Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A larger Pope than Luther faced. . .

It is always an interesting, if unreliable, pursuit to try and place modern circumstances into the hands of those now dead.  So, for example, we judge modern day Rome as Luther did and presume Luther faced the same Rome we do.  As I said, interesting but not all that useful.  One of the most jarring things about such a comparison is that the papacy has actually grown over the years and become the lynch pin of Roman Catholic identity, authenticity, and truth -- more so than it was when Luther faced Leo X, anyway.

Modern popes -- more in the legacy of Vatican I -- and the globalization of a church body have made a centralized authority and supreme office even more essential to maintaining order.  This central authority has come to reside exclusively with the office of the pope.  The problem facing such a pivotal office is not only the heresy of prior occupants of that office but also the current state of affairs in which Francis has assumed more and more direct control while appearing to have delegated that authority and making a more democratic church structure. Even Benedict XVI, while still Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, made Peter and his successors the rock which alone guarantees the right faith and the right understanding of the Word of God.  If the pope is that essential link, then what of the heresies of the past (of such Popes Liberius, Vigilius, Honorius, Nicholas Paschal II, John XXII, etc.)?  Indeed, Francis has taken upon himself the sole right to adjust the catechism and to initiate distinct breaks with the past -- a hermeneutic of discontinuity -- instead of the preserver of the ancient and unchanging truth.  So the question comes down to this -- if the pope is a poor captain does that mean the the Roman Catholic Church is shipwrecked?

Luther was certainly unkind with respect to the papacy and its occupant in his time but at that time the pope was less central to the fidelity of the church to the faith than the current pope is today.  Indeed, so much dependency on the pope for the strength of the Roman Church, while working acceptably even when popes may be personally immoral but doctrinally orthodox, creates an impossible situation when even moral character is not in question but doctrinal orthodoxy is.  When the infallibility of the Pope became the exclusive guarantor of the Roman Church's fidelity,  his supremacy over the Roman Church combined with his immunity from earthly judgment has created a crisis even Luther's challenge did not present.

The East has placed infallibility in the Ecumenical Council(s) in which the individual bishops, priests, deacons, and theologians may confess error or heresy, the Council protects the Church from serious theological error and thus preserves the Church itself from heresy.  For Luther this infallibility is posited in the Scriptures.  While Luther cites approvingly the evidence of the Fathers and early church for his positions, he does not accord them a role above Scripture itself or even equivalent to Scripture. For Rome all of this authority is posited in one individual.  Rome long ago left behind a conciliar shape in favor of a papal structure and this occurred largely after Luther and in the more modern era (think liturgically of how this was exercised when comparing the actual canons of Vatican II with what was published as the new mass).


Carl Vehse said...

Today, Martin Luther would still identify the pope as the AntiChrist.

Carl Vehse said...

Leo X died in 1521. Adrian VI was pope in 1522 when Luther wrote:

"Having triumphed over the Mass, I think we have triumphed over the whole papacy. For upon the Mass as upon a rock is built the whole papacy with its monasteries, its bishoprics, its colleges, its altars, its ministers, its doctrines, and leans on it with its whole weight. And all these things must fall with the sacrilegious and abominable Mass. So Christ through me has begun to unmask the abomination standing in the holy place, and to destroy him, whose coming was through the operation of Satan in all wonders and lying miracles."

Exerpted from Martinus Lutherus contra Henricum Regem Angliæ (Martin Luther against Henry King of England), translated by the Rev. E. S. Buchanan (New York: Charles A. Swift, 1928) Latin text is in WA 10.2, p. 220.

Daniel G. said...

Poor Luther was a tortured, misguided and pompous arrogant soul. Amazing thst you revere him. Unfortunately his errors spread the cancer of heresy within Western Christendom and fractured the Body of Christ on earth.

Daniel G. said...

You lurherans especially Missouri Synod base your entire existence on bashing the Catholic Church. That is the only way you can exist because without it you wouldn’t. Why is it, if you have it right, all Christians are not lutheran? Why is it that shortly after Luther’s break, further rupture occurred? So much for scripture alone Which is in and of it’s self a false doctrine.

David Gray said...

I think even if I were Roman Catholic I'd take Luther over Francis...

Joseph Bragg said...

The Orthodox teachings is that even councils can err, and they have, and have been called Robber Councils. If a council is controlled by heretics, it will be in error and rejected by the Church. The Orthodox teaching is that only the Church as continued in the faith, doctrine and practice of the saints, fathers and confessors is infallible.

Daniel G. said...

Mr. Gray, your hero Luther in his own words: ““Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.”.Based on his flawed idea of faith and justication, of course he would say something this ludicrous. What is sad is that you and yours fell for such a watered down Gospel. You can have Luther. As much as I don’t like it, I’ll stick with Francis and not abandon the barque of Peter. Christ will protect His Church.

David Gray said...

Pope Francis in his own words:

"“I do not approach the relationship in order to proselytize, or convert the atheist; I respect him… nor would I say that his life is condemned..."

"There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”

“They prefer to cohabitate, and this is a challenge, a task. Not to ask ‘why don’t you marry?’ No, to accompany, to wait, and to help them to mature, help fidelity to mature.”........ “I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity.”

“On one of my trips, World Youth Day in Poland [Krakow 2016], during a lunch with 15 young people and the Archbishop, one of them asked me: ‘What can I tell my young friend who is an atheist, who does not believe, what reasoning can I use?’. And it struck me how to reply: ‘Look, the last thing you must do is say anything’. He just stared at me.”

“Non-Christians, by God’s gracious initiative, when they are faithful to their own consciences, can live ‘justified by the grace of God’, and thus be ‘associated to the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ”

“Doctrine cannot be preserved without allowing it to develop, nor can it be tied to an interpretation that is rigid and immutable without demeaning the working of the Holy Spirit.”

“We must never forget that they [the Moslems] ‘profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, who will judge humanity on the last day’.”

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so.”

"As Lutherans and Catholics, we pray together in this Cathedral, conscious that without God we can do nothing. We ask his help, so that we can be living members, abiding in him, ever in need of his grace, so that together we may bring his word to the world…”

“With this Joint Statement, we express joyful gratitude to God for this moment of common prayer in the Cathedral of Lund, as we begin the year commemorating the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation… While we are profoundly thankful for the spiritual and theological gifts received through the Reformation...”


Daniel G. said...

Mr. Gray, I was waiting for your laundry list of things Frankie, as you like to call him, said. As many of us Catholics that sitck with traditional Catholic teachiings and what the Catechism of the Catholic Church sets forth as official Catholic Teaching, we know that whatever issues forth from his careless mouth will be corrected WITHIN the Catholic Church by her Founder. It will not be outside the confines of the Church. Luther abandoned the Church and took with him millions in the 500 years into his errors of a carefee, watered-down Gospel. Like I said, you can keep Luther, I’ll stick with the Barque of Peter.

Daniel G. said...

Addendum: You cannot justify your existence without the Catholic Church. If it didn’t exist you wouldn’t. Your whole M.O. is bashing it. Whatever truth exists in your ecclesial community exists because of the True Church. Everything else is erroneous.

Daniel G. said...

Martin Luther on the Importance of Free-Will

11. “…with regard to God, and in all that bears on salvation or damnation, (man) has no ‘free-will’, but is a captive, prisoner and bondslave, either to the will of God, or to the will of Satan.” (ref. From the essay, ‘Bondage of the Will,’ ‘Martin Luther: Selections From His Writings, ed. by Dillenberger, Anchor Books, 1962 p. 190).

12. “Man is like a horse. Does God leap into the saddle? The horse is obedient and accommodates itself to every movement of the rider and goes whither he wills it. Does God throw down the reins? Then Satan leaps upon the back of the animal, which bends, goes and submits to the spurs and caprices of its new rider… Therefore, necessity, not free will, is the controlling principle of our conduct. God is the author of what is evil as well as of what is good, and, as He bestows happiness on those who merit it not, so also does He damn others who deserve not their fate.” (ref. ‘De Servo Arbitrio’, 7, 113 seq., quoted by O’Hare, in ‘The Facts About Luther, TAN Books, 1987, pp. 266-267).

13. “His (Judas) will was the work of God; God by His almighty power moved his will as He does all that is in this world.” (ref. De servo Arbitrio, against man’s free will).

14. “No good work happens as the result of one’s own wisdom; but everything must happen in a stupor . . . Reason must be left behind for it is the enemy of faith.” (ref. Trischreden, Weimer VI, 143, 25-35).

Martin Luther on Christian Living

15. “Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides… No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day.” (ref. ‘Let Your Sins Be Strong, from ‘The Wittenberg Project;’ ‘The Wartburg Segment’, translated by Erika Flores, from Dr. Martin Luther’s Saemmtliche Schriften, Letter No. 99, 1 Aug. 1521. – Cf. Also Denifle’s Luther et Lutheranisme, Etude Faite d’apres les sources. Translation by J. Paquier (Paris, A. Picard, 1912-13), VOl. II, pg. 404))

16. “Do not ask anything of your conscience; and if it speaks, do not listen to it; if it insists, stifle it, amuse yourself; if necessary, commit some good big sin, in order to drive it away. Conscience is the voice of Satan, and it is necessary always to do just the contrary of what Satan wishes.” (ref. J. Dollinger, La Reforme et les resultants qu’elle a produits. (Trans. E. Perrot, Paris, Gaume, 1848-49), Vol III, pg. 248).

Martin Luther on Capital Punishment and Charity

17. “If some were to teach doctrines contradicting an article of faith clearly grounded in Scripture and believed throughout the world by all Christendom, such as the articles we teach children in the Creed — for example, if anyone were to teach that Christ is not God, but a mere man and like other prophets, as the Turks and the Anabaptists hold — such teachers should not be tolerated, but punished as blasphemers . . . By this procedure no one is compelled to believe, for he can still believe what he will; but he is forbidden to teach and to blaspheme.” (ref. Luther’s Works [LW], Vol. 13, 61-62)

Daniel G. said...

“That seditious articles of doctrine should be punished by the sword needed no further proof. For the rest, the Anabaptists hold tenets relating to infant baptism, original sin, and inspiration, which have no connection with the Word of God, and are indeed opposed to it . . . Secular authorities are also bound to restrain and punish avowedly false doctrine . . . For think what disaster would ensue if children were not baptized? . . . Besides this the Anabaptists separate themselves from the churches . . . and they set up a ministry and congregation of their own, which is also contrary to the command of God. From all this it becomes clear that the secular authorities are bound . . . to inflict corporal punishment on the offenders . . . Also when it is a case of only upholding some spiritual tenet, such as infant baptism, original sin, and unnecessary separation, then . . . we conclude that . . . the stubborn sectaries must be put to death.” (ref. pamphlet of 1536; in Johannes Janssen, History of the German People From the Close of the Middle Ages, 16 volumes, translated by A.M. Christie, St. Louis: B. Herder, 1910 [orig. 1891]; Vol. X, 222-223)

Martin Luther on Social Justice

19. “Peasants are no better than straw. They will not hear the word and they are without sense; therefore they must be compelled to hear the crack of the whip and the whiz of bullets and it is only what they deserve.” (ref. Erlangen Vol 24, Pg. 294).

20. “To kill a peasant is not murder; it is helping to extinguish the conflagration. Let there be no half measures! Crush them! Cut their throats! Transfix them. Leave no stone unturned! To kill a peasant is to destroy a mad dog!” – “If they say that I am very hard and merciless, mercy be damned. Let whoever can stab, strangle, and kill them like mad dogs” (ref. Erlangen Vol 24, Pg. 294).

21. “Like the drivers of donkeys, who have to belabor the donkeys incessantly with rods and whips, or they will not obey, so must the ruler do with the people; they must drive, beat throttle, hang, burn, behead and torture, so as to make themselves feared and to keep the people in check.” (ref. Erlangen Vol 15, Pg. 276).

Adolf Hitler Martin Luther on the Love of Jews

22. “My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire… Second, that all their books– their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible– be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted…Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country…Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it… He who hears this name [God] from a Jew must inform the authorities, or else throw sow dung at him when he sees him and chase him away”. (ref. Martin Luther; On the Jews and Their Lies, translated by Martin H. Bertram, Fortress Press, 1955).

23. “Burn their synagogues. Forbid them all that I have mentioned above. Force them to work and treat them with every kind of severity, as Moses did in the desert and slew three thousand… If that is no use, we must drive them away like mad dogs, in order that we may not be partakers of their abominable blasphemy and of all their vices, and in order that we may not deserve the anger of God and be damned with them. I have done my duty. Let everyone see how he does his. I am excused.” (ref. About the Jews and Their Lies,’ quoted by O’Hare, in ‘The Facts About Luther, TAN Books, 1987, p. 290).

24. “If I had to baptize a Jew, I would take him to the bridge of the Elbe, hang a stone round his neck and push him over with the words I baptize thee in the name of Abraham” (ref. Grisar, “Luther”, Vol. V. pg. 413).

25.“The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows seven times higher than ordinary thieves.” (ref. Weimar, Vol. 53, Pg. 502).

Daniel G. said...

Martin Luther on the Sanctity and Dignity of Marriage

26.“If the husband is unwilling, there is another who is; if the wife is unwilling, then let the maid come.” (ref. Of Married Life).

27.“Suppose I should counsel the wife of an impotent man, with his consent, to giver herself to another, say her husband’s brother, but to keep this marriage secret and to ascribe the children to the so-called putative father. The question is: Is such a women in a saved state? I answer, certainly.” (ref. On Marriage).

28.“It is not in opposition to the Holy Scriptures for a man to have several wives.” (ref. De Wette, Vol. 2, p. 459).

29.“The word and work of God is quite clear, viz., that women are made to be either wives or prostitutes.” (ref. On Married Life).

30.“In spite of all the good I say of married life, I will not grant so much to nature as to admit that there is no sin in it. .. no conjugal due is ever rendered without sin. The matrimonial duty is never performed without sin.” (ref. Weimar, Vol 8. Pg. 654. In other words for Luther the matrimonial act is “a sin differing in nothing from adultery and fornication.” ibid. What then is the purpose of marriage for Luther you may ask? Luther affirms that it’s simply to satisfy one’s sexual cravings “The body asks for a women and must have it” or again “To marry is a remedy for fornication” – Grisar, “Luther”, vol. iv, pg. 145).

Martin Luther on the Quality of Edifying Speech

31.“What harm could it do if a man told a good lusty lie in a worthy cause and for the sake of the Christian Churches?” (ref. Lenz: Briefwechsel, Vol. 1. Pg. 373).

32. “To lie in a case of necessity or for convenience or in excuse – such lying would not be against God; He was ready to take such lies on Himself” (ref. Lenz: Briefwechsel, Vol. 1. Pg. 375).

Martin Luther on Humility

33.“St. Augustine or St. Ambrosius cannot be compared with me.” (ref. Erlangen, Vol. 61, pg. 422).

34.“What I teach and write remains true even though the whole world should fall to pieces over it” (ref. Weimar, Vol. 18, Pg. 401).

Martin Luther on the value of Sacred Scripture

35. “To my mind it (the book of the Apocalypse) bears upon it no marks of an apostolic or prophetic character… Everyone may form his own judgment of this book; as for myself, I feel an aversion to it, and to me this is sufficient reason for rejecting it.” (ref. ammtliche Werke, 63, pp. 169-170, ‘The Facts About Luther,’ O’Hare, TAN Books, 1987, p. 203).

36. “If your Papist annoys you with the word (‘alone’ – Rom. 3:28), tell him straightway, Dr. Martin Luther will have it so: Papist and ass are one and the same thing. Whoever will not have my translation, let him give it the go-by: the devil’s thanks to him who censures it without my will and knowledge. Luther will have it so, and he is a doctor above all the doctors in Popedom.” (ref. Amic. Discussion, 1, 127,’The Facts About Luther,’ O’Hare, TAN Books, 1987, p. 201. Cf. Also J. Dollinger, La Reforme et les resultants qu’elle a produits. (Trans. E. Perrot, Paris, Gaume, 1848-49), Vol III, pg. 138).

37. “The history of Jonah is so monstrous that it is absolutely incredible.” (ref. The Facts About Luther, O’Hare, TAN Books, 1987, p. 202).

38. “…the epistle of St. James is an epistle full of straw, because it contains nothing evangelical.” (ref. ‘Preface to the New Testament,’ ed. Dillenberger, p. 19. – Cf. Also Jean Janssen, L’Allemagne et la Reforme. (Trans. E. Paris, Plon, 1887-1911). Vol II, Pg. 218).

– For more great quotes from the Father of Protestantism visit Luther, Exposing the Myth. Also check out my book Dead on Arrival: The Seven Fatal Errors of Sola-Scriptura.

David Gray said...

Daniel bears false witness. I've never called Francis "Frankie." That sets the table for the rest of his posting.

Carl Vehse said...

James Swan deals with David L. Gray (aka Daniel G., aka Yoseph M. Daviyd) in his September 15, 2013, Beggars All blog, "The 38 Most Ridiculous Things Martin Luther Ever Wrote?" Swan notes: "With the exception of two quotes, the majority of 'the 38 ridiculous things' were direct cut-and-pastes from the web page, Luther, Exposing the Myth. (Luther, Exposing the Myth appears to have been partially plagiarized from: Verbum the newsletter of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Ridgefield, CT, Spring 1985)."

Cliff said...

Daniel, are you same Daniel who posted in the past? At the time you seemed to have both feet on the ground, and currently you appear to come unglued? Are you the same person?

Daniel G. said...

Cliff, guilty as charged but not unglued.