Historically Used In an Exclusive Sense, This Blog Aims to Explore What God's Up To Inside & Outside the Institutional Church

All together now!

Controversy and conflict are nothing new to the church. Some controversies make mountains out of molehills. Others truly matter. In an age when charm, slick looks, ticket sales and manufactured authenticity pass as the fruit of the Spirit, its helpful to recall the genuine controversies of truth from other times that are still crucial for our own. Martin Luther called the doctrine of justification “the article of the church by which it stands or falls.” John Gill adds with it “the church is in a well-settled and prosperous state; but if it loses ground and is rejected, it is in a ruinous one. It is the ground and foundation of all solid joy, peace, and comfort in this life and hope of eternal glory hereafter.”

So while I’ll sing “Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott” tomorrow, here’s a little ditty beforehand to remember when Martin Luther is said to have posted his theses against the sale of indulgences on what was the social media of the day, the door of the Wittenberg castle church October 31, 1517.

“The Reformation Polka” by Robert Gebel

[Sung to the tune of “Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious”]

When I was just ein junger Mann I studied canon law;
While Erfurt was a challenge, it was just to please my Pa.
Then came the storm, the lightning struck, I called upon Saint Anne,
I shaved my head, I took my vows, an Augustinian! Oh…
Chorus:
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let’s start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

When Tetzel came near Wittenberg, St. Peter’s profits soared,
I wrote a little notice for the All Saints’ Bull’tin board:
“You cannot purchase merits, for we’re justified by grace!
Here’s 95 more reasons, Brother Tetzel, in your face!” Oh…
(Chorus)

They loved my tracts, adored my wit, all were exempleror;
The Pope, however, hauled me up before the Emperor.
“Are these your books? Do you recant?” King Charles did demand,
“I will not change my Diet, Sir, God help me here I stand!” Oh…
(Chorus)

Duke Frederick took the Wise approach, responding to my words,
By knighting “George” as hostage in the Kingdom of the Birds.
Use Brother Martin’s model if the languages you seek,
Stay locked inside a castle with your Hebrew and your Greek! Oh…
(Chorus)

Let’s raise our steins and Concord Books while gathered in this place,
And spread the word that ‘catholic’ is spelled with lower case;
The Word remains unfettered when the Spirit gets his chance,
So come on, Katy, drop your lute, and join us in our dance! Oh…

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation –
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let’s start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

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