When I went to Lutheran Grade school, each Otober we would watch the old B&W Luther film. The Luther of this film was sure of sure of his convictions, who never wavered from the truth. The Luther of my childhood looked like this:
In recent years, it has become popular to present a far more human Luther. One who showed his tender side, who worried a great deal about his salvation, and who played with children in the streets. The sort of guy you want to have as your pastor. Today, Luther looks like this:
While we like Children’s-Sermon-Luther most of the time, when it comes to Reformation Day, we want Towering-Rock-Luther. And when we read about him, we don’t want to hear about his struggles, unless you mean the struggle to restrain himself from choking anyone who tried to sell forgiveness. We want the sort of Luther than was so bold that Lutherans used to complain that “Reformer” wasn’t a good enough a word, because other men were also called that. (Seriously, J.M. Reu invents a new word, “Reformator”, because Luther was just so much cooler than the rest.) We want the “Angel with the clear and everlasting Gospel.”
For those who are now saying to themselves, “Yeah! That’s right! Let’s go nail some theses to a door!” I urge you to calm down. Do NOT nail a copy of the 95 these to the door of the local Roman Catholic church. Especially if the doors are glass. Instead, learn more about Luther from a good old-fashioned “Rah-Rah Luther” type biography. Originally written by Gustav Just, and gently updated, Life of Luther is the biography you’ve been waiting for all year. It’s the one you want to read the week before Reformation day. And, by a strange coincidence, it’s available at Lulu for the low low price of only $6.74. ($3.49 for e-editions). Click HERE to order today, and you can soon be re-acquainting yourself with the man that changed the world, and more importantly, brought the Gospel back to the church.