Carl Trueman at Reformation21 has been blogging of late on Martin Luther. Below I’ll provide links to his series on what Luther saw as the six marks of a true theologian, and the nine qualities of a good preacher.
But first, he has a nice list of recommended books for those who want to become familiar with Luther and his work. Read the post for more details on each book, but here’s an outline:
- John Dillenberger, Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings.
- Timothy Lull, Martin Luther: Basic Theological Writings.
- Martin Luther, Table Talk. (“I would suggest that, if you have never read Luther, this is the place to start.”)
- Bernhard Lohse, The Theology of Martin Luther. (“Probably the best one volume introduction.”)
- Robert Kolb and Charles P. Arand, The Genius of Luther’s Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church. (“Very highly recommended.”)
To be tired of Luther is to be tired of life. Only crashing bores, I suspect, can remain untouched by him as they read his works, though, sadly, the church has more than a few of those hanging around her doors and pulpits. Still, I trust that the above will whet a few appetites for reading him, reading about him, and using him in the contemporary church.
In Table Talk Luther gives a list of six things that make a theologian. After introducing the topic, Trueman does a series of posts explaining the marks of the true theologian:
- the grace of the Spirit (as shaping the theologian’s identity)
- agonizing struggle (the essence of which is the universal experience of doubt as antithetical to faith)
- experience (the practical, real-life experience of the external word of God impacting the individual)
- opportunity (interpreting or responding appropriately to an opportune moment)
- careful and constant reading (particularly of the biblical text)
- a practical knowledge of the academic disciplines
(Note: numbers 5 and 6 go to the same link, as they are treated in a combined post.)
Then, in a short series, Trueman looks at the nine characteristic that Luther lists for a good preacher. A good preacher should have:
- an ability to teach
- a good head.
- clarity of speech.
- a good memory.
- know when to stop.
- be certain and diligent in his subject.
- put his life, limb, possessions, and honor into his subject.
- be able to accept ridicule from anyone.