I was tempted today to simply reprint Stanley Hauerwas’s famous “Sermon on Reformation Sunday,” but everyone does that this time of year, so I decided to simply go about my own business. But after reading a couple of tweets this afternoon, I realized—yet once again—that Catholics and Orthodox are really clueless about the significance of Martin Luther’s recovery of the gospel in the 16th century. And this led me to remember a paper written by Dr Phillip Cary on the Reformation, i.e., Lutheran, construal of the sola fide (faith alone), which is so widely misunderstood but which underscores the formal character of gospel preaching as unconditional promise. And so I embed the paper below for your edification.
Note how different this construal is from what is heard from most Protestant pulpits. Needless to say, the sola fide is almost completely absent from Catholic and Orthodox ambos, which goes a long way toward explaining why the good news of Jesus Christ, in all of its liberating and converting power, is so rarely heard and why congregants would prefer their pastors to skip the homily and just get on with the eucharistic liturgy.