Latest posts by Stephen D Morrison (see all)
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This month celebrates the 500th anniversary of the protestant reformation. On the 31st of October, 1517, Martin Luther sent his famous 95 Theses to the Archbishop of Mainz. This sparked a movement that changed the world, putting the bible into the hands of everyday people, and revitalizing the doctrine of justification by grace alone.
In the spirit of this occasion I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes about the reformation, from an author who revitalized my own understanding of grace in a profound way, Robert Farrar Capon. Capon’s book Between Noon and Three remains one of the most shocking books I’ve read on the subject of grace. It impacted me tremendously and remains a favorite book of mine.
Capon writes about the reformation in wonderfully expressively language, calling it a time when people went “blind staggering drunk” with God’s grace. In celebration of the reformation may we all spend some time meditating on the grace of God which saves us “single-handedly”.
The Reformation was a time when people went blind-staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year-old, 200-proof grace—of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture that would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The Word of the Gospel, after all those centuries of believers trying to lift themselves into heaven by worrying about the perfection of their own bootstraps, suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home free even before they started. …Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case. 1
A 1517 printing of Luther’s 95 Theses:
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- Between Noon and Three, 109-110 ↩