9.5 Theses and the Modern Church

Greg Strand – November 1, 2012 Leave a comment

As a follow up to the anniversary of Luther posting the 95 theses, I include an article from Carl Trueman. He applies some lessons from Luther’s day to the contemporary church. As always, he has important points for us to ponder.

Thesis One:  Martin Luther saw church leadership as primarily marked by servanthood.

Thesis Two: Martin Luther understood worship as rooted in repentance.

Thesis Three: Martin Luther did not care for the myth of cultural influence nor for the prerequisite cultural swagger necessary to catch the attention of the great and good.  

Thesis Four: Luther saw suffering as a mark of the true church.

Thesis Five: Martin Luther was pastorally sensitive to the cherished practices of older Christians.

Thesis Six: Luther did not agree to differ on matters of importance and thus to make them into practical trivia.

Thesis Seven: Luther saw the existence of the ordained ministry as a mark of the church.  

Thesis Eight: Luther saw the problem of a leadership accountable only to itself.

Thesis Nine: Luther thought very little of his own literary contribution to Christianity.

I would encourage you to read the article where he fills out each of these theses.

Trueman is a bit of an iconoclast, helpfully so, he provides some much-needed perspective to the contemporary church that highly values youth and innovation (not just technological), and he reminds readers of the gospel of Jesus Christ as has been faithfully proclaimed and fearlessly lived throughout the history of the church.

Truth be told, notes Trueman, if Luther lived and ministered today he would have a difficult time serving as a minister of the gospel in the evangelical church. That, however, may well be more of an indictment of the contemporary evangelical church than it is of Luther!

Carl Trueman, “9.5 Theses on Martin Luther Against the Self-Indulgences of the Modern Church,” Reformation 21 (October 2012)

Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

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