In episode 3 of this mini-series, Samuel Bierig asks Matthew Barrett, author of the new book The Reformation as Renewal, to introduce us to another side of Martin Luther, that side of Luther often forgotten. Though the oppositional narrative claims Luther radically severed himself from tradition, Barrett shows there’s more to Luther than meets the eye. Narratives of Luther fixate on his 95 theses, but in 1517 another crisis haunted Luther. He was born and bred on the voluntarist-nominalist project of Scotus, Ockham, and especially Biel, a project that led Luther to despair. But in 1517 Luther called them out! If there was a break in the life of Luther, it wasn’t focused on the church catholic (universal) that he loved and desired to renew but on the via moderna which he came to reject, convinced it led him the way of Semi-Pelagianism. As Barrett explores the life of Luther he peels back other layers of misconceptions to arrive at the real Luther: What did Luther really mean by sola scriptura? Why did Luther embrace components of the medieval liturgy in Germany such as the creeds? Did Luther retrieve the lectio divina and put his own Protestant stamp on it as well?
In this episode, Bierig and Barrett bring Luther to life, unveiling the ways Luther wrestled with the past in his colossal effort to return to the Great Tradition as the path forward.
Matthew Barrett is the editor-in-chief of Credo Magazine and host of the Credo podcast. He is professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Director of the Center for Classical Theology. He is the author of the award-winning Simply Trinity and his new book is called, The Reformation as Renewal (Zondervan Academic). He is currently writing a Systematic Theology (Baker Academic).
Samuel Bierig serves as the undergraduate dean and as professor of Biblical Studies at Spurgeon College. He also serves as an elder at Liberty Baptist Church. Sam received his Ph.D. in Theology from Midwestern and holds degrees from Southern Seminary and Ouachita Baptist University as well. He is the author of No Neutral Words (Rainer Publishing) and the editor of Fulfill Your Student Ministry: A Manifesto and Field Guide. He is also a regular contributor at ftc.co. He is married to Mallory, and they have two children: Abby and Levi.