White Evangelicalism, Halloween, and Luther’s Mixed Legacy
Wisdom for Your Weekend is your regular installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web. Presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with occasional guidance from Pastor J.D., this is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”
What Does Lecrae’s Drift Away from “White Evangelicalism” Mean?
In a recent interview with the woman at “Truth’s Table,” Christian hip hop artist Lecrae discussed his move away from “white evangelicalism.” This has prompted an important conversation, in which (among others) John Piper, Raymond Chang, and Bryan Loritts have considered the state of multi-ethnic relations in the American church today. If you’ve read one of these, spend time with the others. And if you aren’t familiar with this conversation yet, it’s time to pay attention:
- 116 Been Real: Lecrae, “White Evangelicalism,” and Hope, John Piper.
- Open Letter to John Piper on White Evangelicalism and Multiethnic Relations, Raymond Chang.
- More on Leaving White Evangelicalism, Bryan Loritts.
Semper Reformanda: 500 Years of the Reformation
Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith.
Because of faith, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire.
Martin Luther, “An Introduction to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans,” from Martin Luther’s German Bible of 1522.
If you aren’t aware that this October 31 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s famous 95 Theses, then you must be new to the blog. (In that case, welcome!) It’s no secret that we consider Luther’s influence invaluable. But even as we honor Luther, we also want to be clear that he had significant inconsistencies—and that’s using a gracious word. We have found the following pair of articles helpful for processing the moral failings of our heroes, whether they are the biblical characters of Moses, King David, or the Apostle Peter, or more recent men like Martin Luther, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Read these articles for sober reflection, done in light of Galatians 6:1: “Brothers and sisters, if any of you are overtaken by a fault, restore such a one in a spirit of weakness, considering yourselves, lest you also be tempted.”
Luther’s Jewish Problem, Bernard N. Howard. Martin Luther wrote frequent and vehement diatribes against the Jews of his day, hurling horrific insults at them and even calling for authorities to burn down their synagogues. As Howard says, “The more closely you look at it, the worse it gets.” So how are Christians to deal with Luther’s obvious anti-Semitism?
“Here I Stand”: Luther at the Diet of Worms. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses was only the first of many writings of Luther’s in which he questioned the Roman Catholic Church. For his repeated challenges, Luther was summoned to a counsel (called a “diet”) and ordered to recant. His response is one of the most powerful speeches of Christian history, and an example of boldness for the sake of the gospel. For a surprisingly dramatized version of this speech that captures the content and the tone incredibly well, check out this scene from the 2003 film, Luther:
What Should Christians Do With Halloween?
Halloween Is Awesome … or Awful: Romans 14 and Matters of Conscience, J.D. Greear, Ed Stetzer, et al. Ask if Christians should celebrate Halloween, and you’re likely to get mixed responses. On one side are those who see nothing wrong with a little dress-up and candy noshing (other than the accompanying cavities). On the other side are those who stand at their windows and weep to see all the neighborhood kids slowly circling the neighborhood as Narnia’s White Witch fills their baggies with Turkish delight. (Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but you get the point.) So which approach is right?
On the Lighter Side
Every Guy at Home Depot, John B. Crist. Yup.