Saturday, November 16, 2019

Challenging a false perception. . .

There are those in Rome who know little of the Reformation but who love to blame Luther for everything that went wrong with Rome in the 16th century as well as everything that is going wrong today (including labeling Pope Francis a "Lutheran."  This would be laughable except that some of the people falling into this error of history should know better and they are muddying the waters in part on purpose.
And there is no doubt, then, that from the beginning the Reformation was a protest in the name of the word of Christ and Rome charges the Reformation, day after day, of being the actual origin of subjectivism and individualism, of autonomy and anarchy, which now apply to all domains. And Immanuel Kant, who first formally articulated this autonomy, is therefore called the philosopher of Protestantism by Roman Catholics. his apostles against the deviations that had invaded the Roman church in the domain of life and doctrine. It was principally different from humanism, building a dam against the unbelief that continued to reach out further from Italy, and later, just as Rome [did], it protested against the Aufklärung [“Enlightenment”] itself. This Aufklärung, which is not stronger and which won no larger a following in Protestant countries than it did among Roman peoples, is not to be explained from the Reformation but rather from an abandonment of the principles of the Reformation.

Kant is, therefore, not to be mentioned in the same breath as Luther. They each moved in entirely different circles of thought. For Kant there is nearly nothing left of the great truths of Christianity, wherein Luther found his power and peace—as far as content, Kant’s faith consisted in the trilogy of rationalism. Kant was the philosopher not of the Protestantism of the Reformation but of the Aufklärung; he was a kindred spirit not of Luther but of Rousseau.

—Herman Bavinck, Christian Worldview, edited and translated by Nathaniel Gray Sutanto, James Eglinton, Cory C. Brock (Wheaton: Crossway, 2019) -- a book published a century ago but only now translated into English.
Some bloggers and others on behalf of Rome charge against the Reformation all the ills of our modern day, including but not limited to the origins of subjectivism and individualism, of the idea of personal autonomy and anarchy or lawlessness, which now afflicts most Christian.  As any real student of history should know, it was Immanuel Kant, who first formally gave voice to these ills and who ought to be called the great Protestant philosopher.  You can blame Luther for a lot of things but it is neither fair nor credible to blame Luther for the modern ills that affect Lutherans and just about everyone else.  Wake up, Rome, and smell the roses of history and fact.


Cliff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cliff said...

Great article Pastor Peters, you must do a lot of reading on various blogs, magazines, and U Tube.

The vitriol against Luther has really amped up since Francis took over the pontificate. His detractors do not like him but they like Luther even less and blame Francis for being a protestant and initiating protestant worship styles. In fact Protestantism seems to be the root cause of Rome's ills.

The abuse crisis seems to take second fiddle to the real problem which is anger, frustration and judgmental attitudes among the more "Traditional" right wing Catholics.

We had 35 years of bridge building under John Paul II and Benedict, now we are returning to pre Vatican II days where we really had not much respect for each other.

But I guess this is Luther's fault, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Whaaat? No one else among the commenters mentions Calvin, Locke, and Hume as people who promulgated rational thought before Kant? I thought this was a pop fly that Pastor Peters gave. I guess a lot of people were shopping yesterday.

Ted Badje

John Joseph Flanagan said...

This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Those who ascribe all of these problems to Luther and the Reformation easily overlook the huge theological and cultural abuses of the Roman church in the context of the times. Erasmus tried to reform the church, but was unsuccessful and Luther split it in two. The Roman church at the time seemed unrepentant and unwilling to change. It needed to be cleansed, and Luther was one of the people God raised up for the job. But we cannot make it seem that Luther alone was the mastermind. Before and after Luther, there was conflict with the Roman church, persecution and martyrdom directed against Christians who were not Papists, and many less noteworthy believers gave up theirs lives for the true cause of Christ. Remember the Counter Reformation, and the bloody inquisitions by the Jesuits and Dominicans? How do we wrap our heads around so much violence? The state of the Catholic Church today is non violent, but many of their erroneous doctrines and practices remain. Luther may have been a bit coarse, and too mouthy for some people, but somebody had to kick the door wide open, and he sure did it very well.