Sutton To Think About

Not Just Halloween...


     Today is not just Halloween. Today also marks the 499th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. On this date in 1517, an Augustinian monk/professor, named Martin Luther nailed his

"95 Theses" to the church house door of the Wittenberg Cathedral. This action was the customary means of introducing a subject for academic debate. Luther had no idea that he was launching a movement of massive proportions. Yet, that is precisely what he did.

   The root issue embedded in the proposal for debate was the understanding of salvation. The Dominican monk, John Tetzel, had been commissioned by Pope Leo X in Rome to raise money to complete the building of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The means for raising these funds was the sale of Indulgences. Supposedly (and this theology was a complete fabrication by the Roman Catholic hierarchy) all the good works of past saints was collected in a treasury of merit. When someone purchased an Indulgence, they purchased enough merit to have a deceased loved one's sins forgiven and thus escape purgatory. The slogan used by Tetzel was, "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs." Martin Luther, the Augustinian monk, had no love for Tetzel, the Dominican monk, nor his heretical theology. Hence, the challenge penned in the "95 Theses."

     Luther had come through an excruciating spiritual ordeal that culminated in his his "tower experience," that moment when his eyes, mind, and heart were opened to the truth that salvation was by grace through faith, and not of works or even for sale. That was a monumental moment in history when western civilization made a cosmic shift back to biblical truth.

     So, what truths did Martin Luther help rediscover and uncover for future generations? First, that the only authentic authority for Christians is the Bible, not traditions, popes, or even councils should they disagree with Scripture. Second, he declared that salvation was a gift received by faith and not something that could be earned by human effort. Third, he pointed out that salvation was by God's grace and that it was initiated by God's sending His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. Truths that we take for granted had to be painfully rediscovered some 500 years ago.

     As we think back to the Reformation, we are reminded that it was a time to refocus on biblical truth. My newest book, LECTURES FROM THE GATES OF HELL, is similarly, an attempt to refocus Christians' understanding on the biblical truth of who the real enemy is...lest we forget.

Keep Them Confused

     I am an avid CS Lewis fan. My favorite volume is the Screwtape Letters which I have read and reread multiple times. It is a fictional account of the correspondence between senior devil, Uncle Screwtape, and his fledgling demonic nephew, Wormwood. The book consists of 30 fictional letters written to advise, counsel, admonish, and chasten young Wormwood in his work to corrupt his human client. Uncle Screwtape, whom I like to refer to as The Grand Old Demon, gives his young protege his best "wisdom from below."

     What I like about this particular volume is the fact that Lewis is helping Christians to understand how Satan and his minions operate to "kill, steal, and destroy" as Jesus explained in John 10:10. Fiction is not the same as fantasy, and sometimes sober truth is actually communicated in the guise of a fictional narrative. One of the great ways Satan has opposed the work of God on earth has been to cast a cloak of secrecy over his own enterprise. Keeping Christians confused over who the real enemy is has been one of his most effective weapons in his ongoing attempt to destroy the work of God on earth.

     If this volume had been written for the 21st century and subsequently addressed the issues found in the present circumstances of the world, I think it would look very similar to my newest work. My newest book is written in the genre of fiction, consists of a series of lectures given by demonic luminaries, and details from a demonic perspective Satan's strategies and tactics to destroy the work of God on earth. The title is Lectures from the Gates of Hell. I hope you find it enticing, provocative, and sobering.