Field Notes – 24/6/S
I’ve just finished reading Ken Brownell’s excellent little book Luther and the 9.5 Theses.
After a brief introduction to Luther, he proposes 9.5 theses based on Luther’s 95 Theses for the recovery of Reformational Christianity today.
- Reformational Christianity needs to be nourished by reverent and rigorous theological learning.
- At the heart of the Reformational Christianity is the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone, which is essential for a proper understanding of the gospel and all that means in becoming, living and dying as Christians.
- Unbiblical doctrines and practices in churches that contradict or undermine the gospel need to be challenged, repudiated and discarded if Reformational Christianity is to flourish.
- Reformational Christianity must be concerned for ordinary people and their spiritual welfare.
- In Reformational Christianity Christians should be encouraged to do good to others because they are saved by grace, and not in order to earn merit with God.
- The Word of God and the preaching of it must be central to the life of the church and the Christian in Reformational Christianity.
- In the face of challenges and opposition, enterprising creativity is required in advancing Reformational Christianity.
- Reformational Christianity requires not theologians and preachers of glory but theologians and preachers of the cross of Christ.
- Reformational Christianity demands costly discipleship.
9.5. While action must be taken in advancing Reformational Christianity, we must not forget the role of God’s providence and prayer in accomplishing His saving purposes in history.
“The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Help me tear if from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.”
“Jesus has won the victory and he gives gifts to the church which are word-based gifts. Apostles and prophets are those to whom the gospel has been given – we have their words in the pages of Scriptures. We need people to proclaim the gospel for there to be a church – so we have evangelists. We need people to look after Christians – so we need pastor-teachers.” (Simon Austen)
Mike McKinley’s eight brief prayers that can be used while writing a sermon:
- Lord, please help me to understand the meaning of this text and how it points to Christ.
- Lord, please increase my love for the people who will hear this sermon.
- Lord, please give me wisdom to apply this text to the lives of the people in our congregation.
- Lord, please use this passage to help me grasp and love the gospel more so that I might help my hearers do the same.
- Lord, please help me to see how this passage confronts the unbelief of my hearers.
- Lord, please help me to be obedient to the demands of this passage. Help me to enter the pulpit having already submitted my life to this truth before I preach it.
- Lord, by your Spirit please help me to preach this sermon with the necessary power and with appropriate affections.
- Lord, please use this sermon to bring glory to your name, joy to your people, and salvation to the lost.