Donald K. McKim
Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Ky. 138 pages
Recently I participated in a gathering of Lutheran pastors embarking upon a yearlong celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The invited guest was an orthodox Jewish biblical scholar who was offering Christian pastors authentic ways to read and preach Scripture without being anti-Jewish. At the conclusion, the local bishop addressed the gathering with an earnest apology for the “ugly and despicable” things Martin Luther said about Jews, particularly in his last years. He emphasized that Lutherans give no ultimate allegiance to Luther or to any other human. In perhaps an unintended way, it was a comforting statement to hear that Luther, like all of us, was flawed and saw through a glass darkly. The flaws that each of us carry do not have to override the goodness that we also carry. In the case of Luther, his goodness includes the clarity and energy of his theological insights into Christ, the incarnation, grace and discipleship. Thankfully, Donald McKim has created this brief introduction to Luther’s thought through 95 days of brief readings from Luther accompanied by McKim’s reflections. It is a helpful devotional guide for those who want to enter into the heart of the man who, with his flaws, offered penetrating insights into the cross of Jesus Christ. Luther’s life may have ended on a sour, depressing note. Yet throughout his life he proclaimed grace as no other. That proclamation led to a Reformation and we would do well to listen to the one who dared such a bold proclamation at the risk of everything.