Skip to comments.Martin Luther special on 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.
"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.
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"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."
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?
Now hold on. He may have something with this one.
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.
Oh yeah, those Scriptures...where did he get those again? Oh! Now I know. The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Doh!
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.
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.