Skip to comments.A History of the Church: 1517 A.D. to the Present Protestantism and its Forms
Posted on 11/15/2006 10:40:30 AM PST by stfassisi
A History of the Church: 1517 A.D. to the Present Theology for the Laity Series Protestantism and its Forms by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Were now beginning our second semester in Church History and as you remember what we did was we went up to the beginning of the sixteenth century and we are now starting what is really called Modern History. Modern Church History begins with a rise of Protestantism. As I mentioned earlier I am giving you the pages from the Church History of Fr. John Laux that I understand is the pronunciation, and it covers in a very condensed form, all the main historical aspects of the rise of Protestantism, and of course, its effect on the Catholic Church. I will not go through this now; I am however expecting you people to read whats here. And what I would like to have you do is sort of give you some kind of a quiz at the end, say of the month before we meet again, remember, on October the ninth. Ill ask you to choose any single aspect of what you read here, dont just copy, but give me your own impressions, either about the rise of Protestantism, or about the major forms of Protestantism, namely Lutheranism, Calvinism, what is called Zwingalism and Anglicanism. I would ask you to share with me and make it as lengthy or detailed as you wish. I rather not ask specific questions, I would rather have you give me in your own words your understanding, of for example, Lutheranism or Anglicanism, but always its significance for the history of the Catholic Church. So that any title you choose, could be put in these words, the significance of whatever you choose, some aspects of Protestantism the significance of I repeat of Martin Luther, the significance of John Calvin, the significance of Thomas Cranmer, the significance of St. Thomas Moore. The significance of, and then you choose, either a person, or a movement, or a particular heresy, in other words, we are dealing with a countless number of subjects on which, not just thousands of books, but a whole library, has been written in the last four hundred years.
What I thought I would do during class today is to choose first to talk about Protestantism, and then within Protestantism the four principle forms of Protestantism how they differ from each other, and especially how they differ from Catholic Christianity.
Protestantism First then, Protestantism. The combination, Protestant Reformation, is found in all English written books, it is however not a Catholic idea, in fact it is contrary to authentic history. There was no Protestant Reformation. There was a Protestant revolution. And there was, thank God, a Catholic Reformation. And among the lights of the Catholic Reformation, surely one of the outstanding, except for whom I wouldnt be here, was St. Ignatius. In other words, the Protestant revolution began and the date every self respecting Catholic should know when Martin Luther nailed those ninety-five thesis to the church door of the Castle of Wittenberg, October the thirty-first 1517. And that really is the birthday of Protestantism. So the origins of Protestantism go back to the day that Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five thesis to the church door of the chapel at the castle of Wittenberg in Germany. His ninety-five thesis had become to be called a ninety-five statements some merely challenging Catholic teaching, others openly denying even revealed Catholic Truth. It then began, I repeat, on the evening before the Feast of All Saints, and Halloween has become a clowns day, an object of, well, of something to be laughed at because Martin Luther broke with the Catholic Church on that first Halloween of Protestantism. I repeat thirty-first of October 1517. From the very beginning, those who followed Martin Luther, and other leaders, as well see, they called themselves Protestants, and the reason they called themselves Protestants because they protested. They protested against the attempt to reunify the then Roman Empire which had been, for generations, united by having one faith. Those then who protested against acceptance of a single faith in the Roman Empire became, well, those who protest. Thats what the word Protestant means Protestors. And theyve never been embarrassed by the name ever since. They have remained protestors. Given that definition of Protestantism, weve got many more Protestants than we find in the books of the Protestant denominations.
First Principle Form of Protestantism - Sola Scriptura What are the essentials of Protestantism? It is not to know what some of those essentials are, because in over four hundred years, going on five hundred years, they have remained I would say, quite constant, in other words, those basic premises of Protestantism have not basically changed. And in Latin thats why they got started first sola scriptura: Scripture alone. How do we know Gods mind and will from Scripture alone? Sola scriptura, by Scripture alone. Only the written revealed word of God is necessary, not just for salvation, but to know everything that God wants us to both believe, and to do. It is all contained in the Bible. Historically, that position could not have, could not have been assumed, no way, until the discovery of print. Usually we assign about 14, 1465 as the beginning of the print age. And the first printed book, as I am sure we all know, was the Bible. Well, Luther and his followers identified all of Gods revelation with that written book. As over the years, Ive been telling people, the more bizarre, the more incredible, the stranger an idea is talk about human nature the more believers you are liable to get. Imagine claiming the law of God, revealed Truth, is in a written book. When until less than a century before the rise of Protestantism, there were no books in existence. There were manuscripts, but no books.
Second Principle Form of Protestantism - Solo Spiritu Second major premise of Protestantism, solo Spiritu, solo Spiritu. In Latin we see thats the opposite case by the Spirit alone. This answers the question, how, how do we come to understand or interpret the revealed word of God? Revealed where? Revealed in the Scriptures. How by the Spirit, and meaning by the Holy Spirit alone? By the first premise saying that all of Gods Revelation is contained in the Scriptures. What did Protestantism exclude? Sacred Tradition!
By the second premise claiming that all you need is the Holy Spirit to explain or interpret Gods revealed Word. What did they do? They excluded the authority of the Church. As John Calvin made so plain in his writings, it is the same Holy Spirit Who inspired Jeremiah to write, well, his prophesies Who is at my disposal to enable me to understand Jeremiah. And you dont need, you just dont need, a Church to tell you what either Jeremiah, or Matthew, or John, or any other sacred writer, is saying.
Third Principle Form of Protestantism - Solo Gratia Thirdly, in Protestantism, another term taken from Latin, sola gratia, sola gratia. By grace alone are we saved. What do they mean by that phrase, sola gratia? That, as every Christian has everybody been Christian holds, we Catholics certainly hold, that we need Gods grace to be saved. But, does Gods grace alone save us, or do we have to both receive Gods grace and cooperate with that grace? Of course! Whereas according to, what I call classic Protestantism, the Protestantism that was first conceived, and in hundreds of volumes explained in depth by the founders of Protestantism. It is by grace alone and not, watch it, by good works. So that, even as Scripture alone is necessary for salvation and not Sacred Tradition, even as the Holy Spirit alone is needed to interpret the meaning of Sacred Scripture, and you dont need the Authority of the Church, so you need only Gods grace, and not good works to be saved.
Fourth Principle of Protestantism - Sola Fide Fourth and last basic premise. Another Latin phrase sola fide, sola fide, by faith alone. What do they mean by faith alone? And the word for faith in Latin, is certainly fides, or the additive fide. By faith! But what did Luther and his followers do with the word fides or faith? Unlike the Catholic definition of faith, which is the assent of the intellect to everything which God has revealed. In other words, we hold that faith is the mind, the intellect, accepting assenting to everything which God has revealed. Thats the Catholic understanding, whereas, in Protestantism faith is not a virtue of the mind or intellect at all. It is a virtue of the will. Faith in Protestantism is identified with hope or trust. All I know is, Ive told you Im sure more than once having taught in six Protestant seminaries, my longest tenure was seven years on the faculty of the Lutheran School of Theology. Youd think they would have dropped me by the third day, but no, they didnt. And one reason is because, first of all, I am so deeply sympathetic with the Protestants. I did tell you, Im sure at least many of you, my mother lost her husband, my father. She just had me. Well we needed some means of support. Mother worked but that was not enough, so she took in boarders. And they were women. But I tell you, from the age of one to the age of sixteen, I was reared in an all women household. My dear men, you husbands, you want to know more about your wife, call me up sometime. Oh how much the Lord has taught me. Thats from infancy. Well, two that remained with us for fifteen years, were Judith and Susan. Two staunch Lutherans. I thought they were my sisters. They were good Christians, but they were sure not Catholic. So I learned all about Luther by the age of three. So I came to teach the Lutherans in Chicago, at Lutheran School of Theology. I knew much more, much more Lutheranism, than they did, far more. For Id have flunked most of them for their ignorance of Protestantism. But in Protestantism, on this crucial fourth element, when they say sola fide, the word fide, is of course, is the Latin term for faith. And fides can mean, as you know, certainly in English, that words mean what people who use them want them to mean, thats simple. In English by the way, in case nobody told you, you dont need a dictionary. I have said the unabridged English dictionary, the editors we can no longer publish a dictionary that defines the meaning of words. No way! The best we can do is publish a dictionary which describes how words are used. Ok so, sola fide means by trust alone, and not how, and not by assenting with the mind to what God has revealed. For Protestants it does not really, really, make a difference whether Jesus Christ is really God or not. Six of Luthers works have never been published and they will never be published, as long as there is a Lutheran left on earth. Theyll never be published. Kept in safety deposit boxes in Germany. One page after another, and the manuscript is of Martin Luther, Christ is described as and I am being very kind, as a lecherous sinner. No way, no way, that the Christ of Martin Luther could be the living God.
Premises of Protestantism Those are the four principles called the premises of Protestantism. My first book, is there a copy here? Oh yes. My first book, The Protestant Churches of America, dated October the 29th, 1956. And, in three years went to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 printings, and two revisions. By the time I finished the manuscript the Protestants changed their religion. In any case, heres what the Anglican Theological Review says about the book, I must have read it thirty years ago. The attempted wholeness of the presentations which included historical, doctrinal, organizational and additional information is admirable. unquote - The Anglican Theological Review says thanks. The book sold about a half a million copies. And it should be revised, what I need is more time. But, I love the Protestants and well they admire being liked, but they know that I know that Protestants are not Catholics. But let me tell you, in teaching in Protestant seminaries, lecturing to Protestant groups over the country, the one thing they want to make sure is, Are you an authentic Catholic? The last thing they want is a namby-pamby Catholic who is compromising his Catholicism with Protestantism. No, we want a bona fide Roman Catholic and they love you. And they told me how many times, maybe you know what we are protesting. Because, so many would become Catholics if only we knew more about who they are, and willing to take the time and reaching out to them who are so desperately in need of the full truth. Well having said that about Protestantism in general.
First Division of Protestantism - Lutheran Now the principle forms or divisions of Protestantism. Chronologically, the first branch or form of Protestantism, of course, was Lutheran. Thats where it all got started. What was distinct about Lutheranism from the beginning, and I would say has remained fairly constant over the centuries. Lutheranism has held on fairly constantly to what I would call the basics of Christian Revelation. In recent years in a country like ours, Lutheranism has become more and more, lets say liberalized, but in general among the Lutherans there has been a conservatism which has not held up as well in other forms of Protestantism. Again in Lutheran Protestantism there has remained over the centuries, surprisingly in many forms of Lutheranism especially in the Scandinavian Lutheranism, Norwegian, and Swedish, an episcopate, and they trace their bishops back, back, to the 16th century. So there are Lutheran bishops. In fact, among some of these Lutheran bishops, they sincerely believe, that they are successors of the Apostles.
What is one truth of the Catholic faith that Luther dropped immediately on breaking with the Catholic Church, and that in my judgment, is the heart of the crisis in the Catholic Church today. Martin Luther had lost his faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Having been a priest for 15 years as he was, he had no illusions about what the Catholic Church believes. That a priest validly ordained, has the power to change bread and wine into the Living Jesus Christ. Luther then, having lost his own faith, could not pass that on because he no longer believed it, and yet, he had been a Catholic for too many years not to hold on to, strange, to the term transubstantiation. Luther professed to believe in transubstantiation. Well how can you have transubstantiation if you dont have a Real Presence which is made possible by the words of Consecration by validly ordained priests? Although Martin Luther, even though he might use the word transubstantiation, he coined the word consubstantiation. In other words, even where he would retain the word transubstantiation, he really meant and spent thousands of words explaining what he meant by consubstantiation. Transubstantiation as we know, means, that what had been bread and wine in substance, are changed into the Whole Jesus Christ. So what becomes present on the altar is no longer, no longer the substance of bread and wine, thats gone. By replacing the substance of bread and wine is both the substance of Christs Living Body and Blood and all the physical properties of Christs living humanity. For Luther has the word consubstantiation. Con being the equivalent of quo in Latin, the substance of bread and wine remain but they then remain along with, if you please, Christs Body and Blood. Then he invented, what weve touched on I think more than once in class, without directly dealing with it as we are doing here. He invented what he called, there was no theory for him, it was an article of the Lutheran faith. What he called the ubiquity of Christs humanity. The ubiquity of Christs humanity. Ubiquity comes from the Latin, ubique, u-b-i-q-u-e in Latin. Ubiquity is simply u-b-i-q-u-i-t-y, ubiquity, which means the everywhereness, the everywhereness of Christs humanity.
I cannot begin to begin to tell you how deeply these Protestant ideas have infected the thinking of many well-intentioned, but poorly educated Catholics. What do we believe takes place at what we call transubstantiation? At the moment of transubstantiation what having been the substance of bread and wine cease to be there. Accidents, or properties, of the bread and the wine stay. What replaces the substance of bread and wine, is the Whole Christ. Remember, the Totus Christus, the whole Christ, which means the whole of His Divinity and the whole of His humanity, but for one person, and consequently, there is no such thing as the ubiquity of Christs humanity, that in plain Anglo-Saxon, is a lie. Thats spelled l-i-e, thats a lie. When God became man, He began it truly young. Where was His humanity? When He was conceived in Marys womb, His humanity was in Marys womb. On Christmas morning, where was His humanity? Well where else, in Her arms. Christs humanity was, wherever, well, His human nature His living body, with His limbs, His face, His hands, feet, wherever therefore, Christ the whole Christ was present, was present also His humanity. But dont you dare say that Christs humanity ever was or now is everywhere. Absolutely NO! What then took place on the first Holy Thursday night? What happened bread and wine became Christ truly present with His humanity, keep after that, keep after that. The hundreds of priests that Ive taught, and there are many confused priests in the Church today, how well I know. The key to grasping our faith of the Real Presence is to know that Christs humanity is not everywhere. Christs humanity is present only where? Where He is present as the Incarnate Son of God in human form. On earth where is Christs humanity? Could somebody answer that? You will make my day more than worthwhile. Where is Christs humanity present? (Person answers: In The Blessed Sacrament) In The Blessed Sacrament. Viva! Thats where Christs humanity is present, no where else, no where else on earth and in heaven and elsewhere. (Person asks: Or in heaven or and in heaven?). Please. (Person asks: He is present only in The Blessed Sacrament on earth and in Heaven?). Yes. (Person speaking: His humanity and in Heaven His glorified body in Heaven). Yes, same glorified humanity thats in Heaven is on earth. And Hes present on earth in His humanity only because He rose from the dead and ascended to His Heavenly Father, and then because Christ instituted the Blessed Sacrament, which is the sacrament of Christs continued Presence of His humanity. Keep that humanity, keep that humanity. I believe there is so much confusion, wide spread confusion.
Consequently, back to where we were regarding Lutheranism. That for Luther, having been a priest, and never of course losing his priesthood, you would expect one of the key features, call it a feature of Lutheran Protestantism, would be precisely why Luther was distinct. He was a well educated priest who gave up his faith. But we go on, still on Luther, because the stage that Luther set has been pretty much colored by his thinking over the centuries. In English there are 54 volumes to the complete works of Martin Luther, 54 volumes. And Ive told people, Im sure many of you, you can spare yourself the trouble of reading those 54 volumes, thats a lot of reading, a lot of pages, its more simple to just know what besides what Ive just said, mainly, his denial of the Real Presence of Christ, His humanity in the Holy Eucharist, and he invented the idea of Christ universal humanity. Christ already is everywhere as man, and so nothing really happens at what we call the consecration. But, there is another distinctive feature in Lutheran Protestantism. And that is, for Luther having struggled as, your author will point out, having struggled with his passions, especially his passion of lust. Martin Luther had a very strong sex passion. And, he claims, though once you get to know Luthers life you realize just a claim.
Among other things Luther stopped doing was praying. One of the letters that he wrote was one to his sister, which he told her Ive got so much work to do I dont have time even to say my office. In any case, after years of what he called struggle with his passions, he decided its no use, and he decided what was wrong was not Martin Luther, but the Catholic Church. That the Catholic Church is mistaken in thinking that we, somehow we, can contribute to our either sanctification or to our control of our lower drives. No, said Luther, it is all up to God. If God wants .
Always a sin. Omnia qua ego facio son semper pecatum. All the things that I do are always a sin. Thats Martin Luther. And that then is the second cardinal feature of Lutheran Protestantism what weve come to call the total depravity of human nature. Human nature is so depraved you couldnt be more depraved in theological language than to claim as Luther did that everything we do is always a sin. Thats pretty depraved. And of course the consequences of these positions, after almost five hundred years have been disastrous.
Second Division of Protestantism - Calvinism Now the second by the way, and read what youve got in your pages. I also recommend that you get a copy of my book, Religions of the World. The book needs to be reprinted; all I need again is time. After Gods grace what I most need is time. But Religions of the World is about sixteen long chapters. One of the chapters, on Protestantism, has a very carefully worked out synthesis of Protestantism, both historically and doctrinally. It is the fruit of a lifetime of research into Protestantism and condenses all the important things that anyone should know including by the way, Protestants, by their own Protestantism.
The second major branch of Protestantism is Calvinism. In the United States it generally is in two forms, either as Presbyterianism, or as one of the Reformed Churches, so-called Reformed Churches. But at root it is Calvinism. We are not sure that Calvin and Luther ever physically met during their lifetimes, Calvin in France, Luther in Germany. What we do know is that Calvin, having been a seminarian, never ordained, was a genius. To really, really know, the best, and the sense of the deepest and the most devastating of Protestantism, there are the two volumes of John Calvin called the Institutes of the Christian Religion, Institutes of the Christian Religion. It is really a summa theologica of Protestantism. Because where Luther may be called the prophet of Protestantism, Calvin was the theologian. Calvin really thought through Protestantism. His ideas are clear and they are devastating. You couldnt be, you cannot be, more contrary to Catholic Christianity than John Calvin. What John Calvin bought was two ancient heresies. He bought the heresy of Pelagianism and he bought the heresy of Manichaeism, which is a strange combination. Original Pelagianism, as you may know, claimed you dont need grace. All you need is your own, your own will to be saved. I dont mean now in Manichaeism you dont need your own will, all you need is Gods grace. Calvin in his genius managed to combine those two that seem to be contrary, not to say contradictory heresies. For John Calvin, many you might say are Luthers ideas, for John Calvin in the last analysis who will be saved those whom God has predestined for salvation. Would anybody else be saved? No. And therefore, basic to John Calvin, is the absolute denial of mans free will. Now ironically, Calvin writes for pages and pages in his summa, the entries of the Christian religion about the human will. John Calvin is the genius who created the modern world with its denial of human freedom. If there is one basic error in the modern world this is it. And by now you find it, in every psychology book in the English speaking world, every sociology book in the English speaking world, you find it burnt in the minds of children from infancy, what shapes our lives our heredity our environment and our education. And in this sense, Calvin improved on Pelagius. Pelagius believed really in a true free will. Calvin claims that everything in this world is determined by forces outside of man. Take a man like William James, one of the three, I will say, three most influential philosophers of the American mind. Volume after volume all allegedly on the free will. There is no real freedom left. Its not I who determine what I want to do. I am already shaped. I repeat by my heredity, by my environment and by my education. Does heredity shape ones character? Sure. Does environment shape ones character? Sure. Does education shape ones character? Sure does. But is that is that the ultimate reason, watch this, is that the ultimate reason why we should ever choose anything and know that the only problem is, and I say this through almost 50 years of priestly experience, Im afraid most Americans seldom use their own free will. Their lives are shaped and they want to have it shaped. And beyond that shaping are those, who have, well, shaped the modern mind, going back and John Calvin is a genius. And John Calvin with all his opposition to any true human freedom was a sworn enemy of the Catholic Church, who had been studying for the priesthood. And among his hatreds, there was none worse, than the Sacrifice of the Mass. And I think in your pages that I gave you there is a picture, yes, page 443. The Martyrs of Gorcan. In 1572 the Calvinists seized 17 priests and 2 lay brothers in Gorcan, threw them into prison, truly mutilated them, and finally hanged them for refusing to deny their belief in the Real Presence and the Papal Primacy, and in that order. They are known as the Martyrs of Gorcan. They were canonized in 1865. The Society of Jesus has martyrs, priests murdered while offering Mass, for claiming that a Mass obtains grace. How idolatrous can you be? Obtains grace, and that your life is not, as they claim, absolutely predestined.
bookmark for later reading.
interesting. No scripture given for support. No biblical or extra biblical (God spoke or showed to me) ...hummmm.
Solo Scripture means that God can not change. If He does speak to you, He WILL NOT say anything different than what He has written in the Bible (spelling?) If a book or person claims to have favor with God and speak the voice of God and contradict the Bible, then one of the sources IS NOT from God. You pick.
He's discussing history; it's not an apologetics lecture, and not a devotional or Bible study.
Solo Scripture means that God can not change. If He does speak to you, He WILL NOT say anything different than what He has written in the Bible (spelling?)
It's sola scriptura. But you don't need sola scriptura to get where you're going; all you need is a belief in the inspiration of Scripture, an orthodox belief about the nature of God, and logic.
Hasn't the "Word" changed over history?
"For Protestants it does not really, really, make a difference whether Jesus Christ is really God or not."
What a bufoon this guy is!
I understand, but he is speaking with no footnotes for his claims, that's all.
"For Protestants it does not really, really, make a difference whether Jesus Christ is really God or not."
What a bufoon this guy is!
9 posted on 11/15/2006 12:27:58 PM MST by Augustinian monk
He is either completely ignorant or a purposeful lier
You give John Hardon far too much credit! b'shem Y'shua
He is either completely ignorant or a purposeful lier
""For Protestants it does not really, really, make a difference whether Jesus Christ is really God or not.""
Bishop John Shelby Spong comes to mind.
"Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.
Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.
The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.
The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ's divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.
The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.
The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.
Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.
The story of the Ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.
There is no external, objective, revealed standard writ in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.
Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way." SNIP~
What exactly are you claiming?
For Protestants it does not really, really, make a difference whether Jesus Christ is really God or not. Six of Luthers works have never been published and they will never be published, as long as there is a Lutheran left on earth. Theyll never be published. Kept in safety deposit boxes in Germany. One page after another, and the manuscript is of Martin Luther, Christ is described as and I am being very kind, as a lecherous sinner. No way, no way, that the Christ of Martin Luther could be the living God.
*Fr. Hardon was a brilliant priest. Please rethink your post, re-read what Fr. Hardon wrote, and then, feel at liberty to apologise. Fr. Hardon is CLEARLY referring to what Luther wrote
This post filed under Roswell/Fake Moon Landing
You were prdestined to make that post so I am unable to extend any credit to you :)
Silly goose, Calvinists never take credit anyway.
I'm not claiming anything. One poster disclaimed the remark and I posted what I remember from Spong's talks.
Y'all can discuss it among yourselves. I just put info forth.