A few weeks ago, Jack Otto (a friend in our congregation) asked me if I had seen a recent PBS special on Michelangelo? I hadn’t. Its titled “Michelangelo Revealed” and you can watch it on line HERE: (or click the PBS logo).
In any event, thanks to Jack’s largess in securing a DVD copy, I popped it in my player at home and was in for a treat. Without giving everything away (you really do need to watch it for yourself) it appears that Michelangelo became intimate with a group within the Roman Catholic Church called the “Spirituality” – which group had embraced the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and sought to reform the Church from within, even as Luther and others now outside were continuing their efforts at reform. The account is fantastic. One could easily conclude the great artist himself had come to embrace justification by faith before his death.
Now the work of this group – the “Spirituality” included publishing a little book titled “The Benefit of Christ’s Death.” This book clearly articulated justification by faith and may who were involved in its publication and distribution were eventually silenced by the Inquisition. Not the least of these were the book’s author.
I was so intrigued by the PBS special, I began to search out this title. It wasn’t long before I was rewarded with a page from Google Books. I was not disappointed. The salvation message was clear. But now I wanted to know more. My search ended at SOLID GROUND BOOKS and their reprint of this amazing little book, along with a biographical piece on the author – the little known (to us) scholar Aonio Paleario.
The biographical section reads a novel of high intrigue. And then, you get into this obviously ground-floor work wherein the author tries to call his Church back to the centrality of Christ, and the simple gospel of justification by faith alone in Christ alone.
My recommendation – watch the PBS special, and then get to SOLID GROUND BOOKS and order a copy of “The Italian Reformer – The Life and Martyrdom of Aonio Paleario and The Benefit of Christ’s Death.” You won’t be disappointed.