Review of Metaxas book on Luther

Did it never occur to Luther that the body of Christ, broken for him, was offered even in his despair? Strikingly, not once does Metaxas show Luther writing about the Eucharist. Of course, Luther despaired at times of the efficacy of grace as well as its availability, writing that man “is not even assured of his salvation by the infusion of God’s grace.” All he knew was that “he did not feel an iota of comfort,” and on that basis concluded that his soul was in jeopardy.


In a similar way, young Protestants today tend to evaluate their religion based on emotional criteria. Practices of piety become performances of emotion. Most of the student Bible studies I attended asked two questions: “How are you doing?” and “What was your reaction to this week’s Scripture?” Each question occupied half of the ninety-minute study. Weekly worship gatherings are similarly designed to elicit feeling. The songs that take up most of the meeting time often contain poorly chosen lyrics (“the Savior of the world was fallen”) or are transparently therapeutic (“Nothing is impossible! / I believe I believe / I believe I believe in you”). But neither shallowness nor carelessness gives students pause, as long as they receive emotional assurance of true faith.

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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