Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Great Disturbance

"Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, in saying 'Repent,' intended that the whole life of believers should be repentance." Martin Luther, Thesis 1

According to Schaff, History of the Christian Church, VII:160, Luther was attacking the medieval notion of sacramental penitence. That kind of "repentance" could be limited to isolated outward acts, leaving the rest of our lives safe from the mega-upheaval of true repentance. Luther contended that real repentance opens us up to endless personal change, leaving nothing about us untouched.

When Luther posted his Theses, he undermined self-reinforcing Christianity, which is no Christianity, and he launched a new era of self-challenging Christianity, which is the power of the gospel.

In Karl Barth's commentary on Romans, he entitles his section on Romans 12-15 "The Great Disturbance." The whole world needs gospel disturbance. Nashville needs it. I need it.

Bring it on.