In studying the life and work of Martin Luther much consideration is generally given to the superstitious beliefs and practices of the Roman Church and rightly so. Less attention is devoted to what are in fact the sources of the theology that spawned them. Roman Catholic theology to this day attributes to fallen human reason and to the human will autonomy they do not possess. This teaching was strongly opposed by Luther using the Scriptures but also the teaching of the early Church Fathers. The ground of this rationalism can be found in Scholasticism. As it formed the foundation of the Church’s theology at the time of the Reformation, without looking at this system we will acquire only a partial picture of what the Reformation was about and how the errors of the Church of Rome are to be answered. ... Many evangelicals seek to join forces with Roman Catholics in their defence of Christian belief. ... The truth is that they also share many of Rome’s errors, Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism have often carried over into their theology much that is derived from Rome and thereby much that is pagan because of its origins in Greek philosophy.
Preaching in the open-air, John Elias would address crowds of up to ten thousand or more. His concern was for the terrible condition of those ready to die with no saving knowledge of Christ. This was a Gospel for the whosoever, "no matter what nation, no matter how wretched or unworthy he might be; whosoever believeth." Elias saw himself as God’s messenger with a solemn responsibility to speak of the seriousness of man’s dreadful condition in sin. We should not imagine that the soil in which the good seed of God’s Word was planted in those days was any more ready to receive it than today, or that men’s sins were less and their hearts less hardened. What then is lacking but those who will go in God’s name to call men to Christ?
What Luther achieved can only be understood in terms of his desperation to be free of his own personal sin and guilt before a holy God and how through a careful reading and study of the sacred Scriptures he saw his sin borne away by Christ alone and that he could be made right with God solely in Christ and in what He accomplished on behalf of sinners. Central to Luther’s whole experience and teaching is the conviction that justification is by faith without works or human merit. Luther’s Gospel was a personal and individual one before it was anything else. Any widespread change must be worked inside out and cannot be achieved the other way round. In our own day and age would we see change, then it remains for men and women to be gripped by that same Gospel message. His struggle began with spiritual agony living in his monk’s cell in Erfurt rising to stand for the truth of God’s Word before the mightiest men of his day. Many aspire also to achieve such heights but are unprepared to follow him in the preparatory agony of soul the Gospel is likely to bring with it.