Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Luther: View Moses With Suspicion, and He's worse than the Devil

Here's an obscure Luther comment found on various web pages:

"Moses must ever be looked upon with suspicion, even as upon a heretic, excommunicated, damned, worse than the Pope and the devil" (Luther, Commentary on Galatians).

This quote can be found on various Internet discussion boards, as well as web pages like Martin Luther the Bare Truth Unfolded. Typically, the quote is used to demonstrate Luther was an antinomian. For instance, notice how Shoebat.com prefaces this quote:

To add insult onto injury, Luther also goes so far as to attack both the Holy Prophets and the Holy Apostles. This was slightly touched on earlier when we mentioned his attitude towards James. As an extension to his rebellion, he also attacks the Holy Blessed Prophet Moses as well. In fact, due to his antinomianism, it was logical for him to attack the Blessed Prophet Moses, which clearly puts Luther under the rebuke of our Lord Jesus Christ, who stated: “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46, 47) Let us see what evil Luther stated of Moses and the Law of Moses.

Documentation
In the example above the documentation given is "Luther, Commentary on Galatians." This is rather sparse documentation.  It's plausible that this quote made its way online from someone using Patrick O'Hare's book, The Facts About Luther. Father O'Hare states, "'Moses must ever be looked upon,' he says, 'with suspicion, even as upon a heretic, excommunicated, damned, worse than the Pope and the Devil.' (Comment, in Gal.) ." The quote in its popular online use is verbatim from O'Hare (with the reference being slightly revised). It's possible O'Hare got the quote from Luther: An Historical Portrait By J. Verres (he references this book a few times). The vague documentation used by O'Hare is the same as that provided by Verres. Verres states:
Against Moses, who so very frequently and so very strictly insists on the keeping of the law, Luther nourished feelings, which verge on personal hatred. To him Moses is the incarnation of everything, that can torment the soul, he calls him by the most opprobious names and denounces him to Christians as a most dangerous man. Not only that Moses ,, who has been given to the Jewish nation only, has nothing to do with us gentiles and Christians," but, ,,if you are prudent, send that stammering and stuttering (balbum et blesum) Moses with his law far away from you, and be not influenced by his terrific threats. Look upon him with suspicion, as upon a heretic, excommunicated, damned, worse than the pope and the devil." 
Verres includes a footnote for the quote in question: 
Hic simpliciter sit tibi suspectus ut haereticus, excommunicatus, damnatus, deterior papā et diabolo, ideoque prorsus non audiendus. Comment. in Gal. Almost the same words occur. Tischr. I.c. 12 § 15.
 Using the Latin text provided by Verres, it is possible to locate the quote in Luther's work on Galatians. It can be found in WA 40 (1):558. The text reads:


This text has been translated into English. A version from the 1800's can be found here. The translation in Luther's works can be found in LW 26:365. 


Context
I am not saying this with the intention that the Law should be held in contempt. Paul does not intend this either, but that it should be held in esteem. But because Paul is dealing here with the issue of justification—a discussion of justification is something vastly different from a discussion of the Law—necessity demanded that he speak of the Law as something very contemptible. When we are dealing with this argument, we cannot speak of it in sufficiently vile and odious terms either. For here the conscience should consider and know nothing except Christ alone. Therefore we should make every effort that in the question of justification we reject the Law from view as far as possible and embrace nothing except the promise of Christ. This is easy enough to say; but in the midst of trial, when the conscience is contending with God, it is extremely difficult to be able to accomplish this. It is especially difficult when the Law is terrifying and accusing you, showing you your sin, and threatening you with the wrath of God and with death, to act as though there had never been any Law or sin but only Christ and sheer grace and redemption. It is difficult also, when you feel the terror of the Law, to say nevertheless: “Law, I shall not listen to you, because you have an evil voice. Besides, the time has now fully come. Therefore I am free. I shall no longer endure your domination.” Then one can see that the most difficult thing of all is to distinguish the Law from grace; that it is simply a divine and heavenly gift to be able in this situation to believe in hope against hope (Rom. 4:18); and that this proposition of Paul’s is eminently true, that we are justified by faith alone.
From this you should learn, therefore, to speak most contemptuously about the Law in the matter of justification, following the example of the apostle, who calls the Law “the elements of the world,” “traditions that kill,” “the power of sin,” and the like. If you permit the Law to dominate in your conscience instead of grace, then when the time comes for you to conquer sin and death in the sight of God, the Law is nothing but the dregs of all evils, heresies, and blasphemies; for all it does is to increase sin, accuse, frighten, threaten with death, and disclose God as a wrathful Judge who damns sinners. If you are wise, therefore, you will put Moses, that lisper and stammerer, far away with his Law; and you will not let his terrors and threats affect you in any way at all. Here he should be as suspect to you as an excommunicated and condemned heretic, worse than the pope and the devil, and therefore not to be listened to at all.
Apart from the matter of justification, on the other hand, we, like Paul, should think reverently of the Law. We should endow it with the highest praises and call it holy, righteous, good, spiritual, divine, etc. Apart from our conscience we should make a god of it; but in our conscience it is truly a devil, for in the slightest trial it cannot encourage or comfort the conscience but does the very opposite, frightening and saddening it and depriving it of confidence in righteousness, of life, and of everything good. This is why Paul calls the Law “weak and beggarly elements” later on (Gal. 4:9). Therefore let us not permit it to dominate our conscience in any way, especially since it cost Christ so much to remove the tyranny of the Law from the conscience. For this was why “He became a curse for us, to redeem us from the curse of the Law” (Gal. 3:13). Therefore let the godly person learn that the Law and Christ are mutually contradictory and altogether incompatible. When Christ is present, the Law must not rule in any way but must retreat from the conscience and yield the bed to Christ alone, since this is too narrow to hold them both (Is. 28:20). Let Him rule alone in righteousness, safety, happiness, and life, so that the conscience may happily fall asleep in Christ, without any awareness of Law, sin, or death.

Conclusion
Anyone with a basic understanding of Luther's theology should be able to grasp the distinction between law and gospel set forth in this section. Luther's comments are in regard to justification, not sanctification. Note how the section starts: "I am not saying this with the intention that the Law should be held in contempt. Paul does not intend this either, but that it should be held in esteem." He concludes: "Apart from the matter of justification, on the other hand, we, like Paul, should think reverently of the Law. We should endow it with the highest praises and call it holy, righteous, good, spiritual, divine, etc." Luther’s theology has a place for the Law of God and its use in the life of a Christian. The Law for Luther was dual purposed: it first drives one to see their sin and a need for a savior; secondly it functions in the life of a Christian to lead one to a correct understanding of the good one ought to do.

Was Luther an antinomian as Shoebat.com asserts above? Hardly. Luther taught a life under the cross, which is a life of discipleship of following after Christ. Our crosses though, do not save. They serve the neighbor. We are called to be neighbor to those around us. Elsewhere I've compiled an extensive list of quotes from Luther all testifying to the same idea: justification is by faith alone unto good works done for the good of one’s neighbor.

Addendum
This blog entry is a revision of an entry I posted back in 2009. The original can be found here. Because so many sources are now available online, I'm revising older entries by adding additional materials and commentary, and also fixing or deleting dead hyperlinks. Nothing of any significant substance has changed in this entry from that presented in the former.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Luther: Moses is an Enemy of Christ

Here's an obscure Luther comment found on various web pages:

"I will not have Moses with his Law, for he is the enemy of the Lord Christ
(Tischreden (Table Talk), L.C.12.s.17)."

This quote can be found on various Internet discussion boards, as well as web pages like Martin Luther the Bare Truth UnfoldedJesus Christ and the antichrist "Martin Luther,  and many others. Typically, the quote is used to demonstrate Luther was an antinomian. For instance, notice how Shoebat.com prefaces this quote:

"As an extension to his rebellion, he also attacks the Holy Blessed Prophet Moses as well. In fact, due to his antinomianism, it was logical for him to attack the Blessed Prophet Moses, which clearly puts Luther under the rebuke of our Lord Jesus Christ, who stated: “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”(John 5:46, 47)."

Documentation
As in the example above, the quote is often found documented as "Tischreden (Table Talk), L.C.12.s.17." It is correct that this comment comes from the "Tischreden," and that this refers to the Table Talk. The Table Talk is a collection of second hand comments written down by Luther's friends and students, published after his death. It is not something he actually wrote, but rather contains utterances he's purported to have said. The remaining documentation, "L.C.12.s.17," is somewhat of a mystery.  It's my suspicion that this reference comes from Patrick O'Hare's The Facts About Luther. (though this text pre-dates O'Hare). O'Hare cites Luther saying,
"I will not have Moses with his law, for he is the enemy of the Lord Christ ... we must put away thoughts and disputes about the law, whenever the conscience becomes terrified and feels God's anger against sin. Instead of that it will be better to sing, to eat, to drink, to sleep, to be merry in spite of the devil." (Tischr. L. C. 12. §. 17.)
Notice that the documentation is almost similar, with the exception of O'Hare's use of the section symbol, "§" while above this has been changed to "s". O'Hare doesn't make much effort to explain his documentation, nor does he typically provide complete references. In order to unravel O'Hare's documentation, he assumes his reader is familiar with the numerous critical German (or Latin) editions of Luther's writings available previous to the 1900's (I doubt many of his readers were, both then and now). What O'Hare appears to be citing is D. M. Luthers Tischreden oder Colloquia v. K. E. Förstemann 1844-1848. So, "L.C." refers to a shortened version of the title: "Luthers Colloquia." "12" refers to chapter 12. "§. 17" refers to section 17 on page 101. There the text reads:


This text can also be found in WA TR 2:6-7 (1242).






Context
The quote in question (and the first part of O'Hare's use of it) can be found in English in  LW 54:128. It's a Table Talk recorded by John Schlaginhaufen.
No. 1242: Moses and Luther at the Last Judgment Before December 14, 1531
I won’t tolerate Moses because he is an enemy of Christ. If he appears with me before the judgment I’ll turn him away in the name of the devil and say, ‘Here stands Christ.’"In the last judgment Moses will look at me and say, ‘You have known and understood me correctly,’ and he will be favorably disposed to me.”
Rather than attacking Moses, the entirety of this statement appears to be just a hyperbolic way of Luther expressing law and gospel. For Luther, the law condemns. It drives one to see their sin and a need for a savior.That's why in this statement (if indeed Luther actually said it)  Moses says to Luther, "You have known and understood me correctly."


The Entirety of the Statement Cited by Patrick O'Hare's The Facts About Luther
The careful reader will notice that the quote as used by The Facts About Luther goes on to conclude much differently than that documented above:
"I will not have Moses with his law, for he is the enemy of the Lord Christ ... we must put away thoughts and disputes about the law, whenever the conscience becomes terrified and feels God's anger against sin. Instead of that it will be better to sing, to eat, to drink, to sleep, to be merry in spite of the devil." (Tischr. L. C. 12. §. 17.)
Everything after "..." is completely different-  this is because Father O'Hare chose to connect the first Table Talk statement he utilized with a different statement on the next page of D. M. Luthers Tischreden oder Colloquia. O'Hare goes on to cite the next Table Talk entry in section 17:


The English translation of this is included in a very old edition of the Table Talk, The Familiar Discourses of Dr. Martin Luther, pp. 167-168. It similarly connects the two statements (and adds yet another one!), I have placed the second sections of the quote cited by O'Hare in bold black lettering:
Of the Law.
I WILL have none of Moses with his Law, for he is an enemy to my Lord and Saviour Christ. If Moses will go to Law with me, I will give him his dispatch (not in God's name), but will say, Here standeth Christ.
At the day of judgment Moses will doubtless look upon me, and say, Thou didst understand me rightly, and hast well distinguished between me and the Law of Faith, therefore we are now friends.
We must expel the disputations of the Law at such time when it intenteth to affright the conscience, and when we feel God's anger against our sins: then we must eat, drink, sleep, and be cheerful, on purpose to spite the devil. But human wisdom is more inclinable to understand the Law of Moses, than the Law of the Gospel. Old Adam will not out.
Together with the Law Satan tormenteth the conscience, by picturing Christ before our eyes as an angry and a stern Judge and saith, God is an enemy to sinners, for he is a just God; Thou art a sinner, therefore God is thy enemy. Hereat is the conscience dejected, beaten down, and taken captive. Now he that can make a true difference in this case, and say, Devil! thou art deceived, it is not so as thou pretendeth; for God is not an enemy to all sinners, but only to the ungodly and impenitent sinners and persecutors of his Word, For even as sin is two-fold, even so is righteousness two-fold also.

Notice the distortion created by Father O'Hare by selective citation. The first part shocks the reader by declaring Moses and Christ are enemies. The second part (from a different Table Talk statement) is then colored to promote blatant antinomianism. Thus the caricature is created: The "faith alone" gospel Luther created was sin all you want to, with joy and glee. God still forgives you.

There isn't anything all that shocking about what Luther actually may have said with more of the Table Talk context included. When Luther trounces Moses, he does so in the context of justification, not sanctification. The section about "eating drinking and sleeping" refers to those Christians whose sins still plague them, questioning whether or not they really have peace with God. These questions are the work of the Devil. If one's righteousness is the righteousness of Christ, then simply live your life to spite the devil. Luther never promoted blatant lawlessness. He's describing Christians plagued by doubt, much like he was. He isn't describing the justification of blatant sinners who could care less about holy living.

Addendum
This blog entry is a revision of an entry I posted back in 2009. The original can be found here. Because so many sources are now available online, I'm revising older entries by adding additional materials and commentary, and also fixing or deleting dead hyperlinks. Nothing of any significant substance has changed in this entry from that presented in the former.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Luther: I have greater confidence in my wife and my pupils than I have in Christ

Here's an obscure Table Talk quote that makes the rounds: “I have greater confidence in my wife and my pupils than I have in Christ” (Table Talk, 2397b). It surfaces on Internet discussion boards. as well as on Roman Catholic web pages like Luther Exposing the Myth, The 38 Most Ridiculous Things Martin Luther Ever Wrote, Martin Luther the Bare Truth Unfolded, and many others.

Documentation
The most common documentation given is "Table Talk, 2397b." This is a good indicator that the quote came from Peter F. Wiener's Martin Luther, Hitler's Spiritual Ancestor (1945). Wiener states,

"Luther does not always see eye to eye with God or Christ. 'I have greater confidence in my wife and my pupils than I have in Christ,' he said on one occasion quite shamelessly (“Table Talk”, 2397b).

The Table Talk is a collection of second hand comments written down by Luther's friends and students, published after his death. It is not something he actually wrote, but rather contains utterances he's purported to have said. "2397b" is not a page number. The utterances are numbered, so  "2397b" refers to the actual statement purported to have been made by Luther. LW 54 explains of this numbered statement, "The pieces numbered 1950 to 3416 in WA, TR 2 and 3 belong to the years 1532 and 1533 and were collected, though not necessarily recorded, by Conrad Cordatus" (LW 54:169). The actual reference then would be to WA 2:446.


Context

2397a and 2397b say similar things, but the text is purported to come from 2397b. The text in 2397b does say " Ego uxori meae et vobis singulis plus confido quam christo," but then comes a comma with the conclusion: "cum tamen nullus vestrum haec pro me faceret, ut crucifigeretur et moreretur pro me." The conclusion of the sentence is left out of the popular form circulating around the Internet, and actually gives the utterance quite a different meaning than that implied by Rome's defenders. 

Neither of these statements are contained in the English Luther's Works vol. 54. However, an old edition of the Table Talk (The Familiar Discourses of Dr. Martin Luther)  includes the following:
That God is more loving unto us than a Father towards his Children
GOD hath a better and more friendly heart towards his faithful ones, than a father or mother can have towards their children; as God himself saith in the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter xlix. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion of the son of her womb? yea, they, may forget, yet will not I forget thee, etc. But God must have patience with us. I believe that St. Paul was at enmity with himself, because he could not believe and love Christ so entirely as willingly he would have done. Fie on the devil, and on our wicked flesh, that we cannot believe and trust in God, who hath given us so great and manifold benefits, and still doth give us all his goodnesses, I myself must confess, that I can put more trust in my wife, and in every one of my friends, than in Christ: when as, notwithstanding, I well know, that none among them all would do and suffer for me that which he suffered, namely, to be crucified and slain for me.
Some form of the text of 2397a / 2397b appears to be at the conclusion of this paragraph:
Fie on the devil, and on our wicked flesh, that we cannot believe and trust in God, who hath given us so great and manifold benefits, and still doth give us all his goodnesses, I myself must confess, that I can put more trust in my wife, and in every one of my friends, than in Christ: when as, notwithstanding, I well know, that none among them all would do and suffer for me that which he suffered, namely, to be crucified and slain for me.
As to the former part of the paragraph, it appears to come from a different Table Talk statement all together. Or, it could very well be two other Table Talk statements that precede the quote in question.

Conclusion
Despite the fact that the Table Talk is often devoid of context, the popular version of this statement leaves out the entirety of the sentence: "cum tamen nullus vestrum haec pro me faceret, ut crucifigeretur et moreretur pro me." This is captured and expanded upon in the English rendering, "notwithstanding, I well know, that none among them all would do and suffer for me that which he suffered, namely, to be crucified and slain for me." Perhaps the author putting this into English utilized both 2397a and 2397b. Whatever liberties may have been taken with the English rendering, the sentence even in a bald literal form presents a sentiment expressing the fact that it is wrong and sinful to put trust in anyone more than in Christ. This is much different than Wiener saying it means, "Luther does not always see eye to eye with God or Christ."

Addendum
This blog entry is a revision of an entry I posted back in 2009. The original can be found here. Because so many sources are now available online, I'm revising older entries by adding additional materials and commentary, and also fixing or deleting dead hyperlinks. Nothing of any significant substance has changed in this entry from that presented in the former.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Luther: Christ was an Adulterer

This is a follow-up to my earlier critiques of Shoebat's Martin Luther- The Bare Truth Unfolded. Their recent hit piece includes some Luther quotes I've never gone into detail on or have never covered, or deserve a fresh look. For instance, they repeat a version of the charge that Luther believed Christ was an adulterer:

Blasphemous references to both our Lord Jesus Christ, to God the Father, and also to the Holy Prophets and the Blessed Apostles. This comes as a great shock to many Christians who have had high hopes in Martin Luther. However, if we were to actually look at what he said regarding our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father and also the Holy Prophets and Blessed Apostles, it should cause even the most elementary of Christian believers to cringe with disgust. In regards to our Lord Jesus Christ, Luther had the gall to accuse Him of committing fornication with the Samaritan woman at the well (Photini in Holy Tradition) as well as with Mary Magdalene. [Maybe one should wonder where the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, got some of his heresies from, seeing that he too taught the same thing in Doctrines and Covenants!]. He stated:

“Christ committed adultery first of all with the women at the well about whom St. John tells us. Was not everybody about Him saying: ‘Whatever has He been doing with her?’ Secondly, with Mary Magdalen, and thirdly with the women taken in adultery whom He dismissed so lightly. Thus even, Christ who was so righteous, must have been guilty of fornication before He died.” (Trishreden, Weimer Edition, Vol. 2, Pg. 107)

This particular charge about Luther and Mary Magdalene goes beyond Shoebat.com. It's been alluded to in such mainline periodicals as Time Magazine: "Martin Luther believed that Jesus and Magdalene were married, as did Mormon patriarch Brigham Young." Or consider this Huffington Post comment, "later Martin Luther embraced the Cathar view of Jesus' liaison with Mary Magdalene." The same author makes a similar point in his book (here as well). Note this particular interpretive commentary from Dr. Sippo in his old article from the  St. Catherine Review
Luther lived an immoral and unprincipled life. In "Table Talks" Luther got drunk one night and told some of his fawning sycophants that Jesus must have been an adulterer because even He could not resist temptations of the flesh. He went on to claim that Jesus had an affair with Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha of Bethany, and the Samaritan woman at the well.
I've written about it before, Luther Said: Christ Committed Adultery? back when I started this blog. Now, over ten years later, I'd like to take a fresh look.

Documentation
Shoebat.com cites "Trishreden, Weimer Edition, Vol. 2, Pg. 107." The first blaring problem with this reference is the word, "Trishreden." What's meant is actually, Tischreden. "Weimer Edition" refers to D. Martin Luthers Werke.  "Vol. 2" is misleading, as the correct reference should be something like "WA TR 2" (signifying volume 2 of the Tischreden). My speculation is that Shoebat.com cut-and-pasted this from Luther Exposing the Myth (see footnote #57). This later webpage may have taken it from Peter Wiener's Martin Luther, Hitler's Spiritual Ancestor (London: Hutchinson Co. 1945, p. 29) and amended Wiener's reference. It's unclear to me whether or not Wiener was the first to introduce this English translation in 1945 or if he relied on some other source (Wiener's documentation is often lacking).  Wiener did utilize Frantz Funck-Brentano's 1936 biography of Luther, and this quote appears word for word on page 243. That this quotation is cited in word-for-word agreement for all these sources leads me to conclude that borrowing was occurring, even if my chain of citation is inaccurate.  

One other reference floating around cyberspace for this quote is "D. Martin Luthers Werke, kritische Gesamtausgabe [Hermann Bohlau Verlag, 1893], vol. 2, no. 1472, April 7 - May 1, 1532, p. 33." This reference appears to be the work of one of Rome's cyber-apologists from early in the 2000's (follow the trail from the link). The reference neglects "Nachfolger" (see image of the title page above), the year appears to be wrong (it was 1913, not 1893), and the page number was not 33 (it was page 107). The quote typically attached to this reference is the same as that used by Wiener, so it appears to me that Wiener gave this quote it's cyber-notoriety.  

Here is WA TR 2 page 107. The text reads as follows:


  This text is the recollection of John Schlaginhafen who recorded remarks allegedly made by Luther from 1531-1532.  It has been translated into English in LW 54:154 (just goes to show the compilers of LW didn't necessarily avoid the controversial writings of Luther.

Context
No. 1472: Christ Reproached as Adulterer Between April 7 and May 1, 1532
[Martin Luther said,] “Christ was an adulterer for the first time with the woman at the well, for it was said, ‘Nobody knows what he’s doing with her’ [John 4:27]. Again [he was an adulterer] with Magdalene, and still again with the adulterous woman in John 8 [:2–11], whom he let off so easily. So the good Christ had to become an adulterer before he died.” (LW 54:154)

Alternate Translation
In revisiting this quote I came upon Did Luther TeachThat Christ Committed Adultery? by Arthur Carl Piepkorn (Concordia Theological Monthly Vol. xxv June, 1954 No.6). Piepkorn actually locates a similar culprit that I did, Peter Wiener. He also translates it including a footnote:
1472. (Schlag. 239; Clm. 943, 175) Christus miulter. hristus ist am ersten ebrecher worden Joh.4. bei dem brunn cum muliere, quia illi dicebant: Nemo 17 significat 18 quid facit cum ea? Item cum Magdalena, item cum adultera Ioan. 8., die er so leicht davon lies. Also mus der from Christus auch am ersten ein ebrecher werden, ehe er starb.
17) So ist wohl zu lesen und nicht mit Preger: Nro. 
18) Text undeutlich: Stat oder Scat, oder ist scit zu lesen?"  
In literal translation:
1472. (Schlag. 239; Clm. 943, 175) Christ an adulterer. Christ first became an adulterer St. John 4 at the well with the woman, because they said: Nobody (17) indicates,(18) what is He doing with her? Again, with Magdalen; again, with the adulteress St. John 8, whom He dismissed so lightly. Thus the righteous Christ must first become also an adulterer before He died. 
17) This is the probable reading rather than Preger's: Nro. 
18) Text unclear: Stat or Scat, or should the reading be scit?"
Piepkorn states, 
In both instances we have reproduced the item completely. There is no context. It is simply a briefly scribbled note of part of a conversation, none too intelligibly recorded or transmitted, with several important words illegible. 
And also:
The sole manuscript containing this item is a quarto volume that found a final resting place in the State Library at Munich, where it was catalogued as Codex latinus 943. The page containing our item was copied from an earlier copy - possibly Schlaginhaufen's original manuscript-between November 4, 1551, and some time in 1567. The copyist may have been Schlaginhaufen's son-in-law, the Rev. John Oberndorfer of Ratisbon. 
Thus the "hair-raising blasphemy" turns out to be an inaccurately translated version of a somewhat uncertain, uncontrolled and unverifiable quotation of an offhand remark of blessed Martin Luther, without a shred of context or any indication of the circumstances that evoked the words it purports to reproduce. Since the item was destined to remain in manuscript form for 356 years after it was set down, it is quite probable that blessed Martin Luther himself never saw what Schlaginhaufen had written down. 

Conclusion
How does one respond to this? The quote appears outrageous. First, the quote has no context. One does not know what exactly Luther had in mind. Was he kidding? Was he summarizing someone else's argument? Was he using hyperbole? It's really hard to say. If taken literally, it certainly is at odds with his other statements about Christ. Thus, even though one can't know exactly why he said this, we can have a strong assurance he didn't mean it literally. The editors of Luther's Works include a footnote for this comment of Luther's, and they offer the following speculation:
This entry has been cited against Luther, among others by Arnold Lunn in The Revolt Against Reason (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1951), pp. 45, 257, 258. What Luther meant might have been made clearer if John Schlaginhaufen had indicated the context of the Reformer’s remarks. The probable context is suggested in a sermon of 1536 (WA 41, 647) in which Luther asserted that Christ was reproached by the world as a glutton, a winebibber, and even an adulterer.
Be careful with Luther’s Table Talk. The Table Talk is a collection of comments from Luther written down by Luther’s students and friends. It is not in actuality an official writing of Luther's and should not serve as the basis for interpreting his theology.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Luther Added the Word "Free" to Romans 3:28?

This is a follow-up to my earlier critiques of Shoebat's Martin Luther- The Bare Truth Unfolded. Their recent hit piece includes some Luther quotes I've never gone into detail on or have never covered, or deserve a fresh look. For instance, they state that Luther added the word "free" to Romans 3:28:

Deliberate adding of the word ‘free’ to Romans 3:28 along with deliberate, Satanic arrogance in elevating himself above even the Holy Fathers and Holy Apostles! 

The very thought of excising from the Word of God should already cause one to cringe in disgust and make one wary of the eternal consequences. It should cause one to cringe even more to add to the Word of God as well. Unfortunately, this cannot be said for Martin Luther. Martin Luther in a deliberate attempt to support lawlessness in the Christian life, deliberately added the word “free” to his German bible, despite the fact that there is no serious evidence for this in the Greek text of the New Testament. To this he stated as his reasons for his deliberate distortion: 
“If your Papist annoys you with the word [‘alone’-Romans 3:28], tell him straightaway, 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 doctor above all doctors in Popedom.” (Amicable Discussion, I, 127, ‘The Facts About Luther’, O’Hare, TAN Books (1987), p201)
Now you may be as puzzled by this "free" comment as I am.  The Shoebat article says twice that Luther added "free." The first time it says it was added to Romans 3:28, the second time to his German Bible. Then they proceed to provide a quote from Luther on his use of the word "alone" in Romans 3:28. Giving Shoebat.com the benefit of the doubt,  it appears to me that whoever put this article together was chugging along at a brisk pace and meant "alone" but was thinking "free." I'm going to assume that's the case.

This "free" blunder aside, the Shoebat snippet provides the opportunity to revisit the popular Luther quote they use.  In terms of polemics, this is probably one of the most famous quotes of Luther. It's been used by his detractors throughout the centuries. Even though the context of this quote is easily available, the documentation provided by Shoebat.com turns out to be an example of nineteenth century Roman Catholic plagiarism.

Documentation of Father O'Hare's Plagiarism
Shoebat.com cites "Amicable Discussion, I, 127, ‘The Facts About Luther’, O’Hare, TAN Books (1987), p201)." I don't think the article used either of these sources, but perhaps cut-and-pasted the quote from Luther, Exposing the Myth (see footnote 62).  Yes, the quote is in The Facts About Luther on page 201. O'Hare writes,
Romans III, 28, "We account a man to be justified by faith without the works of the law" he renders by the interpolating of a word, "We hold that a man is justified without works of the law by faith alone." His answer to Emser's exposition of his perversion of the text was: "If your Papist annoys you with the word (alone), 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." (Amic. Discussion 1, 127.) Thus Luther defends his perversion of Scripture and makes himself the supreme judge of the Bible. His work, faulty and erroneous, places the true Lutheran in a serious dilemma. He needs the Bible for his salvation and yet he cannot be sure that Luther has given him a version possessing any binding force.
Rather than directly citing Luther, O'Hare cites "Amic. Discussion 1, 127." This refers to Jean François Marie Trévern, An Amicable Discussion on the Church of England and on the Reformation in General vol. 1. Various editions of  this nineteenth century text are available online. I've had a copy of this book for over a decade. When it arrived all those years ago, I recall thumbing through it attempting to check O'Hare's references. I was never able to locate this O'Hare-cited Luther quote in An Amicable Discussion. Now with so many old books available on-line,  I searched through a number of editions of An Amicable Discussion, and still could not find this quote as cited by O'Hare.

Father O'Hare's Facts About Luther was published in the early 1900's. In searching for the text O'Hare cites, I came across a book from 1888 entitled, Protestantism and the Bible by Rev. Thomas Preston.  It may actually be the case that Father O'Hare simply plagiarized this section from this source. Note the striking similarities:
Romans iii. 28, "We account a man to be justified by faith without the works of the law," he renders by the interpolating of a word, '' We hold that a man is justified without works of the law by faith alone.'' His answer to Emser's exposition of his perversion of the text was: "If your Papist annoys you with the word (alone), 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."
Rev. Preston does not document this Luther quote. In his next paragraph, he goes on to cite "Bishop Trevern" on other sixteenth century Bible versions (Beza, Calvin, etc.) and he does give a reference for these: "Amic. Discussion," 1.127." Because of the similarites, it appears to me that Father O'Hare simply lifted his Luther quote from Rev. Preston's book (or one of his books with the same material) and botched the footnote.

Documentation
This is one of the easiest of all Luther quotes to locate. It comes from Ein sendbrieff D. M. Luthers. Von Dolmetzschen und Fürbit der heiligenn (WA 30II, 632-646). The beginning of the quote can be found on page 635 (the rest of the quote comes some pages later):


This treatise has been translated into English: On Translating: An Open Letter. It can be found in PE 5:1-27, and also in LW 35:175-202 (LW's translation is a revision of PE's translation). There is also an online version found at Project Wittenberg. The quote in question is found in LW 35:185 or PE 5:12-13.

Context

Luther begins:
[T]here has been much talk about the translation of the Old and New Testaments. The enemies of the truth charge that in many places the text has been modified or even falsified, whereby many simple Christians, even among the learned who do not know the Hebrew and Greek languages, have been startled and shocked. With this publication it is devoutly to be hoped that, at least in part, the slander of the godless will be stopped and the scruples of the devout removed. Perhaps it may even give rise to further writing on questions and matters such as these. I therefore ask every lover of the truth to take this work seriously to heart and faithfully to pray God for a right understanding of the divine Scriptures, to the improvement and increase of our common Christendom. (LW 35:181-182)
The first section of the treatise is actually fairly angry, sarcastic, and humorous. Luther shows himself fed up with his Papal critics. His anger was fueled against them for an ironic reason- they rallied against his translation, while at the same time utilizing it for their own new translations. A strong Papal critic of Luther (Jerome Emser from Dresden) did just that:
We have seen the Dresden scribbler who played the master to my New Testament. I shall not mention his name again in my books as he has his Judge now, and is already well known anyway. He admits that my German is sweet and good. He saw that he could not improve on it. But eager to discredit it, he went to work and took my New Testament almost word for word as I had written it. He removed my introductions and explanations, inserted his own, and thus sold my New Testament under his name. (LW 35:184-185)
With this historical context in mind, Luther blasts away at his papal critics. Part of the quote can be found in these three paragraphs; 
If your papist wants to make so much fuss about the word sola (alone) tell him this, “Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and says that a papist and an ass are the same thing.” Sic volo, sic jubeo; sit pro ratione voluntas. We are not going to be the pupils and disciples of the papists, but their masters and judges. For once, we too are going to be proud and brag with these blockheads; and as St. Paul boasts over against his mad raving saints [II Cor. 11:21ff.], so I shall boast over against these asses of mine. Are they doctors? So am I. Are they learned? 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 dialecticians? So am I. Are they lecturers? So am I. Do they write books? So do I.
I will go further with my boasting. I can expound psalms and prophets; they cannot. I can translate; they cannot. I can read the Holy Scriptures; they cannot. I can pray; they cannot. And, to come down to their level, I can use their own dialectics and philosophy better than all of them put together; and besides I know for sure that none of them understands their Aristotle. If there is a single one among them all who correctly understands one proemium [preface] or chapter in Aristotle, I’ll eat my hat. I am not saying too much, for I have been trained and practiced from my youth up in all their science and am well aware how deep and broad it is. They are very well aware, too, that I can do everything they can. Yet these incurable fellows treat me as though I were a stranger to their field, who had just arrived this morning for the first time and had never before either seen or heard what they teach and know. So brilliantly do they parade about with their science, teaching me what I outgrew twenty years ago, that to all their blatting and shouting I have to sing, with the harlot, “I have known for seven years that horseshoe-nails are iron.”
Let this be the answer to your first question. And please give these asses no other and no further answer to their useless braying about the word sola than simply this, “Luther will have it so, and says that he is a doctor above all the doctors of the whole papacy.” It shall stay at that! Henceforth I shall simply hold them in contempt, and have them held in contempt, so long as they are the kind of people—I should say, asses—that they are. There are shameless nincompoops among them who have never learned their own art of sophistry—like Dr. Schmidt and Doctor Snotty-Nose, and their likes—and who set themselves against me in this matter, which transcends not only sophistry, but (as St. Paul says [I Cor. 1:19–25]), all the world’s wisdom and understanding as well. Truly an ass need not sing much; he is already well known anyway by his ears. (LW 35:185-187)
The quote as cited by Father O'Hare is out of order. Above are the first and fourth sentences. The second and third sentences are found a few pages later:
And why should I talk so much about translating? If I were to point out the reasons and considerations back of all my words, I should need a year to write on it. I have learned by experience what an art and what a task translating is. Therefore I will tolerate no papal ass or mule to be my judge or critic, for they have never tried it. He who desires none of my translating may let it alone. If anyone dislikes it or criticizes it without my knowledge and consent, the devil repay him! If it is to be criticized, I shall do it myself. If I do not do it, then let them leave my translation in peace. Let each of them make for himself one that suits—what do I care? (LW 35:193)

Conclusion
Shoebat.com claims their Luther quote demonstrates a "deliberate attempt to support lawlessness in the Christian life." There's nothing at all in this context to suggest this. Second, Shoebat.com says Luther added words to Romans 3:28 as a "deliberate distortion." 

Luther used the German word “allein” to express a concept inherent in the original text. This is basic translating methodology (employed by both Protestant and Roman Catholic exegetes) and a technique not anathematized by Rome either during Luther’s time or ours. Luther's intention, a perfectly allowable intention, was to translate the Bible into an easily comprehended form of popular German. Hence, his translation at times employed forms of dynamic equivalence, as many translations do. Word-for-word translations can be cumbersome and awkward, and not appealing to average readers. Rather, many translations seek to maximize readability with a minimum of verbal distortion by translating according to “concept.” In translating Romans, Luther tried to present the “impact” of what the original Greek had on its first readers, and to present the German style and idiom equivalent for his readers.

If Luther was attempting to radically distort the New Testament, his doctored work failed in three ways. Luther did not add the word “alone” to Galatians 2:16, nor did he remove “alone” from James 2. Even in his revision of the Latin Vulgate, Luther left the Latin of Romans 3:28 as it was, because the contrast was apparent.

If Luther was attempting to introduce a radical mistranslation into church history he failed. Luther mentions others before him translated Romans 3:28 as he did (for example, Ambrose and Augustine). The Roman Catholic writer Joseph Fitzmyer verified Luther’s claim, and also presented quite an extensive list of those previous to Luther doing likewise. Even some Roman Catholic versions of the New Testament also translated Romans 3:28 as did Luther. The Nuremberg Bible (1483), “allein durch den glauben” and the Italian Bibles of Geneva (1476) and of Venice (1538) say “per sola fede.” It is entirely possible Luther’s understanding of “faith alone” differs from those before him, but that is not the issue. The issue is whether or not the thrust of Romans 3:28 implies “alone.” Others previous to Luther may have differed in theological interpretation, yet saw the thrust of the words implied “alone.” Hence, as a translator, Luther holds company with others, and cannot be charged with a mistranslation. If he’s guilty of such a charge, so are many before him.

The entire Roman Catholic crusade against Luther on this issue is entirely unjustified when evaluated by their own paradigms. To my knowledge, there was not any official dogmatic statement prohibiting Luther from either translating the Bible, or translating Romans 3:28 as he did. There was not an infallible interpretation of Romans 3 during Luther’s translation work. Until such dogmatic declarations, those throughout church history previous to such cannot be held anathema for their positions or interpretations of Biblical passages. Further, there wasn’t a defined Roman position on Justification previous to Luther. That is, Roman Catholics cannot even indict Luther’s understanding of justification, because previous to Trent, there was not “one” Roman Catholic understanding of justification. Therefore, Roman Catholics who criticize Luther for not having authority to translate as he did forget their own Church allowed Luther to do so without him posthumously falling under an anathema.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Translations of the Word “Alone” in Romans 3:28 Previous to Luther

Over on the Carm boards, I came across the following:
 Thomas Aquinas, Expositio in Ep. I ad Timotheum cap. 1, lect. 3 (Parma ed., 13.588): “Non est ergo in eis [moralibus et caeremonialibus legis] spes iustificationis, sed in sola fide, Rom. 3:28: Arbitramur justificari hominem per fidem, sine operibus legis” (Therefore the hope of justification is not found in them [the moral and ceremonial requirements of the law], but in faith alone, Rom 3:28: We consider a human being to be justified by faith, without the works of the law). Cf. In ep. ad Romanos 4.1 (Parma ed., 13.42a): “reputabitur fides eius, scilicet sola sine operibus exterioribus, ad iustitiam”; In ep. ad Galatas 2.4 (Parma ed., 13.397b): “solum ex fide Christi” [Opera 20.437, b41]).
This is particularly funny. This quote has shown up in a 1001 places on the internet, never with any more supporting context. And, a good many times it is posted by our friend James Swan who works with James White, the notorious Catholic hater. The fact that 'faith alone' appears side by side in the works of a few Catholic doctors does not mean this is the "faith Alone" Martin Luther taught. In fact, if St. Thomas had indeed meant for it to be faith alone, why all these many centuries hasn't this come forward till now. And why didn't St. Thomas Aquinas repeat "faith alone" in his Commentary on Romans. I'm reading it now, there is little "faith alone". What we read St. Thomas say is that faith is formed in love, something far from alone.

Maybe you would be kind enough to get more than a few phrases on either side of the cited lines so we can see the content, I'm sure you have access to it, you didn't say it was obtained from any other source. Where did it come from?

JoeT


Here was my response:

I appreciate that you referred to me as "friend." Previous to this I had the feeling that you were most antagonistic to anything I post. It also appears from your recent comments that when I do take a moment or two to post on CARM, some of these occurrences you consider "good many times." It's nice to know you are a "friend" and you appreciate some of my posts as "good." 

You did though make a few tedious errors in your recent comment (and I'm only pointing them out now that I know we're friends). First, I am not (nor have I ever been) employed by James White, but I have written articles for him on his aomin.org site (and I could still if I so choose) I am not paid for any of my contributions to his web site, I never have been paid by him. Second, James White is not a "notorious Catholic hater." Don't take my word for it, Simply ask Father Mitch Pacwa (he's endorsed at least one of Dr. White's books).

In regard to the actual substance of your comments: the Aquinas quote that makes it's way around the Internet (which I probably helped popularize) was from Joseph A. Fitzmyer Romans, A New Translation with introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible Series (New York: Doubleday, 1993) 360-361. He's on your side, not mine. If you don't own this scholarly Roman Catholic work, you can actually view pages 360-361 by going over to Amazon and use their "Look Inside" feature

In regard to the contexts for those comments by Aquinas as cited by Joseph A. Fitzmyer: I'm not fluent in locating contexts for Aquinas like I am Reformation materials. However, I did take a few minutes to try to track the contexts down for you. I will certainly appreciate any corrections on the context locations (as we explore our new friendship!)

1. "Expositio in Ep. I ad Timotheum cap. 1, lect. 3 (Parma ed., 13.588): “Non est ergo in eis [moralibus et caeremonialibus legis] spes iustificationis, sed in sola fide, Rom. 3:28: Arbitramur justificari hominem per fidem, sine operibus legis” (Therefore the hope of justification is not found in them [the moral and ceremonial requirements of the law], but in faith alone, Rom 3:28: We consider a human being to be justified by faith, without the works of the law)."

I found the context for this quote on this link: Biblica. Super Epistulam ad Timotheum Primam. Feel free to read through the entire treatise. The paragraph the quote comes from can be searched for in the link: 

"Sed apostolus videtur loqui de moralibus, quia subdit quod lex posita est propter peccata, et haec sunt praecepta moralia. Horum legitimus usus est, ut homo non attribuat eis plus quam quod in eis continetur. Data est lex ut cognoscatur peccatum. Rom. VII, 7: quia nisi lex diceret: non concupisces, concupiscentiam nesciebam, etc.; quod dicitur in Decalogo. Non est ergo in eis spes iustificationis, sed in sola fide. Rom. III, 28arbitramur iustificari hominem per fidem sine operibus legis.

2. “reputabitur fides eius, scilicet sola sine operibus exterioribus, ad iustitiam”; In ep. ad Galatas 2.4 (Parma ed., 13.397b):

I found the context for this quote on this link. Scroll to page 45. I also found it here.

Deinde *** dicit ei vero, etc., ostendit qualiter se habeat merces aeterna ad fidem, dicens ei vero qui non
operatur, scilicet exteriora opera, puta quia non habet tempus operandi, sicut patet in baptizato statim mortuo, credenti in eum qui iustificat impium, scilicet in Deum, de quo dicitur infra, VIII, 18. Deus qui iustificat, reputabitur fides eius, scilicet sola sine operibus exterioribus, ad iustitiam, id est, ut per eam iustus dicatur, et iustitiae praemium accipiat, sicut si opera iustitiae fecisset, secundum illud infra, X, 10 corde creditur ad iustitiam, et hoc secundum propositum gratiae Dei, id est, secundum quod Deus proponit ex gratia sua homines salvare. Infra VIII, 28: his qui secundum propositum vocati sunt sancti. 

3. “solum ex fide Christi” [Opera 20.437, b41]).

I found the context, here.

Infra IV, 9: conversi estis ad egena elementa, id est, gratiam non conferentia, neque gratiam in se continentia. Sacramenta vero novae legis, licet sint elementa materialia, non tamen sunt elementa egena, quia in se gratiam continent, unde et iustificare possunt. Si qui autem in veteri lege iusti erant, non erant iusti ex operibus legis, sed solum ex fide Christi, quem Deus proposuit propitiatorem per fidem, ut dicitur Rom. III, 20. Unde et ipsa sacramenta veteris legis non fuerunt nisi quaedam protestationes fidei Christi, sicut et nostra sacramenta, sed differenter, quia illa sacramenta gratiam Christi configurabant quasi futuram; nostra autem sacramenta protestantur quasi continentia gratiam praesentem.

I don't believe these references are from the "Parma ed" as cited by Joseph A. Fitzmyer, but they do appear to be the contexts.

You say, "The fact that 'faith alone' appears side by side in the works of a few Catholic doctors does not mean this is the "faith Alone" Martin Luther taught." Perhaps you missed this In my previous comment. I stated, 
It is entirely possible Luther’s understanding of 'faith alone' differs from those before him, but that is not the issue. The issue is whether or not the thrust of Romans 3:28 implies “alone.” Others previous to Luther may have differed in theological interpretation, yet saw the thrust of the words implied “alone.” Hence, as a translator, Luther holds company with others, and cannot be charged with a mistranslation. If he’s guilty of such a charge, so are many before him.
In other words, my new friend, I grant that Aquinas probably didn't understand justification the same way as Luther. However, Aquinas appears to have read Romans 3:28 in a similar way. So when your compatriots want to charge Luther with mistranslating Romans 3:28, pointing to Fitzmyer list of those previous to Luther is to simply demonstrate that other besides Luther see "alone" as implicit in the meaning of that verse.

Addendum
Here are the pages from Fitzmyer:


Friday, January 29, 2016

Luther: Not for a thousand years has God bestowed such great gifts on any bishop as He has on me

This is a follow-up to my earlier critiques of  Shoebat's Martin Luther- The Bare Truth Unfolded. Their recent hit piece includes some Luther quotes I've never gone into detail on or have never covered, or deserve a fresh look. For instance, they state:

To add insult onto injury, he goes so far as to elevate himself greater than the Fathers, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine by stating: “St. Augustine or St. Ambrosius cannot be compared with me.” (Enlangen, Vol. 61, p422)To show his utter egotistical attitude, which has carried on down through the rest of Protestantism, he states:“Not for a thousand years has God bestowed such great gifts on any bishop as He has on me” (Luther’s Works, Erlangen ed., 61:422). If this really is the attitude of Luther towards God and His Truth, then God help today’s Protestants who have behaved in the same manner, if not worse.

Documentation
The Shoebat article first quotes Luther stating, "St. Augustine or St. Ambrosius cannot be compared with me (Enlangen, Vol. 61, p422)." I've thoroughly covered this quote before. Shoebat's use verifies they probably relied on Luther, Exposing the Myth as their main cut-and-paste source. The documentation "Enlangen, Vol. 61, p422" is misspelled (it's "Erlangen") and completely bogus. The quote without background gives off the impression that Luther generally considered himself greater than Augustine and Ambrose in all areas. The context though concerns upholding secular authority. Luther was under attack for rebellion against the state and he rhetorically argues that neither Augustine nor Ambrose were his equals in upholding secular government and power.

Even though Shoebat provides an accurate reference for the quote under scrutiny, it was probably originally taken from books like Hitler's Spiritual Ancestor by Peter Wiener or Luther IV by Hartmann Grisar. Someone at some point (maybe Grisar?) said this quote comes from "Luther’s Works, Erlangen ed., 61:422." This can be found here, on page 422. This text comes from the Tischreden, or Table Talk.  The Table Talk is a collection of second hand comments written down by Luther's friends and students, published after his death. The comment dates from September, 1542 and was recorded by  Caspar Heydenreich (see LW 54:413). The text reads as follows:



The same text can be found in WA, TR 5:189-190. This text has been translated into English. There are translations found in various biographies of Luther, for instance, like this one.  For the standard English rendering, see LW 54:430.


Context
No. 5494: Illness of Luther’s Daughter Becomes Graver September, 1542
When the illness of his daughter became graver he [Martin Luther] said, “I love her very much. But if it is thy will to take her, dear God, I shall be glad to know that she is with thee.”Afterward he said to his daughter, who was lying in bed, “Dear Magdalene, my little daughter, you would be glad to stay here with me, your father. Are you also glad to go to your Father in heaven?” The sick girl replied, “Yes, dear Father, as God wills.” The father said, “You dear little girl!” [Then he turned away from her and said,] “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak [Matt. 26:41]. I love her very much. If this flesh is so strong, what must the spirit be?” Among other things he then said, “In the last thousand years God has given to no bishop such great gifts as he has given to me (for one should boast of God’s gifts), i'm angry with myself that I’m unable to rejoice from my heart and be thankful to God, though I do at times sing a little song and thank God. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s [Rom. 14:8]—in the genitive singular and not in the nominative plural.” (LW 54:430)

The Life and Letters of Martin Luther provides a slightly different version:
As his daughter lay very ill, Dr. Luther said: "I love her very much, but dear God, if it be thy will to take her, I submit to thee." Then he said to her as she lay in bed: " Magdalene, my dear little daughter, would you like to stay here with your father, or would you willingly go to your Father yonder ? " She answered: " Darling father, as God wills." Then said he: " Dearest child, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." Then he turned away and said: " I love her very much; if my flesh is so strong, what can my spirit do? God has given no bishop so great a gift in a thousand years as he has given me in her. I am angry with myself that I cannot rejoice in heart and be thankful as I ought."


Conclusion
For the defenders of Rome (or anyone for that matter) using this quote, the context is not their friend. The historical context surrounds the death of Luther's daughter Magdalene, and one of the "great gifts" was.... his daughter. To learn more about the death of Luther's daughter, see this link. Shoebat.com says the quote demonstrates Luther's "utter egotistical attitude, which has carried on down through the rest of Protestantism.Had they actually done a little research, they would have easily found an account of father grieving for his his child.

  Some years back a defender of Rome used this same quote (among others) so readers could "marvel at Luther's numerous self-exalting, comically surreal utterances placing himself far above the fathers." Yes, let's indeed marvel at Luther's statement: the reported statement of a father watching his daughter die. If anything is "comically surreal" it's the effort some put in to their propaganda at the expense of a the context.