Morehouse Alumni in the News: Martin Luther: Here I Stand (on Halloween)

Morehouse College Alumnus Dr. William Flippin, Jr.

Morehouse College Alumnus ’98 Dr. William Flippin, Jr. IMAGE:

Morehouse College Alumnus ’98 Dr. William Flippin, Jr., is a contributor to Huffington Post and has this very interesting article there now.  We’ve included only the first half….please click here to read the entire article from Huffington Post about Dr. Flippin’s insights from Martin Luther on Halloween.

As a junior at Morehouse College, I was first introduced to a German monk by the name of Martin Luther in Roland Bainton’s autobiography Here I Stand. I was enthralled by his volatile stand against the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church.

The day was All Hallow’s Eve, the precursor to what we celebrate as Halloween. Luther knew that on this day the villagers, students and fellow college faculty would file through those church doors for a special mass and that, while entering, some would stop to read his pastoral thoughts on problems in the church at large. Luther wasn’t the first to post things in this manner. Back then, church doors were commonly used as community bulletin board of sorts.

October 31st will be the 495th anniversary of Luther’s posting his 95 Theses on the doors of Wittenberg’s Castle Church, an event that sparked what we know as the Protestant Reformation.

But at the genesis of this history-shaping, Jesus-focused revolution was one man, one pastor who simply saw something wrong and offered a solution. He was a man who believed that every once in a while; something is so bad that you simply can’t stay silent. Sometimes you have to speak up. As Martin Luther King, Jr. affirms that “Cowardice asks the question ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question ‘Is it political?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.”

For Luther as found in the 95 Theses it was on the issue of indulgences. Church officials sold indulgences, claiming they set sinful souls free from purgatory and into the arms of Christ, and used the money to build fancy digs such as St. Peter’s basilica. Luther’s convictions reinforced with his Lectures on Psalms and Lectures on Romans developed his emerging theology that was articulated in the 95 Theses.

I do believe that the true gospel for Luther and motivation for his stance was this: We’re too broken and messed up to stand in God’s presence, but God makes us worthy to walk in his love. We’re weak and unable to do what’s right, but God, in God’s goodness, provided us with power. We don’t deserve such gifts, yet God showers us in grace. Most of all, none of it can be earned. Therefore, Christ has claimed it for us through his death on the cross. God does all the work. We reap all the reward, and Jesus gets every ounce of the glory. Salvation is ours, to receive, but it isn’t ours to earn. Sola fide. By faith alone. Our right standing with God as members of his family is given to us as a gift; we are passive receivers, not active earners.

Later, in his work on the book of Romans, Luther writes: “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace so sure and certain that the believer would stake his/her life on it a thousand times. This knowledge of and confidence in God’s grace makes humanity glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and all other creatures….without compulsion, a person is ready and glad to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, out of love and praise to God who has shown him his grace.”

There’s more to this article! Please click here to read Dr. Flippin’s entire thoughts on Martin Luther as we experience Hallow’s Eve on the Huffington Post.

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