Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Luther's Incarnational Gospel

This weekend, I found a neat plaque with a quote from Martin Luther, saying "God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars."

Anyway, I really like and agree with this quote and find it quite interesting that it comes from Luther. As many people know, Luther advocated Sola Scriptura, stating that we only use Scripture to come to conclusions. I wrote an earlier post challenging this theology, too.

Assuming this quote really did come from Luther and is not a popular misattribution (
Googling it seems to show that it really was attributable to Luther, although I don't know the original source), I think it emphasizes that followers of various leaders and theologians may not understand them correctly. Even before Luther died, many people misinterpreted his work and took it to disturbing levels, which included the deaths of many people. We need to be aware of our potential misinterpretations of various theologies.

Sola Scriptura is one of them. I think it's really important to remember the other ways God writes and shares the Gospel. It's not just in the explicit text of the Bible. And we must remember that the world around us influences our interpretations of the Gospel. How and where have you seen the Gospel?


  1. Generally when Christians use the term Gospel, they are referring to the record of Jesus' life and teachings.

    Is that your definition? If it is, can you elucidate how exactly any of that is written in flowers, trees, stars, etc?

  2. Also, from what I have read, Sola Scriptura is:

    "Belief that Scripture is the final and only infallible authority for the Christian in all matters of faith and practice. While there are other authorities, they are always fallible and they must always be tested by and submit to the Scriptures."

    I think this is probably how Luther would have understood Sola Scriptura also. The way you phrased it: "stating that we only use Scripture to come to conclusions" is kinda of absurd. I mean, you wouldn't be able to come to the conclusion that 2 apples + 2 apples = 4 apples because the bible does not say anything about it.

    I think it would be perfectly legitimate for someone to subscribe to Sola Scriptura, if properly understood, and yet still use tools such as science, for example, to come to conclusions like the earth is billions of years old.

  3. Victor, I would have to disagree that Christians are referring to the record of Jesus' life and teachings when using the term "Gospel." If we say "a Gospel," then that could refer to one of the four canonical or many other noncanonical texts of Jesus' life. However, when we refer to "the Gospel," it usually refers to Jesus' message. The message of life and love and creation is definitely all around us.

    With regard to Sola Scriptura, yes, that definition would be technically accurate. And yes, I agree with your example of adding apples and your final paragraph. However, that is not how Sola Scriptura is usually interpreted and used in today's churches.

    I had a long response explaining this more, which I am turning into another blog post. It is scheduled to post Tuesday morning.



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