scandalous and heretical.

But Luther wasn’t finished, in the fall of 1520, he released the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, a thorough attack on the church’s teachings on the 7 sacraments. In 1519, Luther limited himself to just baptism and communion. In 1520, he redefined every one of the sacraments. In the last episode, we covered Luther’s treatment of communion. Today, we’ll cover the other 6 sacraments.

Beer Break

Mad Hatter Midwest India Pale Ale by New Holland Brewery 

New Holland Brewing Company’s deep roots in the craft industry go back to 1997. Their role as an integral member of the artisan approach is something they take seriously, yet engage lightheartedly.

New Holland Brewing believes the art of craft lives in fostering rich experiences for their customers, through creating authentic beer, spirits and food while providing great service. Recognized for their creativity and artistry, New Holland’s mission to improve the lives of craft consumers everywhere is seen in their diverse, balanced collection of beer and spirits.




Episode 17 – Babylonian Captivity Part 1

After being thrust into the spotlight with the publication of the 95 Theses in 1517, Martin Luther worked to engage in a conversation with the leadership of the Roman Catholic church, but without much success. By the summer of 1520, both Luther and the pope realized there was little chance of reaching an agreement.

The pope responded with the publication of the papal bull, Exsurge Domine, a hastily written document that formally outlined Luther’s perceived errors. Concurrently, and independently, Luther released the Open Letter to the German Christian Nobility, an attack on the church’s authority over the secular realm.

At the end of the Open Letter, Luther hinted that he had a second attack ready. Luther was hinting at today’s document, The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, an attack on the medieval sacramental system, the very core of 16th century Roman Catholic church power.

This book from Luther looks at how the sacraments had been used to keep people in exile away from the true promises of God. Listen to this podcast for the first part of the Babylonian Captivity. We discuss Luther’s desire that we come to the Lord’s Supper for the promise of God.

Beer Break

St. Basil’s – From Brewery Becker

St. Basil’s | A Belgian Dark strong. Carmel and malt balance out with the direct kick of alcohol. Quite dry for such a large beer. All proceeds go to educational opportunities. Brewed with goodness, discipline, and knowledge

500 W Main Street, once known as The Western House, has only been Brewery Becker since 2014. Much of the integrity and history remains in the building today, and was kept a priority by the owners when renovating and rebuilding. Visit the Brewery for a step back in time and a true experience.


  • Thanks to Josh
  • Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI

Source materials

  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
  • Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer
  • Luther’s Works – volumes 44
  • Wikipedia

Contact Us



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


    • 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 –

Contact us

We would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Help us get the word out.


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.


Recognition of source materials

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

Contact us

We would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes because these reviews help increase the visibility of our podcast.


Episode 14 – A Wild Boar in the Vineyard

This episode focuses on Exsurge Domine, the official papal response to Martin Luther. With the printing presses of Europe hard at work in the fall of 1517, the 95 Theses spread throughout Europe in a couple of weeks. Attention was drawn to the leadership of the church in Rome. In 1518 Cardinal Cajetan visited Luther in Augsburg, and Cajetan attempted to get Luther to recant. In the summer of 1519, John Eck debated Luther in Leipzig. Eck succeeded in getting Luther to admit that the issue was about more than reforming abuses. Luther admitted that the pope and a council could be wrong if they conflicted with Scripture.

In June of 1520, the pope signed Exsurge Domine, the papal bull that formally outlined Martin Luther’s errors. Cardinal Cajetan wanted a scholarly response to Luther that specifically outlined the errors of Luther. Eck wanted a response that was released quickly to address the issue of Luther before things got worse in Germany. Eck won and the papal bull lacks specifics against Luther but clearly labels him as a heretic dangerous to the church.

Exsurge Domine is a papal bull promulgated on 15 June 1520 by Pope Leo X. It was written in response to the teachings of Martin Luther which opposed the views of the Church.

The name of this document comes from the first phrase in Latin, “Arise, O Lord!” It goes on to say that the wild board from the forest seeks to destroy the Lord’s vineyard and it is time to put down the boar.

Lucas Cranach included in the altar piece he painted for the Town Church in Wittenberg a picture of Martin Luther preaching from a pulpit that is decorated with a wild boar running through a vineyard.

Martin Luther’s Sermon, detail from a triptych, 1547 (oil on panel) by Cranach, Lucas, the Elder (1472-1553); Church of St. Marien, Wittenberg, Germany.

Beer Break

We set aside our walk through beers from the Great Lakes region because we have found we have a consistent set of listeners from Japan. So this beer break features a beer form the Kiuchi Brewery. The beginning of this brewery is found when it was established in 1823 by Kiuchi Gihei, the headman of Kounosu village. The beer side of the business started in 1996 and named the beer “Hitachino Next Beer.” It has a unique owl character logo. This beer is a German style Hefe Weizen with banana, clove, and vanilla like flavors with a touch of toasty wheat malt and hops.

Recognitions and Thanks

  •  Thanks to Josh
  •  Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg Michigan
  •  Wikipedia
  •  John M. Todd book Martin Luther, a biographical study
  •  Hans Hillerbrand – several documents
  • A Catholic website set up to defend the Roman Catholic faith against protestant attacks.
  • Good place for us to make sure we are not mischaracterizing Catholic teaching, although we would welcome anybody shooting us an email with any corrections on our understanding of Roman Catholic doctrine.
  •  Vatican for a copy of Exsurge Domine

Contact Us

We would appreciate any reviews you could post on itunes. The reviews help us to get the word out.



Episode 13 – Sermons from 1519

In the fall of 1519, Martin Luther was concerned. His concern was for the souls of those that the Lord had placed near to him. His protector, Frederick the Wise, became very ill. The people were curious and seeking promise, but still finding in the rituals of the church a focus on works instead of faith. Luther offered to them consolation. He wrote a devotional for those approaching death called the 14 Consolations. He also wrote three sermons on the sacraments. Each sermon describing the action, the inner significance, and the role of faith in receiving these gifts.

His three teaching sermons on the sacraments infuriated the supporters of the people. Duke George of Saxony called the treatise containing these sermons, “full of heresy and scandal.” Luther responded by calling these complaints, “the trumpeting of a sterile pig.”

The three sermons are titled:

  •  The sermon on the Sacrament of Penance, 
  •  The Holy and Blessed Sacrament of Baptism
  •  The Blessed Sacrament of the Holy and True Body of Christ, and the Brotherhoods

Before we discuss the sermons we add to our discussion of the pastoral heart of Martin Luther by talking about the devotional 14 Consolations.

Beer Break

Arcadia Brewery was founded in 1996 in Battle Creek, Michigan, by Tim Surprise and his wife, Mary. In 2016, Jim Lutz came on board as Arcadia’s president. The majority of production now happens at the Kalamazoo location, which still has lots of room for more capacity. You can visit to learn more about this brewery.

Loch Down Scotch Ale is their tribute to the Scottish Highlands. This beer is garnet in color. The color is joined with aroma of ripe plums and freshly-baked biscuits. The texture reveals notes of roasted chestnuts and caramel in the smooth single-malt style brew.

Recognition of source materials

  •  David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
  •  James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  •  Luther’s Works – volumes 35 and 42

Visit us at




Episode 12 – The Leipzig Debate

Turning Point

John Eck and Martin Luther met for a debate in Leipzig in 1519. This debate was a major turning point for the Reformation. This debate pushed Luther beyond the question of reforming indulgences towards the question of authority in the church.

John Eck was a scholastic theologian teaching at Inglostadt. Martin Luther was a professor from Wittenberg. These two men meet for the rumble in Leipzig. Two men enter, one man leaves (actually both left alive, MMA was not in play at this time).

In the fall of 1518, Cardinal Cajetan had his fatherly talk with Luther. Luther refused to recant or return to Rome for trial. Then Karl von Miltitz visited Luther, and Miltitz made a deal with him. Luther would remain quiet as long as his adversaries remained quiet, which brings us to this podcast episode of Grace on Tap.

John Eck corresponded with Luther through a document titled, Obelisks. After Eck released the Obelisks, Luther replied with something called Asterisks. These two terms refer to different type of margin notes that people would put in their books to mark areas of interest. Andreas Karlstadt didn’t want to be left out of the party. He also responded with The 370 Theses.

So let’s get ready to rumble.

On June 24, 1519, the Wittenbergers arrived in Leipzig. There was a pause at the entrance to the city because there were questions about whether their passports would be received. The fact that the Wittenberg delegation arrived as a raucous group of students and professors might have given the city some worry about their ability to keep the peace.

The debate became a turning point in the Reformation because Eck was able to draw Martin Luther into a debate on the question of papal authority. This debate publicly pushed Luther beyond the indulgence controversy, which was seen by many as a suitable topic for reform.

The Leipzig Disputation – 1519 – Carl Lessing

Listen to this podcast and discover how the Leipzig debate helped focus the discussion on authority in the church, the Word of God or the pope.

Beer Break

Our featured beer in this episode is The Live Wire from the ROAK. This is an American IPA from a brewery in Royal Oak, Michigan. It is a juicy beer with classic hoppy bitterness and little malt sweetness.


  • Thanks to Josh Yagley for his sound engineering
  • Thanks to the people at St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI who provide us the encouragement and support to continue recording these podcast episodes

Recognition of source materials

  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
  • WHT Dau – The Leipzig Debate in 1519
  • Sean Doherty – “Theology and Economic Ethics: Martin Luther and Arthur Rich in Dialogue”
  • Encyclopedia Britannica

Contact us

Come on out to our upcoming Road Trip in Clinton Twp on June 7. Details can be found on our Facebook page.

This post has been updated with an audio file that starts at the beginning.


Episode 11 – Election Capitulation

On January 12, 1519, Maximillian, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, died at Wels in Upper Austria. The election that took place on June 28 in Frankfurt was a hotly contested election. The two main contenders were Charles, grandson of Maximillian, and Francis I, the King of France. After a series of bribes and promises, the election swings towards Charles.

Charles V signed a document that was critical to the Reformation that is typically overlooked by Lutherans. The Election Capitulation was negotiated by Frederick the Wise who was supporting Martin Luther. So listen to this podcast to learn about some political processes that helped define the Reformation period.

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

Beer Break

Rochester Mills Brewing Co.

Milkshake Stout, a property of 7 malts, along with a low hop level that creates a dark beer featuring rich, sweet, roasted flavors.


  • Thanks to Josh Yagley for sound engineering
  • Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI

Recognition of source materials

  • David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
  • Charles Beard – Martin Luther and the Reformation in Germany Until the Close of the Diet of Worms
  • Daniel J. Castellano – Repository of Arcane Knowledge
  • Erwin Iserloh, Joseph Glazik, and Hubert Jedin – History of the Church: Reformation and Counter Reformation
  • Henry Eyster Jacobs – Martin Luther: The Hero of the Reformation
  • Wikipedia articles


Grace on Tap June Road Trip to Clinton Twp.

Join Evan and Mike, along with our host, listener Scott Phillips, in Clinton Twp. for another Grace on Tap Road Trip, our reboot of Luther’s famous Table Talks, where he gathered with his friends and talked theology over a beer or two.

For this event, we’ll be discussing a few paragraphs of Luther’s Open Letter to the Christian Nobility, one of the 3 critical documents he generated in 1520. We’ll be focusing on what this document meant in 1520, along with a discussion on how Luther’s thoughts on the role of the church and the laity translate into today’s situation.

Kuhnhenn Brewing Clinton Twp.
36000 Groesbeck, Clinton Township, Michigan 48035

Hope to see you there!!

You can RSVP at the Facebook event page:


Episode 10 – Mr. Miltitz Goes to Germany

Karl von Miltitz was sent from Rome to Germany in the fall of 1518. He was a papal nuncio, which is the title for an ecclesiastical diplomat. His job was to improve the conflict with Luther. He expected to be a part of the negotiating team with Cardinal Cajetan. The timing of their arrivals in Germany meant they worked separate from each other. Maybe he expected this was going to be a good cop / bad cop sort of relationship. Cardinal Cajetan would be the bad cop and Miltitz would be the good cop. He was supposed to relieve the tensions in the international relationship between Rome and Frederick the Wise that had developed during the controversy over indulgences.

In this episode Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner discuss the role of Miltitz to settle the dispute between Martin Luther and the sale of indulgences. Luther and Miltitz met in Altenburg in January, 1519.

Pope Leo gave Frederick the Wise the “Golden Rose,” a honorary gift and sign of favor from Rome.

Beer Break Information

This episode we feature the Keweenaw Brewing Company and their Red Jacket Amber Ale. KBC is a microbrewery with no food served at their taproom. This Amber Ale is a class Oktoberfest style ale that is brewed in tribute to the Red Jacket Mine and copper industry glory days of the Keweenaw Pennisula.

Luther’s View of the 10 Commandments

Mike and Evan have a discussion after the beer break about how Luther’s view of the law changes along with his changed view of Romans 1:17, “I am not ashamed of the gospel… for in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'”

How do we look at how the righteous shall live by faith?

Heads up that this second half of the episode might require a few rewinds to capture. Some people may only listen to the history stuff of the first half and call it good enough (which is okay). We won’t track you down and make you listen to all the second half.

Recognition of Source Materials

    • David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
    • James Kittelson – Luther the reformer
    • LW 34 and 48
    • Catholic Encyclopedia
    • Luther’s large catechism


Episode 9 – Pastoral Teachings and Reordering of Society

Grace on Tap – Reordering of Society

During this episode, we follow Martin Luther’s pastoral focus in the 1519 – 1521 period. We are interested in how he translated his theology of the cross into sermons for regular folk, specifically looking at how he applied these ideas into two areas that he considered were of critical importance, marriage and prayer.

We look at his sermon on the estate of marriage

We also talk about his early expositions on the Lord’s prayer, where Luther has some ideas on how to teach the faith.

Finally, our conversation turns toward Luther’s sermon on Two Kinds of Righteousness, an amazingly short sermon considering the breadth and depth of the discussion. This sermon has implications on Luther’s thoughts for the proper distinction between church and state.

Beer Break

Stroh’s Bohemian-Style Pilsner is a classic European style pilsner brewed in Detroit.


  • Thanks to Josh
  • Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI

The discussion on marriage referenced a few articles


Episode 8 – Power struggles between Church, Society, and Family

This episode is our attempt to lay the ground work for why Martin Luther could stand up to both the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the pope and not be immediately be struck down.

It is 1519, and Luther has written the 95 Theses, participated in the Heidelberg Disputation, and talked to Cardinal Cajetan in Augsburg.


  • After things went so poorly in Augsburg, Luther snuck out of town early in the morning, leaving a note for Cardinal Cajetan bidding him farewell.
  • Frederick the Wise continued the negotiations on Luther’s behalf with Cajetan.
  • Luther returned to Wittenberg and wrote his account of the proceedings there.
  • Luther has completed the first stage of mapping out what it means for Catholic theology to have been saved by grace and not works. This work will continue as he is asked again later to answer to the Catholic leadership in Leipzig but, for now, he has a little break from that battle.

How did the investiture controversy lay the ground work for a small town friar in Germany to lead a revolution of power that is built on the truth of God’s Word?

The investiture controversy was an important conflict between the religious and secular powers in medieval Europe. The dispute developed in the 11th century  concerning who had the authority to appoint bishops.

Martin Luther pastorally cares about the vocation that all people have in their callings in the church, state, and the family. The balance he sought for these powers is built on his desire that we use our gifts to serve others instead of seeking people to serve us.

Gregory VII lays a ban of excommunication on the clergy loyal to King Henry IV; drawing from the …
Leonard von Matt/EB Inc.

Beer Break

Huma Lupa Licious from Short’s Brewing Company. This is an India Pale Ale that is brewed with five different kinds of hops.



Episode 7 – Proceedings at Augsburg 1518

In this episode of Grace on Tap, Mike and Evan discuss the “fatherly hearing” between Cardinal Cajetan and Martin Luther at Augsburg in 1518. Luther wrote about this informal hearing when he returned to Wittenberg.

In June 1518, Pope Leo X has empowered a court to begin proceedings against Martin Luther. This court based on their examination of Luther’s 95 Theses called Luther to come to Rome for a trial. Cardinal Cajetan received word of this while he attending the Diet of Augsburg. August 28 Cardinal Cajetan received orders from the pope to arrest Luther, absolve him if he recanted, and use the ban to deal with all that supported him. The pope also wrote to Frederick the Wise seeking help in arresting this “son of perdition.”

Instead of arresting Luther, the cardinal agrees to a “fatherly” hearing.

The meeting of Cajetan (left) and Martin Luther (right).

In this episode we discuss how the cardinal insisted Luther recant his statements on the basis of canon law. Luther refused to recant on the basis of anything besides the authority of Scripture. Luther’s explanation of this meeting shows his trust on the enduring Word of the Lord as his sole source and norm for doctrine.

The featured beer for this episode is the Great Lakes Brewing Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. This robust and complex porter is a bittersweet tribute to the legendary freighter’s fallen crew—taken too soon when the gales of November came early.


Road Trip – March 30 – Discussion of “Two Kinds of Righteousness”

Mike and I are looking forward to our first Grace on Tap Road Trip on Thursday, March 30, at Brewery Becker in Brighton, Michigan. Plan to come to the brewery at 7:30pm. We will share some ale and some good discussion.

We are not sure what the night will be like, but we are certain it will be a good time. We hope that our conversation will be loose and free-flowing. We thought it a good idea to have a little focus to the night, so we have picked Martin Luther’s sermon from 1519, “Two Kinds of Righteousness.” Reading the sermon is not required reading to come to the Grace on Tap Road Trip, but you may find it helpful.

You can rsvp for the night at the Facebook event page.



Episode 6 – Lead Up to Proceedings at Augsburg 1518 with Road Trip info

Martin Luther and Cardinal Cajetan will have an important meeting in Augsburg in 1518. In this episode we talk about the lead up to this meeting. First we discuss the perspective of the pope. Then we look at Luther’s expectations for this meeting. Finally we discuss Frederick the Wise’s approach to this meeting.

In the summer of 1518, Cardinal Cajetan was traveling to Augsburg to attend the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire. The Imperial Diet was the general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire. Part of the cardinal’s mission attending this diet was to get Luther to recant of his statements. Frederick the Wise recognized that the pope was in a weak position concerning discipline of Luther since everyone knew that Emperor Maximillian was going to eventually die. The pope needed to maintain friendly relationships with the electors of the Holy Roman Emperor so that he could have influence on who would be elected to be the next emperor. Frederick the Wise used his position as an elector to make sure that Luther did not get taken to Rome for a heresy trial.

Frederick in a portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Recognition of resources: Luther’s Works Volume 31, Catholic Encyclopedia, and Cambridge Modern History.

Grace on Tap Roadtrip

Where: Brewery Becker

When: March 30 at 7:30pm

More information: Check out the event page on

Beer on Tap

Bell’s Oatsmobile Ale

Aromatic. Approachable. Unique. Intriguing. Happy-go-lucky. Full-bodied. And we’re not just talking about the horse.

This hop-forward session American Pale Ale uses a blend of classic and modern Pacific Northwest hops, including Mosaic, Ekuanot™ (formerly Equinox) and Glacier, for a pungent blend of peach, mango and tropical aromas. The signature ingredient – oats – are what makes Oatsmobile Ale stand apart, and gives it a body that you don’t see in most other sessionable pale ales.

Alcohol By Volume: 4.30%


Episode 5 – Grace on Tap – Heidelberg Disputation

Episode 5 of Grace on Tap looks at the Heidelberg Disputation. Before you get to far into this episode we think it would be good to have a quick discussion about this episode.

As we move forward with the project, we realize that we can’t tell the story of the people of the Reformation without also telling the story of the IDEAS of the Reformation. This means that, every so often, we’re going to have these VERY theological discussions, like this one which is almost entirely about the theology in Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation.

Although we would like everybody to understand the theology of the Reformation, we understand there may be listeners who are only interested in the people and not the theology. If that describes you, you can consider this little discussion a trigger warning and skip this episode. We’ll see you again in a couple weeks.

A key resource for us in preparing this episode was Gerhard Forde’s book On Being a Theologian of the Cross.

Beer on Tap

The beer on tap for this episode is a continuation of the Atwater beer from the previous episode, Hop-A-Peel.


GraceOnTap on TuneIn

Graceontap is available on TuneIn. So, now you can be lazy and just say, “Alexa, play Grace on Tap, on TuneIn” and it pulls up the latest podcast. If you know anyone else that uses an Amazon Echo device, you can let them know it’s easy to stream to it now.

Thank you Matt Sommer for setting this up. 


Episode 4 – Grace on Tap – Background to the Heidelberg Disputation

This episode of Grace on Tap is the build-up to our discussion on the Heidelberg Disputation, where Martin Luther first defined his Theology of the Cross.

The Theology of the Cross captures Luther’s ideas on sin, God’s grace and human suffering. Sadly, Luther’s ideas on the meaning of suffering remain an overlooked component of Christian theology, even in Lutheran circles.

If you have an interest in theology, we think you’ll like these next couple episodes.

The Heidelberg Disputation was a debate that took placed at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Augustinian order in April 1518.

Johann von Staupitz, engraving from 1889

Johann von Staupitz had only one request for Martin Luther, don’t discuss anything controversial. Staupitz limited the debate to sin, free will, and grace. Don’t know why he didn’t think these topics would be controversial.

Staupitz and Luther first met in Erfurt in 1506 as Luther’s Augustinian Superior. They had a deep relationship rooted in shared experiences with sin and seeking the comfort of God’s grace.

Thanks to Josh Yagley for sound engineering. Thank you Maria for helping Mike with the research. Thank you to St. Paul in Hamburg for providing us the opportunity to meet and discuss the Reformation.

Resources helpful to us in this episode include Luther’s Works volume 31 in the American Edition available from We also were aided by Kurt Aland’s book on the 95 Theses. Luther’s correspondence and other letters (Letter 57. Wikipedia had a helpful article eon Martin Bucer.

The featured beer in this episode is from Atwater Brewery in Detroit. The Hop-a-Peel. It is an American Double/Imperial IPA. This is a solid beer with a subtle orange peel flavor. The aroma is ready and sweet. The beer is bitter that helps the subtle flavor of the orange not overwhelm the whole beer.


Episode 3 – Grace on Tap – Sermon on Indulgence and Grace

This episode looks at a sermon from the spring of 1518 that Martin Luther wrote and shared with the German people to explain the controversy on indulgences and why the grace of God is our confidence.

Published copy of Luther’s “Sermon on Indulgence and Grace” from 1518. From the Taylor Institution Library, Oxford

The featured beer for this episode is Founders All Day IPA. This is a session beer, which means that its alcohol content is lower and so appropriate for drinking over an extended period.


Episode 2 – Grace on Tap – 95 Theses

95 Theses

In this episode Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner discuss the context for the 95 Theses that Martin Luther shared with the church on October 31, 1517.

Resources that were helpful to us in the production of this episode include:

Since 1858 the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg have the 95 Theses engraved on them. The commemorative bronze doors were produced by order of Frederick William IV of Prussia.

By A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) – Own work, FAL,

In this episode we note that one painting of the posting of the 95 Theses has Luther posting the Theses on the Commemorative Doors from 1858, which already have the theses engraved in bronze.

Featured Beer

The featured beer in this episode is Short’s Kölsch 45. Here is the description from the brewer’s website:

“Kölsch 45 is a unique warm fermented ale, that is aged like most traditional German Lagers at a cool temperature. Though light in body and color, its prominent hoppiness and radiant yellow “straw” color set it apart. The sustaining head retains prominent, pleasant aromas which aid in the crisp, refreshing nature of this beer. Hop bitterness is present, but not overwhelming.”


Episode 1 – Grace on Tap – Background on 95 Theses