Martin Bucer

On February 27, 1551, Martin Bucer died at the age of sixty-one. While many leaders of the Protestant Reformation lived much shorter lives and died quite painful deaths, Bucer expired as an ill old man in his bed. Martin Bucer is a lesser known Reformer, but his kind leadership and thoughtful contributions were and are still expressly appreciated.

In a time when the word “Church” was being rethought and redefined, many Reformers felt a great burden to understand and apply only biblical features to the ancient institution – the Church. Martin Bucer was an incredible mind and voice on the subject, and his work “Concerning the True Care of Souls” was the Reformation handbook for pastoral ministers (Bucer called them the “carer of souls”).

Bucer, like all Protestant Reformers, understood that the Bible (the word of God) is the supreme source of Christian life and vitality. With lengthy and wordy prose, he wrote,

“Since all sickness and weakness in the Christian life stem from the weakness and ignorance of faith, and faith comes from the word of God… all strengthening of the weak and ailing sheep depends on the word of God being faithfully set forth to them…

And since the Lord, to promote the right understanding of His holy gospel – from which alone all godliness and blessedness come – has ordained the holy assemblies and practices of the church and has so earnestly commanded His people… to join and commit themselves to these assemblies and practices… they should [do so] with all diligence, listen eagerly to God’s word, … and be zealous and reverent in all the practices of the church.”[1]

In our own day, local assemblies and biblical teaching are much more taken for granted rather than treasured and esteemed. May God give us eyes to see the true value of that which we have been given for our great spiritual benefit.

May we prize God’s word, and may we delight in the fellowship of Christian community, which God’s powerful word creates and sustains.

[1] Bucer, M. (2009). Concerning the true care of souls (P. Beale, Trans.). Edinburgh: Carlisle, PA. 167-168.

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