Skip to comments.Luther & the Reformation
Posted on 10/31/2011 1:04:53 PM PDT by RnMomof7
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther tacked up 95 theses on the church door at Wittenberg. With this act, he hoped to provoke a discussion among the scholars about the abuses of the indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. He was not trying to create a public furor by any means, but within a fortnight, these theses had spread through the country like wildfire. The last thing Luther had in mind was to start some kind of major controversy, but nevertheless major controversy did begin.
From the discussions at Wittenberg, the disputations began to accelerate and escalate. Copies of the theses reached Rome and critical meetings were scheduled with the young monk. In these debates, Luther was maneuvered into proclaiming publicly that he had questions about the infallibility of church councils and also that he thought that it was possible that the pope could err. In 1520 a papal encyclical was issued which condemned Martin Luther as a heretic. Luther burned the document in a public bonfire and his defiance before the church was now a matter of record.
In response, Martin Luther picked up his pen to challenge the entire penitential system of the Roman Catholic Church, which undermined in principle the free remission of sins that is ours in the gospel. By doing so, he was unswervingly advocating his commitment to sola fide, the doctrine of justification by faith alone.
In 1521, Luther was summoned to the Imperial Diet, an authoritative meeting that involved the princes of the church, called by the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire to be held in the city of Worms in Germany. Luther was an outlaw. For him to appear at the Diet was to risk his very life; therefore, he was given safe conduct by the Emperor to attend. With a few friends, Luther traveled from Wittenberg to Worms. The eyewitnesses of that episode tell us that when Luthers little covered wagon appeared around the corner of the bend, there were lookouts posted in the church tower at Worms. All the people were agog waiting for the arrival of this notorious person. When Luthers caravan was sighted, people were throwing their hats in the air, blowing trumpets, and creating all the fanfare of the arrival of the hero. It was the 16th century answer to a ticker-tape parade.
Things, however, became very solemn in a hurry because the next day he appeared before the Diet. His books were stacked on a table in the room, and he was asked and ordered to recant of his writings. This surprised Luther because he thought he was going to have an opportunity to defend his writings; but the only question really of any importance that was asked of him was this: "Are these your writings?" And when he said yes, they said, "Are you ready to recant of them?"
Hollywood has their version of Luther standing there boldly with his fist in the air saying, "Here I stand!" and so on. But instead he dropped his chin on his chest and muttered something that nobody could understand, so they asked him to speak up. "What did you say?" He said, "May I have 24 hours to think about it." And so Luther was granted a reprieve of 24 hours to return to his room to contemplate the seriousness of this occasion.
The prayer that Luther wrote in that ensuing 24-hour period was one of the most moving prayers I have ever read in my life. In that prayer, Luther cried out for God in his sense of total loneliness fearing that God had abandoned him, and proclaimed, "O Lord, I am Thine, and the cause is Thine, give me the courage to stand."
And on the morrow, Luther was called once again back to the court and was told to reply to the question. He said to the Diet, "Unless I am convinced by sacred scripture or by evident reason, I cannot recant, for my conscience is held captive by the Word of God, and to act against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me." And with that there was an instant uproar.
The Emperor himself later indicated his regret that he even gave Luther a safe conduct, and immediately put a new price on his head. As Luther was leaving the city, his friends staged a kidnapping to protect him and took him away in a fast horse through the forest. They hid him for a year in Wartburg at the castle disguised as a knight. During that year, Luther undertook the task of translating the Bible from the biblical languages into German. And that perhaps was his most important legacy of that time - that he made the Bible available to the common people. And with that the Reformation was born.
Bookmark for more complete read and contemplation to its significance to my own weak and at times wavering faith in Christ alone.
It didn’t work out well for Jan Hus a century earlier.
..”Lord please increase my faith”
Did you know that someone said to Luther ..”you mean we are saved by just having faith”...Luther replied ..”who said faith is easy”...
Thank you for posting this!
R.C. Sproul ping!
Faith Alone is not in the bible, I believe? In my own personal study of the text I haven’t come across it. Please correct me if I’m incorrect. :)
Catholic translations prior to Luther spoke of faith alone at Romans 3:28. Hence, the Nuremberg Bible of 1483 had “allein durch den glauben,” while the Italian Bibles of Geneva in 1476 and even 1538 had “per sola fede.”
Some Luther quotes on this
If your papist wishes to make a great fuss about the word sola (alone), say this to him: “Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and he says that a papist and a donkey are the same thing.” For we are not going to be students and disciples of the papists. Rather, we will become their teachers and judges. For once, we also are going to be proud and brag, with these blockheads; and just as Paul brags against his mad raving saints, I will brag against these donkeys of mine! Are they doctors? So am I. Are they scholars? So am I. Are they preachers? So am I. Are they theologians? So am I. Are they debaters? So am I. Are they philosophers? So am I. Are they logicians? So am I. Do they lecture? So do I. Do they write books? So do I.
I will go even further with my boasting: I can expound the psalms and the prophets, and they cannot. I can translate, and they cannot. I can read the Holy Scriptures, and they cannot. I can pray, they cannot. Coming down to their level, I can use their rhetoric and philosophy better than all of them put together. Plus I know that not one of them understands his Aristotle. If any one of them can correctly understand one preface or chapter of Aristotle, I will eat my hat! No, I am not overdoing it, for I have been schooled in and have practiced their science from my youth. I recognize how deep and broad it is. They, too, are well aware that I can do everything they can do. Yet they treat me as a stranger in their discipline, these incurable fellows, as if I had just arrived this morning and had never seen or heard what they teach and know. How they do brilliantly parade around with their science, teaching me what I outgrew twenty years ago! To all their noise and shouting I sing, with the harlot, “I have known for seven years that horseshoe nails are iron.”
Let this be the answer to your first question. Please do not give these donkeys any other answer to their useless braying about that word sola than simply this: “Luther will have it so, and he says that he is a doctor above all the doctors of the pope.” Let it rest there. I will from now on hold them in contempt, and have already held them in contempt, as long as they are the kind of people (or rather donkeys) that they are.
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (KJV)
But what law is referred to here in this passage?
Rom. 5:1, "therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,"
Romans 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
Gal. 2:16, "nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified."
Phil. 3:9, "and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith."
What Catholic translations would these be? Care to specify?
The Vulgate has this:
“arbitramur enim iustificari hominem per fidem sine operibus legis”
per fidem. Not sola fidem. Sola appears nowhere in the Latin.
Might be useful to read” Hitlers Pope “
or maybe look at the current pope that was a member of the Hitler Youth movement
I was a Catholic child in Catholic schools post WW II and I was taught the Jews crucified Christ..and it was not taught with “love”
Let he that is without sin cast the 1st stone
That just points out that God does great things to His glory with sometimes evil men. One would be long engaged to discover all the instances where His greatness was illustrated through wicked men. Even evil countries, dictators, and religions.
You have access to the original bibles from1400-1500 ??? You must have some library
I seem to remember a man chosen by Jesus denying Him 3 times...
Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all [things] for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
I have a Clementine Vulgate and a Douay Rheims Challoner revision.
My library, alas, is far more sparse than it used to be. I left my books behind two years ago, and kept only those which were necessary.
Did he join voluntarily?
I listen to the book “The Reformation” that describes the mind of Martin Luther and the thoughts and actions of those that followed.
At one time Luther went into seclusion and became severely constipated. He was Quoted as saying “My arse is broke”
Look at it for yourself. Top of the page.
The Gutenberg Bible, (which is not the one that Luther used), and is older than Erasmus’s revision, does not say sola fide. It says exactly the same thing as the Clementine vulgate.
So yes, the revision did not change this crucial passage. :)
Now I have to go see if I can find a scan of an erasmus bible so I can show you exactly what Luther would have read.
haha, based on what you know of the Catholic Faith, you ought to immediately contact that Catholic school and get your parent’s tuition money back. they had to be the worse nuns ever, you are entitled to a full refund ( that is if you ever did really attend Catholic schools, based on the statements that are posted, anyone who know anything about what the Church REALLY teaches have every right to wonder if you are being truthful )
The original Greek did not have monos, the word for "alone" in that verse.
Reading Luther led me to leave Lutheranism.
Here’s a great quote from Luther for my Evangelical friends from his Small Catechism.
How Christians should be taught to confess.
What is Confession?*
Confession embraces two parts: the one is, that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor, as from God Himself, and in no wise doubt, but firmly believe, that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.
What sins should we confess?
Before God we should plead guilty of all sins, even of those which we do not know, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. But before the confessor we should confess those sins alone which we know and feel in our hearts.
Which are these?
Here consider your station according to the Ten Commandments, whether you are a father, mother, son, daughter, master, mistress, a man-servant or maid-servant; whether you have been disobedient, unfaithful, slothful; whether you have grieved any one by words or deeds; whether you have stolen, neglected, or wasted aught, or done other injury.
Pray, Propose to Me a Brief Form of Confession.
You should speak to the confessor thus: Reverend and dear sir, I beseech you to hear my confession, and to pronounce forgiveness to me for God’s sake.
I, a poor sinner, confess myself before God guilty of all sins; especially I confess before you that I am a man-servant, a maidservant, etc. But, alas, I serve my master unfaithfully; for in this and in that I have not done what they commanded me; I have provoked them, and caused them to curse, have been negligent [in many things] and permitted damage to be done; have also been immodest in words and deeds, have quarreled with my equals, have grumbled and sworn at my mistress, etc. For all this I am sorry, and pray for grace; I want to do better.
A master or mistress may say thus:
In particular I confess before you that I have not faithfully trained my children, domestics, and wife [family] for God’s glory. I have cursed, set a bad example by rude words and deeds, have done my neighbor harm and spoken evil of him, have overcharged and given false ware and short measure.
And whatever else he has done against God’s command and his station, etc.
But if any one does not find himself burdened with such or greater sins, he should not trouble himself or search for or invent other sins, and thereby make confession a torture, but mention one or two that he knows. Thus: In particular I confess that I once cursed; again, I once used improper words, I have once neglected this or that, etc. Let this suffice.
But if you know of none at all (which, however is scarcely possible), then mention none in particular, but receive the forgiveness upon your general confession which you make before God to the confessor.
Then shall the confessor say:
God be merciful to thee and strengthen thy faith! Amen.
Dost thou believe that my forgiveness is God’s forgiveness?
Yes, dear sir.
Then let him say:
As thou believest, so be it done unto thee. And by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ I forgive thee thy sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Depart in peace.
But those who have great burdens upon their consciences, or are distressed and tempted, the confessor will know how to comfort and to encourage to faith with more passages of Scripture. This is to be merely a general form of confession for the unlearned.
* These questions may not have been composed by Luther himself but reflect his teachings and were included in editions of the Small Catechism during his lifetime.
From Luther’s Smalcald Articles:
Part III, Article VIII. Of Confession.
1] Since Absolution or the Power of the Keys is also an aid and consolation against sin and a bad conscience, ordained by Christ [Himself] in the Gospel, Confession or Absolution ought by no means to be abolished in the Church, especially on account of [tender and] timid consciences and on account of the untrained [and capricious] young people, in order that they may be examined, and instructed in the Christian doctrine.
2] But the enumeration of sins ought to be free to every one, as to what he wishes to enumerate or not to enumerate. For as long as we are in the flesh, we shall not lie when we say: “I am a poor man [I acknowledge that I am a miserable sinner], full of sin.” Rom. 7:23: I see another law in my members, etc. For since private absolution originates in the Office of the Keys, it should not be despised [neglected], but greatly and highly esteemed [of the greatest worth], as [also] all other offices of the Christian Church.
3] And in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through or with the preceding outward Word, in order that we may [thus] be protected against the enthusiasts, i.e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word, and accordingly judge Scripture or the spoken Word, and explain and stretch it at their pleasure, as Muenzer did, and many still do at the present day, who wish to be acute judges between the Spirit and the letter, and yet know not what they say or declare. 4] For [indeed] the Papacy also is nothing but sheer enthusiasm, by which the Pope boasts that all rights exist in the shrine of his heart, and whatever he decides and commands with [in] his church is spirit and right, even though it is above and contrary to Scripture and the spoken Word.
5] All this is the old devil and old serpent, who also converted Adam and Eve into enthusiasts, and led them from the outward Word of God to spiritualizing and self-conceit, and nevertheless he accomplished this through other outward words. 6] Just as also our enthusiasts [at the present day] condemn the outward Word, and nevertheless they themselves are not silent, but they fill the world with their pratings and writings, as though, indeed, the Spirit could not come through the writings and spoken word of the apostles, but [first] through their writings and words he must come. Why [then] do not they also omit their own sermons and writings, until the Spirit Himself come to men, without their writings and before them, as they boast that He has come into them without the preaching of the Scriptures? But of these matters there is not time now to dispute at greater length; we have elsewhere sufficiently urged this subject.
7] For even those who believe before Baptism, or become believing in Baptism, believe through the preceding outward Word, as the adults, who have come to reason, must first have heard: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, even though they are at first unbelieving, and receive the Spirit and Baptism ten years afterwards. 8] Cornelius, Acts 10:1ff , had heard long before among the Jews of the coming Messiah, through whom he was righteous before God, and in such faith his prayers and alms were acceptable to God (as Luke calls him devout and God-fearing), and without such preceding Word and hearing could not have believed or been righteous. But St. Peter had to reveal to him that the Messiah (in whom, as one that was to come, he had hitherto believed) now had come, lest his faith concerning the coming Messiah hold him captive among the hardened and unbelieving Jews, but know that he was now to be saved by the present Messiah, and must not, with the [rabble of the] Jews deny nor persecute Him.
9] In a word, enthusiasm inheres in Adam and his children from the beginning [from the first fall] to the end of the world, [its poison] having been implanted and infused into them by the old dragon, and is the origin, power [life], and strength of all heresy, especially of that of the Papacy and Mahomet. 10] Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. 11] It is the devil himself whatsoever is extolled as Spirit without the Word and Sacraments. For God wished to appear even to Moses through the burning bush and spoken Word; and no prophet neither Elijah nor Elisha, received the Spirit without the Ten Commandments [or spoken Word]. 12] Neither was John the Baptist conceived without the preceding word of Gabriel, nor did he leap in his mother’s womb without the voice of Mary. 13] And Peter says, 2 Pet. 1:21: The prophecy came not by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Without the outward Word, however, they were not holy, much less would the Holy Ghost have moved them to speak when they still were unholy [or profane]; for they were holy, says he, since the Holy Ghost spake through them.
Just because you had a junior high Catholic theological education does not mean you actually understand Catholic theology.
Hallowe'en (with facts and recipes)
How Halloween Can Be Redeemed (from Catholic Update)
History of Halloween
Bishops Halloween Advice: Dress Children Up as Saints, Not Witches
Halloween (CNA Video)
All Hallows' Eve
Celebrating 'All Hallows Eve' and the 'Feast of All Saints' in a Pre-Christian West
Halloween Prayers: Prayers and Collects for All Hallows Eve
Holiday Hysteria (a Christian defense of Halloween)
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Thank you for posting. Luther was such a brave yet human person.
one can’t help but wonder what Luther would think of the 30,000 different sects, all teaching and sowing confusion. we went from one pope to millions of popes.
Try divisive. Luther could have been a saint had he fought to reform the Catholic Church instead of founding a new religion.
There wasn’t a Protestant Reformation. There was a Protestant Revolution that had more in common with the French Revolution than the Catholic Reformation that took place 50 years later.
One cannot attack Luther for not reforming a corrupt church that sold indulgences. Luther was just lucky he survived. You have to blame the Catholic Church itself. I also fail to see how that constituted a “french revolution”. People were finally able to read a Bible (thanks to Luther’s translation) and simply escape a corrupt church.
The Catholic Church is a great institution today but in those days it was powerful and evil. So do you admit that the Catholic Church was corrupt in selling indulgences?
"Luther was just lucky he survived."
"People were finally able to read a Bible (thanks to Luthers translation) and simply escape a corrupt church."
Now, that's just sad, and you're embarrassing yourself. There were several German translations available before Luther was even born. As I recall them, the Augsburg, Wentzel, Strasbourg, and several others. In fact there was a proto-German or Goth translation around 350-400 AD. The printing press made it possible for people to "finally read" the Bible because more people could afford one, and in spite of what the propaganda you bought into might have told you, Luther did not invent the printing press. In addition, the very low percentage of people who could read were taught Latin anyway, it was the universal academic language for all academic disciplines at the time.
So, I can tell you enjoy your fantasy but if you really must have fantasy in your life to be happy it would be far less dangerous for your immortal soul for you to stick to fantasies about dragons and maidens and stick to the Truth when it comes to Christ and Christianity.
That’s a myth. I don’t understand why Protestants continue to believe them. Maybe they’re afraid of becoming Catholic like I did.
Most people couldn’t even read. Luther’s translation of the Bible was so corrupted that the Protestant Church in Germany later discarded it because it wasn’t even a real translation.
Luther added the word “alein” in Romans when it’s not present in the Greek. Not to mention, he dropped James, Jude, Hebrews, and Revelation from his translation and called them “apocryphal.”
Do you think these books are apocryphal? Luther thought they were.
The selling of indulgences is a canard, considering it was banned by the Council of Trent.
The Church needed genuine reform, not a revolution.
We don’t have the Church alone to blame for the Protestant Revolution because a lot of kings and princes saw Protestantism as a convenient way to get out of paying taxes.
Protestantism amounted to the rejection of the Church that Christ founded and the founding of a new religion outside of the Body of Christ, which is the Catholic Church.
The notion of private interpretation of scripture paved the way for the Enlightenment and the decline of Christianity in Western civilization.
CS Lewis’s friend Hilaire Belloc observes in his book Great Heresies (http://www.ewtn.com/library/doctrine/heresy.htm):
It is of first importance to appreciate this historical truth. Only a few of the most bitter or ardent Reformers set out to destroy Catholicism as a separate existing thing of which they were conscious and which they hated. Still less did most of the Reformers set out to erect some other united counter-religion.
They set out (as they themselves put it and as it had been put for a century and a half before the great upheaval) “to reform.” They professed to purify the Church and restore it to its original virtues of directness and simplicity. They professed in their various ways (and the various groups of them differed in almost everything except their increasing reaction against unity) to get rid of excrescences, superstitions and historical falsehoods-of which, heaven knows, there was a multitude for them to attack.
On the other side, during this period of the Reformation, the defence of orthodoxy was occupied, not so much in destroying a specific thing (such as the spirit of Protestantism is today), as in restoring unity. For at least sixty years, even on to eighty years-more than the full active lifetime of even a long-lived man-the two forces at work, Reform and Conservatism, were of this nature: interlocked, each affecting the other and each hoping to become universal at last.
so ... do you defend the selling of indulgences back then?
You think that is funny? Are you also defending the selling of indulgences?
You are throwing a red herring. Corruption deserved reform, not a revolution and the creation of a new religion.
Protestantism has nothing in common with the Christianity that emerged from Judaism. Or the Christianity of the Roman martyrs.
It’s objectively a revisionist form of Christian faith that would have been foreign to 1st and 2nd century believers.
There’s not much difference from the Mormon belief in the Great Apostasy and the idea that authentic Christianity went underground early on only to be magically rediscovered by the 16th century’s Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (namely Martin Luther and John Calvin).
Anyone who wants to know the truth already knows that anyone who even tried to sell indulgences was condemned in advance by the Catholic Church and that Luther laughed and bragged about spreading the lie that the selling of indulgences was a common practice.
You obviously agree with lies that you like the same way those folks who believe in the Al Gore Warming Scam agree with lies that further their cause. Now I know where you're coming from and that you're a waste of time. Enjoy repeating lies all you like but don't complain about the consequences.
That’s like denying the holocaust. Trying to discuss this with militant people like you is futile. It’s like discussing something with a liberal who will ignore facts to argue for their “team”. Again - I am not attacking the modern era Catholic church. But the past is the past and indulgences were sold and and there was rappant corruption and evil in the Catholic Church in those days. Have a nice evening.
Faith so simple even a child can receive it - why the Lord says that, "unless we become like little children, we will miss it."
he said Who, but the devil, has granted such license of wresting the words of the holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures, that my body is the same as the sign of my body? or, that is is the same as it signifies? What language in the world ever spoke so? It is only then the devil, that imposes upon us by these fanatical men. --> only Calvin/Zwingli turned around what Christ had said
Remember that even Martin luther weighed in in favor of the True Presence in the Eucharist when he said:
All three accounts of the institution of the Lord's Supper in the Gospels (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-23) explicitly state that Jesus took BREAD, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying, "Take, eat; this [i.e., this BREAD, which I have just blessed and broken and am now giving to you] is my body." Jesus uses similar language in referring to "the cup" (of wine) as "his blood."... Perhaps the most explicit expression of this truth, however, is found in 1 Cor. 10:16-17, where Paul writes: "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread." Paul clearly says here that we all "partake" of "BREAD" when we receive the Lord's Supper--even as we also partake of and "participate in" the true body of Christ. And he says that we all "partake" of the wine (the cup), even as we also partake of the true blood of Christ. Similarly, in 1 Cor. 11:26, Paul says: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." Paul expressly states here ........................that those who eat this bread and drink this cup are also partaking of the true body and blood of Christ. So "real" is this participation in Christ's body and blood, in fact, that (according to Paul) those who partake of the bread and wine "in an unworthy manner" are actually guilty of "profaning the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Cor. 11:27). (Partaking of the Lord's Supper "in a worthy manner," of course, is not something that we "do" or "accomplish" on the basis of our "personal holiness" or "good works." It means receiving God's free and gracious gifts of life and forgiveness offered in the Lord's Supper in true repentance produced by the work of the Spirit through God's Law and in true faith in Christ and his promises produced by God's Spirit through the Gospel).
Who, but the devil, has granted such license of wresting the words of the holy Scripture?
Who ever read in the Scriptures, that my body is the same as the sign of my body?
or, that is is the same as it signifies? What language in the world ever spoke so?
It is only then the devil, that imposes upon us by these fanatical men.
|"Calvinism is the Gospel and to teach Calvinism is in fact to preach the Gospel."
Arthur C. Custance, The Sovereignty of Grace, 1979.
| "Calvinism is evangelicalism in its purest and only stable expression."
B.B. Warfield, Calvin and Augustine, ed. Samuel G. Craig, 1956.
|"We believe with the great Baptist preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, that Calvinism is just another name for Christianity."
John H. Gerstner, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth: A Critique of Dispensationalism, 1991.
thanks for pointing out the lack of the word “alone”...