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Reply #97: The traditional Lutheran doctrine is faith alone, but [View All]

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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 06:06 PM
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97. The traditional Lutheran doctrine is faith alone, but
Luther was reacting to the bribe-your-way-into-heaven approach to salvation that prevailed in the Catholic church of his day. Church officials were raising money for construction in the Vatican by selling "indulgences," tickets out of purgatory, that people could buy for their deceased loved ones. Luther found this practice so revolting that he wrote his 95 theses (questions for debate) and nailed them to the castle church door at Wittenberg, as was the custom.

However, Luther over-reacted. He was a perfectionist and a control freak, and he was frustrated that he couldn't make himself perfect. That's how he came up with the doctrine of salvation by grace alone. He was so into this that he wanted to banish the Book of James (which discusses good works) out of the Bible.

Actually, there are a lot of indications in the Bible that works are important, even more important than faith. Take Romans 2:12-16, which discusses "righteous pagans," who have the law inscribed on their hearts. Jesus himself praises those who help the unfortunate and condemns those who do not. At one point he asks, "How can you say that you love God, whom you have not seen, when you do not love your brother, whom you have seen?"

So I'm coming down firmly on the side of works, not that we have to be perfect, but that we have to try to do the right thing and not give ourselves over to evil.
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