Saturday, November 10, 2012

(Belated) Commemoration of Johann von Staupitz

On Thursday, November 8th, Christ's Church commemorated Johann von Staupitz, the 16th century Vicar general of the German Augustinians and the confessor and spiritual father to Martin Luther.

It is true that Staupitz never accepted the pure evangelical doctrines, and even wrote against them personally after the Reformation sped up, but his choices did help Luther to survive and continue his work of convincing others.  Likewise, his teaching on many levels was so influential for Luther, that the reformer claimed he would have sunk in to Hell had it not been for his father-confessor.  When the scrupulous monk came to his confessional Fr. Staupitz encouraged many Augustinian and Medieval devotions (ex. The Five Wounds) to help Luther understand God's love in Christ.  In the now famous Luther movie (2003) there was one scene that I felt depicted Staupitz acting out this role in an admirable way.

It is still not the full expression of sola fide to be sure, but in memory of von Staupitz, I hope and pray those without the pure gospel would nevertheless be led by good confessors as devoutly to Christ and his Word (the prayer is Psalm 119:94) as Luther was (in this depiction at the very least).

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