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Martin Luther special on PBS
Public Broadcasting System (PBS) ^ | July 9, 2003 | PBS

Posted on 07/09/2003 9:05:32 PM PDT by AnalogReigns

Documentary was shown on various PBS stations this week... (you know PBS--will be on again, surely--got to get something out of those tax dollars spent). It's worth taping...

Very good portrayal in my opinion...but downplayed his theology, mainly highlighting the social consequences of what Luther discovered in the Bible. Understandable when telling about such an important historic figure in just 2 hours.

Personally, I think, but for Luther's courage, there would have been no eventual United States of America...and we'd live in a very different world...

Here's the speil from PBS's site:

Martin Luther (#101)
"Driven to Defiance/The Reluctant Revolutionary"

Driven to Defiance - Martin Luther is born into a world dominated by the Catholic Church. For the keenly spiritual Luther, the Church's promise of salvation is irresistible. Caught in a thunderstorm and terrified by the possibility of imminent death, he vows to become a monk. But after entering the monastery, Luther becomes increasingly doubtful that the Church can actually offer him salvation. His views crystallize further when he travels to Rome and finds the capital of Catholicism swamped in corruption. Wracked by despair, Luther finds release in the pages of the Bible, discovering that it is not the Church, but his own individual faith that will guarantee his salvation. With this revelation he turns on the Church. In his famous 95 Theses he attacks its practice of selling Indulgences, putting himself on an irreversible path to conflict with the most powerful institution of the day. The Reluctant Revolutionary - The Catholic Church uses all of its might to try and silence Luther, including accusations of heresy and excommunication. Protected by his local ruler, Frederick the Wise, Luther continues to write radical critiques of the Church. In the process, he develops a new system of faith that places the freedom of the individual believer above the rituals of the Church. Aided by the newly invented printing press, his ideas spread rapidly. He is called before the German Imperial Parliament in the city of Worms and told he must recant. Risking torture and execution, Luther refuses, proclaiming his inalienable right to believe what he wishes. His stand becomes a legend that inspires revolution across Europe, overturning the thousand-year-old hegemony of the Church. But as the reformation expands into a movement for social freedom, Luther finds himself overwhelmed by the pace of change and is left vainly protesting that his followers should be concerning themselves with God.


TOPICS: Announcements; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Germany; Miscellaneous; Philosophy; Unclassified
KEYWORDS: christianity; conscience; courage; democracy; evangelicalism; faith; freedom; luther; martinluther; pbs; protestantism; romancatholicism; westerncivilization
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Was a terrific documentary, especially for PBS...apparently originally made for the BBC. Well worth taping for show to students of all ages. Sorry I didn't post this a couple days ago to give folks notice--however, PBS will no doubt be playing this several times in the next week or so, just check your local schedule (example, its playing on WETA in the Washington DC area tonight on July 10 at 4 AM.... another reason why not to let the VCR just blink 12:00 all the time).

"I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen."--Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, while under direct threat of being burned alive.

1 posted on 07/09/2003 9:05:33 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: All
Lighten Up, Francis!
Fundraising posts only happen quarterly, and are gone as soon as we meet the goal. Help make it happen.

2 posted on 07/09/2003 9:07:38 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: AnalogReigns
It was not too bad, but it missed Luther's main points which were not about conscience nor liberty of individual conscience (I think some of the pompous talking heads in this show would cast Luther as a homosexual rights supporter) but about the authority and veracity of the Scriptures and the sufficiency of faith in Christ alone for salvation. I did not see any conservative / confessional Lutheran scholars interviewed. A shame. Luther was about discovering and espousing correct theology and really meaning it (enough to die for it).
3 posted on 07/09/2003 9:14:45 PM PDT by old-ager
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To: AnalogReigns
If I can point out the following plegde amounts for public broadcasting. It's pledge time at FreeRepublic (hint, hint) Please do what you can...

Average per-person contribution in current dollars 1980 1999
Public radio $24.84 $73.22
Public television $30.12 $77.05
Source: Corporation for Public Broadcasting
4 posted on 07/09/2003 9:15:52 PM PDT by Drango (Just 5 a day will end pledge drives on FreeRepublic.)
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To: AnalogReigns
Some other quotes by Martin Luther, mostly from "Luther's Table Talk":

"God does not work salvation for fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin vigorously.... Do not for a moment imagine that this life is the abiding place of justice; sin must be committed."

"As for the demented, I hold it certain that all beings deprived of reason are thus afflicted only by the Devil."

"I feel much freer now that I am certain the pope is the Antichrist."

"Idiots, the lame, the blind, the dumb, are men in whom the devils have established themselves: and all the physicians who heal these infirmities, as though they proceeded from natural causes, are ignorant blockheads...."

"Snakes and monkeys are subjected to the demon more than other animals. Satan lives in them and possesses them. He uses them to deceive men and to injure them."

"The Devil, too, sometimes steals human children; it is not infrequent for him to carry away infants within the first six weeks after birth, and to substitute in their place imps...."

"We are at fault for not slaying them [the Jews]."

"Listen, Jew, are you aware that Jerusalem and your sovereignty, together with your temple and priesthood, have been destroyed for over 1,460 years? ... Let the Jews bite on this nut and dispute this question as long as they wish ... I am not a Jew, but I really do not like to contemplate God's awful wrath toward this people. It sends a shudder of fear through body and soul, for I ask, What will the eternal wrath of God in hell be like ..." (from "on the Jews and their lies").

"be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils" (from: "on the Jews and their lies").

"We may well lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time it is only a devil in the shape of a woman."

"What shall we do with...the Jews?...I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews."

"Women...have but small and narrow chests, and broad hips, to the end that they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children."

5 posted on 07/09/2003 9:25:42 PM PDT by TheCrusader
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To: TheCrusader
Now we would not want to change the subject and bring up some tasty quotes from the popes. I had to chuckle, as I watched the PBS Luther show tonight, at the painting of the pope and his "nephews."
6 posted on 07/09/2003 9:32:19 PM PDT by reflecting
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To: TheCrusader
I don't really know your point, except to discredit a man for holding common attitudes to those of medieval central Europeans of nearly 500 years ago.

Luther has no peer in bringing wonderful change to the Western world, including seeding concepts of democracy which first sprouted and bloomed in America.

Bringing up silly remarks say about women, or demonology (from a time when the most educated people thought in ways about heath laughable today)by Luther is as unhelpful as say bringing up racist remarks by Jefferson or Lincoln--which they had quite a few. Such anachronistic attitudes don't tarnish the greatness of their other way more substantial contributions.
7 posted on 07/09/2003 9:48:01 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: AnalogReigns
Yes, let's not let the truth about Luther get in the way of a good story.
8 posted on 07/09/2003 10:08:44 PM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
Luther, one of the aritechs of liberalsm(Not the modern day leftist form).
9 posted on 07/09/2003 11:11:52 PM PDT by John Will
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To: AnalogReigns
"I don't really know your point, except to discredit a man for holding common attitudes to those of medieval central Europeans of nearly 500 years ago."

I'm sorry to hear you believe that rubbish about Luther being responsible for democracy, and the founding of America. Martin Luther was a horribly abused child, beaten bloody by both of his parents. He grew up angry, confused, and so utterly afraid of Hell that he invented his own doctrine on salvation, ('sola scriptura' and 'sola fide'), that morphed into the heretical "eternal security", a horrendous proposition that is foreign to Scripture, the writings of the early Church Fathers, and the more than 1,500 years of Christian doctrine that predated Luther's heresies. This madman has led the greatest division in Christianity ever, and his heresies have developed into more than 25,000 different Protestant denominations, each teaching a different doctrine, and each claiming they alone hold the truth.

Luther arrogantly addmitted that he added words to the Bible, an egregious sin in itself. His doctrine of "faith alone" cannot be found in Scripture, and is demolished by the words "NOT by faith alone" in James 2:20. It is no coincidence that Luther attempted to strike the Book of James from the canon of the New Testament, (at least he failed in that heresy). However, Luther only resentfully accepted James as Scripture, and he labeled James (in his 1522 German translation of the New Testament) as the "Epistle of Straw".

Sadly, Luther did manage to strike seven books from the canon of the Old Testament, a codification of Scriptural books that was listed in 393 A.D. at the Council of Hippo, and again in 397 A.D. at the Council of Carthage. This early codification of Scripture, though not yet officially "canonized" at the time, had been used and read in the Christian Church since the 1st Century A.D. The Council of Laodicea in 363 A.D. listed the Old Testament books exactly as the Catholic Church codifies them today.

A little history on the Old Testament: ~ Greek was the language of the day during the time of Christ. The Hebrew language was on its way out, and there was a critical need for a translation of the Hebrew Old Testament for dispersed Greek speaking Jews. This translation, called the "Septuagint", was completed by Jewish scholars in about 148 B.C. and it had all of the books still used by the Catholic Church during Luther's life, and today. But Luther, 1650 years later, decided he had the authority to remove seven of these books. The oldest Christian churches, (Greek, Syrian, etc), used this 148 B.C. Old Testament canon from the beginning of Christianity, and still use it today. The New Testament has about 350 references to Old Testament verses. By careful examination, scholars have determined that 300 of these are from the Septuagint. They have shown that Jesus Christ Himself, quoted from the Septuagint. Early Christians used the Septuagint to support Christian teachings. The Jews were upset that these new Christians were using their translation for Christian advantage.

About 90-95 A.D., the Jews, (Pharisees), called a council to deal with the matter. In this council, called the "Council of Jamnia", Jewish Pharisees, who survived the destruction of Jerusalem and of their temple in 70 A.D., decided to remove books that were helpful to Christians. But the Christians kept them faithfully, until 1650 years later when Martin Luther, fulfilling the Pharisaic desires, decided to remove them from Protestant Scripture.

While Martin Luther condemned the Papacy as non-scriptural, he was a pope unto himself as he arrogantly granted himself the power to add words and strip away seven books from Christian Scripture. He even determined that some of the seven Sacraments were authentic, and others were not. Talk about the abuse of power, where did he get such authority from? Founding his own church, (a church that even calls itself by his name, "Lutheran"), this man was nothing but a great divider.

Luther was unquestionably a madman, as he clearly displayed in his instigation of the "Peasant Uprising". In his first writings, where he called the princes "the greatest fools on earth and the most heinous scoundrels," and in his first appeals relative to the Peasant War, Luther defended the insurgents. He wrote, for instance, "It is not the peasants who arose against you masters, but God himself, who wishes to punish you for your evil doings." Luther hoped to find in the peasant movement a support for his struggle against Rome. But when, in April and May, the peasantry revolted all over the country, burning and destroying castles, Luther switched sides and defended the princes against the peasants. He attributed the movement to the peasants' "easy life". He urged the princes to "strangle them as you would mad dogs." When the insurrection was quelled, he bragged that he "had killed the peasants because he had given the orders to kill." "All their blood is upon me," he said.

Luther also tore the Church asunder at a time when the Mohammedans were threatening to attack and destroy Western Christianity. And this guy is your hero?

10 posted on 07/10/2003 8:04:36 AM PDT by TheCrusader
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To: TheCrusader
"We may well lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time it is only a devil in the shape of a woman."

Now hold on. He may have something with this one.

11 posted on 07/10/2003 8:26:05 AM PDT by tnlibertarian
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To: reflecting
"Now we would not want to change the subject and bring up some tasty quotes from the popes."

The "Prince of the Apostles" and first Pope, Saint Peter, was a sinner. He denied Christ three times. Other Popes were known to sin too. Some usurpers even had to be deemed "anti Popes". There are no Christians who didn't sin, for that matter. But what does this prove? The argument is not whether individual Popes were sinners, (for they all were), it's whether or not they taught heresy regarding Christian doctrine and lead souls astray. While some Popes absolutely fell prey to sin, they were always protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching doctrinal error that would led a soul the hell. Jesus Christ Himself prayed that Peter's faith would never fail, and commissioned Peter to "strengthen his brethren". "but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren." (Luke 22: 32-33). Three times Jesus commissioned Peter to teach and strenghten Christians in their faith: "feed my sheep - feed my sheep - feed my lambs" (John 21: 15). And Jesus gave Peter the Keys to the Kingdom and granted him the power to "bind and loose". "19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.". (Mathew 16:19).

There are a lot of fallicies out there regarding the office of the Pope, the greatest being that Catholics think the Popes cannot sin or ever be wrong. They can sin, and they can be wrong in just about every area of life - all but the essential doctrines of Jesus Christ, those things which Christians must believe in order to have salvation. In other words, those essential things revealed in Scripture and oral Tradition that Christians have believed from the beginning, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by epistle. (2 Thess. 2:15).

So the message is quite simple, while both the Popes and Martin Luther were sinners, Martin Luther broke from Christian traditions and from Christian Scripture and taught new doctrines, (heresy). Had Luther, the very founder of Protestantism and of whom his church is named after, the Lutheran Church, had successors I would have focused only on his heretical quotes and not also on his mad rantings and ravings and hatreds. But since he is the father of Protestantism, and since he establshed his own paralell Christian Church minus some original doctrines and sacraments, and since he is not seen in Scripture speaking with Jesus, and since he is not mentioned in Scripture prophesy as some future rescuer of Christianity gone astray, I decided to focus on both his doctrinal errors and his cruelty and insanity.

12 posted on 07/10/2003 8:45:53 AM PDT by TheCrusader
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To: AnalogReigns
It was very well done, even if very much a product of these times (emphasis on individualism, technological change and corporate analogies (Tetzel as "ad man", Rome as "corporate headquarters").

I didn't expect in depth treatment of his theology because, well, one has to be a theist to begin with before the finer points of Christian doctrine can be understood and examined. Still, nice to see a conservative, evangelical Anglican like Alistair McGrath given a prominent role in the commentary.

13 posted on 07/10/2003 8:55:57 AM PDT by ameribbean expat
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To: old-ager; MudPuppy
but about the authority and veracity of the Scriptures and the sufficiency of faith in Christ alone for salvation

Oh yeah, those Scriptures...where did he get those again? Oh! Now I know. The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Doh!

14 posted on 07/10/2003 9:48:54 AM PDT by Truelove (Armed, Intelligent and Catholic. Your worst nightmare.)
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To: TheCrusader
that morphed into the heretical "eternal security", a horrendous proposition that is foreign to Scripture

Okay. This shows you don't know what you're talking about. Lutherans don't believe in "eternal security"--they believe you can commit spiritual suicide and lose your salvation (see Hebrews 6:1-4). How can something Luther-- and Lutherans to this day--deny ("once saved, always saved") be the groundwork for "morphing?"

It can't. You're wrong. 'Fess up.

15 posted on 07/10/2003 9:55:41 AM PDT by Colofornian
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To: TheCrusader
I'm a Lutheran myself and have on occasion come dangerously close to espousing catholic tradition. Thankfully there are always good folks as yourself to put things back into perspective for me.
16 posted on 07/10/2003 9:56:42 AM PDT by homeschool_dad
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To: TheCrusader
Here's my choice: follow Christ to heaven or the pope to hell. Ummmmmm...... any guess which one I'll be choosing?
17 posted on 07/10/2003 9:59:12 AM PDT by homeschool_dad
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To: Truelove
Did the church invent Jesus, too?

Dan
18 posted on 07/10/2003 10:02:47 AM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: homeschool_dad

The beauty of Luther is his writing. If you can find collections of his daily devotions, they are worth the effort. Amazon has several offerings, but you usually have to wait for them as they are in great demand. My favorite is Steadfast in the Word, but they are all clear and personal expositions of the faith.
19 posted on 07/10/2003 10:08:20 AM PDT by kittymyrib
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To: TheCrusader
Luther was unquestionably a madman

Luther was unquestionably a spiritual man.

"The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgments." (1 Cor. 2:15).

"...why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat." (Romans 14:10)

"It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time..." (1 Cor. 4:4)

As for faith alone vs. faith & works, works are the outcroppings of having been planted in the fertile soil of faith. You can fault Luther for having swung the pendulum too far as being overreactionary to the (then) Catholic teaching of salvation by works (indulgences).

But the equation is not simply faith + works = salvation, either. James just says they're integral. They go together. Works are evidential of faith; but works apart from faith--as the Catholic church was infamous for in Luther's day--is indeed straw to be burnt up at the last day.

20 posted on 07/10/2003 10:13:16 AM PDT by Colofornian
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