Refo Thursday: The Other Martin

“If you immediately condemn anyone who doesn’t quite believe the same as you do … pray tell, [who] can you still consider a brother?”Martin Bucer

In the fall of 2013 I was asked to join a production team to create a 3-episode documentary on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  I was ecstatic.  I’m not a theologian, but in an era of rapid change in the church, I find we have much to learn from the historic church.

During the editing of the film, the countless hours of interviews with scholars and theologians provided me deep insight into the life and times of the men and women whose thoughts and actions altered the entire trajectory of the church – especially Martin Luther.  I was somewhat familiar with his theology but had no idea how much Luther loved to pull the chain of those with whom he engaged.  His knack for using the profane to make his point was on par with his theological brilliance. I had some laugh-out-loud moments when I learned how he creatively used descriptions of bodily functions to call out his opponents and their theology. He knew little of subtlety and nuance.  He exhibited all-out-like-it-or-not-in-your-face engagement. Imagine how he could have lit up a 16th century Twitter account!

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