Monday, December 27, 2010

Luther on the Immaculate Conception: A Response to Scott Windsor (Part Five)

I. Introduction
This will be the fifth installment of my discussion with Scott Windsor on Luther and the immaculate conception. I've moved into taking a closer look at some of the Luther statements Scott has been utilizing and interpreting. Scott's uses a Luther quote from 1527 as the basis to interpret Luther's later statements about Mary. Luther is alleged to have held of Mary's conception, "Mary was, according to the first conception, without grace, yet, according to the second conception, she was full of grace." This "two conceptions" of Mary paradigm is said to explain Luther's later statements, proving he believed in the immaculate conception of Mary until his death in 1546.

Any statements from Luther that don't fit with Windsor's paradigm he interprets as Luther contradicting himself. With the quote examined in this entry, we'll see this is exactly what Windsor does. It contradicts Windsor view? Then Luther must be contradicting himself!

II. Luther's Genesis Commentary, 1544
The final crucial Luther quote Scott uses to prove Luther's lifelong adherence to Mary's immaculate conception is a statement from Luther's lectures on Genesis (which he took from my web page). Luther's Genesis material dates from the very end of Luther's life. Windsor quotes Luther stating,

But in the moment of the Virgin’s conception the Holy Spirit purged and sanctified the sinful mass and wiped out the poison of the devil and death, which is sin. Although death remained in that flesh on our account, the leaven of sin was nevertheless purged out, and it became the purest flesh, purified by the Holy Spirit and united with the divine nature in one Person.

The blue highlighted words are Scott's doing. Scott doesn't document the quote, but it comes from LW 7:13.

With this quote Scott is using, if the quote is really about Mary's conception, then it must follow she was "purified by the Holy Spirit and united with the divine nature in one Person"!

Commenting on this text, Windsor states:

Swan prefaces that citation with "Rather she was purified at the conception of Christ." I believe he has misread the citation. What Swan has quoted from Luther in 1544 is "in the moment of the Virgin's conception..." (that's Mary's conception, not Jesus') "...the Holy Spirit purged and sanctified the sinful mass and wiped out the poison of the devil and death, which is sin." Remember, Luther has already posited that Jesus' conception was preserved from all sin, even in His physical conception so Luther could not have been referring to Jesus' conception here. As we saw above, Luther adhered to a concept of a dual conception - one physical and one spiritual. The Catholic definition does not make such a distinction, so Luther's view of the "second conception" fits quite perfectly with the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception which was so defined over 300 years after 1546, the year of Luther's death, but more to the point here, just two years before his death he expresses belief that "in the moment of the Virgin's conception the Holy Spirit purged and sanctified the sinful Mass (the product of the "first conception" in Luther's theology) and wiped out the poison of the devil and death, which is sin." So what we have seen here, even using Mr. Swan's own citations, is that Luther did indeed have a life-long belief in the Immaculate Conception. Was it identical to the 1854 definition? That is debatable, but also unnecessary as the precision of the definition comes with the 1854 ex cathedra decree from Pope Pius IX. Thus Luther's belief in the "two conceptions" was an acceptable understanding of the Immaculate Conception for his day and this belief does not seem to have changed throughout Luther's life. Mr. Swan's harsh criticism of Catholic apologists who have affirmed Luther's life-long belief in the Immaculate Conception is therefore unwarranted.

III. Analysis of Windsor's Position
Windsor's comment, "I believe [Swan] has misread the citation" is ironic, because at the time he wrote this statement, I don't think he actually had (or read) LW 7, or had digested the material I provided for him in this link. Again, search through LW 7 all you want, one will not find any comment about "two conceptions." Windsor is reading this into the text due to his interpretive paradigm of "two conceptions."

In my first response to Mr. Windsor, I cited an extended section from this very context, in which Luther clearly states things like, "in His conception the Holy Spirit came and overshadowed and purified the mass which He received from the Virgin" and "when the time for assuming the flesh in the womb of the Virgin came, it was purified and sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit." The entire context speaks of Mary being purified at the conception of Christ.

The quote Scott posted was part of a comment on the massa imperdita. Luther uses this opportunity deny any notion that Mary was purified at her conception. Rather she was purified at the conception of Christ:

The scholastic doctors argue about whether Christ was born from sinful or clean flesh, or whether from the foundation of the world God preserved a pure bit of flesh from which Christ was to be born. I reply, therefore, that Christ was truly born from true and natural flesh and human blood which was corrupted by original sin in Adam, but in such a way that it could be healed. Thus we, who are encompassed by sinful flesh, believe and hope that on the day of our redemption the flesh will be purged of and separated from all infirmities, from death, and from disgrace; for sin and death are separable evils. Accordingly, when it came to the Virgin and that drop of virginal blood, what the angel said was fulfilled: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). To be sure, the Messiah was not born by the power of flesh and blood, as is stated in John ( cf. 1:13): “Not of blood nor of the will of a man, etc.” Nevertheless, He wanted to be born from the mass of the flesh and from that corrupted blood. But in the moment of the Virgin’s conception the Holy Spirit purged and sanctified the sinful mass and wiped out the poison of the devil and death, which is sin. Although death remained in that flesh on our account, the leaven of sin was nevertheless purged out, and it became the purest flesh, purified by the Holy Spirit and united with the divine nature in one Person. Therefore it is truly human nature no different from what it is in us. And Christ is the Son of Adam and of his seed and flesh, but, as has been stated, with the Holy Spirit overshadowing it, active in it, and purging it, in order that it might be fit for this most innocent conception and the pure and holy birth by which we were to be purged and freed from sin [LW 7:12-13].

Note the last sentence: "Christ is the Son of Adam and of his seed and flesh, but, as has been stated, with the Holy Spirit overshadowing it, active in it, and purging it, in order that it might be fit for this most innocent conception and the pure and holy birth by which we were to be purged and freed from sin." If someone has misread a citation, it's Windsor, not me.

Take a look at Luther's comments from this same context. Luther is commenting on Genesis 38 and the account of Judah and Tamar. He expounds on the reasons the Bible includes such scandalous accounts. One of the reasons he states as follows:

In the second place, the Holy Spirit considered the Messiah and the birth of the Son of God; and this is the more important reason. For it was necessary for this lapse to take place in the very line in which the Son of God was to be born. Judah, the very eminent patriarch, a father of Christ, committed this unspeakable act of incest in order that Christ might be born from a flesh outstandingly sinful and contaminated by a most disgraceful sin. For he begets twins by an incestuous harlot, his own daughter-in-law, and from this source the line of the Savior is later derived. Here Christ must become a sinner in His flesh, as disgraceful as He ever can become. The flesh of Christ comes forth from an incestuous union; likewise, the flesh of the Virgin, His mother, and of all the descendants of Judah, in such a way that the ineffable plan of God’s mercy may be pointed out, because He assumed the flesh or the human nature from flesh that was contaminated and horribly polluted. [LW 7:12]

The name of the wife was Tamar... it is necessary to mention her, and this chapter is written for her sake alone; for she is a mother of the Savior, God’s Son, for whose sake all Holy Scripture has been given, in order that He might become known and be celebrated. From this Tamar, then, the Messiah was descended, even though through an incestuous defilement. Him we must seek and acknowledge in this book...Christ alone is a son of the flesh without the sin of the flesh. Concerning all the rest the statement “who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh” (cf. John 1:13) remains immovable.[LW 7:17]

But Judah begs that he may be permitted to go in to Tamar, that is, to have intercourse with her—for thus Holy Scripture is accustomed to speak—and nothing is added as to where they perpetrated the incest, since Moses said that she sat in an open place and in sight of passersby. I do not think that they cohabited in public like the Cynics; but I suppose that perhaps they withdrew into a small house, a cave, or a nearby wood. And there she was made pregnant by the most shameful act of incest, and the flesh from which Christ was to be born was poured from the loins of Judah and was propagated, carried about, and contaminated with sin right up to the conception of Christ. That is how our Lord God treats our Savior. God allows Him to be conceived in most disgraceful incest, in order that He may assume the truest flesh, just as our flesh is poured forth, conceived, and nourished in sins. But later, when the time for assuming the flesh in the womb of the Virgin came, it was purified and sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit, according to Luke 1:35: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and will overshadow you.” Nevertheless, it was truly flesh polluted from Judah and Tamar.


Therefore all these things have been described for Christ’s sake, in order that it might be certain that He really had to be born from sinful flesh, but without sin. Accordingly, David says this of himself in Ps. 51:5: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity.” This is said correctly also of the flesh of Christ as it was in the womb of Tamar, before it was assumed and purged. But this flesh He assumed later, after it had been purged, in order that He might be able to bear the punishment for sin in His own body.[LW 7:31]

Here, therefore, the Blessed Seed is described. It is descended from the accursed, lost, and condemned seed and flesh. Nevertheless, It Itself is without sin and corruption. According to nature, Christ has the same flesh that we have; but in His conception the Holy Spirit came and overshadowed and purified the mass which He received from the Virgin that He might be united with the divine nature. In Christ, therefore, there is the holiest, purest, and cleanest flesh; but in us and in all human beings it is altogether corrupt, except insofar as it is restored in Christ. [LW 7:36]



IV. Windsor's Response: Luther Contradicted Himself
Windsor's entry quotes LW 7 and concludes "So what we have seen here, even using Mr. Swan's own citations, is that Luther did indeed have a life-long belief in the Immaculate Conception" and "Mr. Swan's harsh criticism of Catholic apologists who have affirmed Luther's life-long belief in the Immaculate Conception is therefore unwarranted." If ever there was a clear context from Luther on this issue, this is it. The last Roman Catholic vigorously arguing Windsor's position read this section I posted from from LW 7 and changed his view from Luther having a lifelong belief in Mary's immaculate conception to Luther holding to Mary's "immaculate purification" from sin at the conception of Christ.

Windsor though took a different approach. I pointed out that LW 7 states, "And there she was made pregnant by the most shameful act of incest, and the flesh from which Christ was to be born was poured from the loins of Judah and was propagated, carried about, and contaminated with sin right up to the conception of Christ." Scott's response?

"Luther conflicts with his own statements when it comes to both the conception of Mary and that of Jesus. My article demonstrates a life-long acceptance of the Immaculate Conception... at least up until just 2 years from his death. The piece which James covers here contradicts what Luther said about Mary's 'second conception' wherein the very "moment it (she) began to live 'she was cleansed of all sin (from 1527 sermon). It is also in conflict where he said 'But though Mary has been conceived in sin, the Holy Spirit takes her flesh and blood and purifies them' (in 1538). James himself quoted this 'But in the moment of the Virgin’s conception the Holy Spirit purged and sanctified the sinful mass and wiped out the poison of the devil and death, which is sin" (1544).' "

"I would also concur with another commentator on Luther - he is extremely hard to pin down on some issues, and the IC is certainly one of those. He does make some contradictory statements regarding it, this I do not deny. However, it was my goal to demonstrate that he did indeed write/publish works throughout his life in support of the IC. Granted, in his Catholic days and even early Protestant days it was much easier to find him in full and explicit support of the IC and though he did write some seemingly contradictory pieces to it - Luther does not ever come out and flatly deny the Immaculate Conception and (I repeat) just two years from his death he writes in support of it (and again, not as forceful as earlier in his life, but it is supported nonetheless)."

"I have openly stated that Luther contradicts himself - and yes, I would say within this same context he does so. Even if, for the sake of argument, we give you the 1544 statement - in 1538, just six years prior, he's still affirming the possibility of his earlier "two conceptions" concept."

"As for Luther's "waivering" on this point, I'm not really seeing that. James has produced at least one contradictory statement (I perhaps overspoke when I implied there are more) on the matter of the IC. My point was that both before and after that statement Luther makes statements supportive of a belief in the IC. So, to focus on minimal negative commentary from Luther on this matter and ignore other positive statements and then to state that Luther rejected the IC based solely on the negative comments (sandwiched by positive ones) is not an objective view of what Luther really wrote/taught on this subject."

V. Conclusion
For Windsor, no matter how consistent Luther was in his comments on Genesis 38, Luther contradicted himself: first by contradicting earlier statements, and then also in the same context. All this Windsor concluded probably without reading any of the material in context, including the very earlier sermon from which his "two conceptions" paradigm was taken. I've never seen the loophole "Luther contradicted himself" used more haphazardly with a text. True, Luther's theology went through changes throughout his career, but his actual works from each period actually have coherent continuity, including this one. The only thing being contradicted here is Scott Windsor.

Addendum
Scott Windsor and I had some further interaction on this Luther-context here. We focused on this Luther quote:

But in the moment of the Virgin’s conception the Holy Spirit purged and sanctified the sinful mass and wiped out the poison of the devil and death, which is sin. Although death remained in that flesh on our account, the leaven of sin was nevertheless purged out, and it became the purest flesh, purified by the Holy Spirit and united with the divine nature in one Person.

I kept asking Scott about this quote to get him to try to make sense of it, unless of course he simply thinks Luther was such a poor theologian that the quote is a garbled mess. I don't put that view past him, since he's already stated Luther contradicts himself in this very context- a position I think is bogus and desperate- to avoid the obvious that he's completely mis-reading this text and context from LW 7.The point I keep trying to get him to think about is that if Luther is speaking about the conception of Mary in her mother's womb, the second sentence makes no sense.

For the sake of argument, let's pretend Luther is speaking about the conception of Mary in her mother's womb in the first sentence:

But in the moment of the Virgin’s conception the Holy Spirit purged and sanctified the sinful mass and wiped out the poison of the devil and death, which is sin.

Now, if this was all we had (that is, the rest of LW 7 simply vanished), the text could go either way: It could be the conception of Mary in her mother's womb, it could also be the conception of Christ in Mary's womb. Luther would simply be calling Mary "the virgin" as a title of Mary, not making reference to the virgin birth. Of course the context SCREAMS virgin birth, so in my view (and I could research this for Scott) Luther isn't calling Mary by a title, but referring to the virgin birth.

Now the second sentence:

Although death remained in that flesh on our account, the leaven of sin was nevertheless purged out, and it became the purest flesh, purified by the Holy Spirit and united with the divine nature in one Person.

In the next sentence Luther says, "death remained in that flesh on our account." Now of course, the rest of the context from LW 7 explains what that means= Luther is commenting on Genesis 38 and the account of Judah and Tamar- He expounds on the reasons the Bible includes such scandalous accounts, and how "the flesh from which Christ was to be born was poured from the loins of Judah and was propagated, carried about, and contaminated with sin right up to the conception of Christ."

Let's though pretend again. If Luther's talking about the conception of Mary in her mother's womb, is the "flesh" he's talking about Mary's mother or Mary? Well, if it's Mary's mother, then it wouldn't make sense, because "the leaven of sin" wasn't purged out of Mary's mother. So let's say Luther is talking about Mary and her being conceived in her mother's womb. "Death remained in (Mary's flesh at her conception)on our account, the leaven of sin was nevertheless purged out, and it became the purest flesh." OK, let's say that Luther is meaning to say that in Mary's first conception, death remained in it for our account. I have no idea what Luther would bw saying if indeed this was his point. Why does death need to remain in Mary's first conception for our account? Perhaps Mr. Windsor could explain.

Next Luther states, "the leaven of sin was nevertheless purged out, and it became the purest flesh, purified by the Holy Spirit ." In Scott's view, this again would refer to Mary's first conception. Does a conceived infant in the first moment of conception have flesh? Well, Luther could be speaking figuratively if he holds Windsor's view, I guess.

This is the part I don't get, and only Windsor can explain this one to me if his view is what Luther meant. Luther would be stating Mary after her second conception (or during), was then "united with the divine nature in one Person."

I just don't see how this last part of the sentence makes any sense if Luther is speaking about the conception of Mary in her mother's womb. How is Mary united with the divine nature in one person? Do you think he means that Mary in her holiness or purity became united with God's divine nature? If so, I have never read Luther saying anything remotely similar to this about Mary.

I'm trying to take Scott's interpretation as seriously as possible. Can he please explain what the end of this sentence means according to his view? Perhaps if you could come up with a reasonable explanation of this "divine nature" and "one person" part, it would be easier to take his view seriously, despite the fact the context of LW 7 supports my view.

The way I see it, the second sentence has an obvious meaning:

Although death remained in that flesh on our account, the leaven of sin was nevertheless purged out, and it became the purest flesh, purified by the Holy Spirit and united with the divine nature in one Person.

The flesh being spoken of with death and sin is Mary's at the conception of Christ. At that conception, it was purged out, becoming purified flesh by the Holy Spirit, and then united with God= the incarnation.

18 comments:

steve said...

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Luther "contradicted" myself by changing his mind from young Luther to old Luther. How is that any different from Augustine "contradicting" himself by revising some of his former positions in Retractationes?

For that matter, Roman Catholicism allows popes to contradict themselves or each other as long as they weren't speaking ex cathedra at the time.

Jeph said...

Speaking of Augustine's "Retractationes", can somebody please tell me where can I read the book for free online? Thanks!

steelikat said...

Steve,

You have supposed a thing "for the sake of" some unspecified argument and asked a vague, open-ended question.

Is it safe to assume that the argument for the sake of which you have supposed that Luther contradicted himself is not any ongoing argument but a future argument you hope your open-ended question might inspire?

I'll play along and try to think of a difference. A difference in Luther's case as opposed to Augustine is that Augustine's contradictions were part of a radical change of religion, an abandonment of Manicheanism and an embrace of Christianity. Luther's contradictions were not a part of a radical change of religion but an evolution and growth of Christian theological understanding.

How's that?

steve said...

Augustine's Retractions have reference, not to his recanting Manichaeism, but his retracting early positions he took as a Christian theologian.

steelikat said...

OK. I can't think of anything, then. I assume "they differ in regards to which specific positions changed" is too trivial to count as a good answer to your question.

I predict this line of enquiry will go nowhere.

CathApol said...

Mr. Swan, how many times must I say that I appreciate the time and effort you've been putting into this? Secondly, why are you so interested in the methodology - seemingly over the truth? For example, you appear to be saying I've gotten this right regarding Luther's contradictions, but you question the methods of me reaching that conclusion - is that what you're saying?

Now, as I said, several times, I am dealing with this as I have time to do so. My apologetics don't solely revolve around Luther and his comments, nor does the rest of my life - and frankly, I have not had the time available to devote to a complete response. I am archiving your parts 3, 4 and 5 and will get to them. Also frankly speaking, you're repeating yourself a bit, is there a point to that?

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

steve said...

CathApol said...

"Now, as I said, several times, I am dealing with this as I have time to do so. My apologetics don't solely revolve around Luther and his comments, nor does the rest of my life - and frankly, I have not had the time available to devote to a complete response."

Translation: Scott Windsor is a drive-by epologist who resents being made to back up his claims with suitable evidence. He's used to sneak-n-retreat tactics. Make uninformed allegations, then hightail it out of town. Like kids with BB guns shooting out the windows of the local school, then escaping on their motorbikes.

As a Catholic epologist, having to be honest is a novel experience for Windsor.

Ryan said...

Jeph,

The table of contents and the first 11 chapters are available here:

http://www.questia.com/library/book/the_retractations_by_saint_augustine_maryline_inez_bogan.jsp

If you sign up, you could probably read the whole book before the free trial period runs out.

steelikat:

"A difference in Luther's case as opposed to Augustine is that Augustine's contradictions were part of a radical change of religion, an abandonment of Manicheanism and an embrace of Christianity."

Augustine's retraction of, say, his understanding of the "Rock" in Matthew 16:18 had nothing to with his conversion to Christianity. Much of his book has nothing to do with Manicheanism.

CathApol said...

Steve,
Your comments are WAY out of line. First off, the "drive by" was by Mr. Swan, who "drove by" my website and found the citations we're discussing.

Secondly, I have been working on this to "make it right" for weeks now. Your characterization of me "high-tailing it out of town" is ludicrous and a flat out lie. I'm still here and still engaging Mr. Swan.

Thirdly, if all you have time for is to cast insults - then I have no time whatsoever for you. If you have something of substance to offer to the discussion, I have been and remain willing to listen and take any fair criticism of what is on my website. Keep in mind, that work was not mine to begin with, it was given to me by someone else who got it (apparently) from mariology.com. The first time I saw it was as a posting to the BattleACTS Forum back in 2004. I could just delete the page, but since it has been on my site for so long, I am fixing it so that the citations and quotations are accurate and contextual (some of the quotes will be removed entirely).

Your attempt to impugn my honesty is among the lowest of low blows, and absolutely false, and you imply that *I* am the dishonest one! If I were being dishonest about this, I would not be investing the time (and money) I have in this thus far. An apology from you is due here, but I won't hold my breath until I get one.

steve said...

CathApol said...

“Steve, Your comments are WAY out of line.”

To a drunk, straight lines look crooked.

“First off, the "drive by" was by Mr. Swan, who ‘drove by’ my website and found the citations we're discussing.”

Given the overwhelming level of suitable documentation that Swan has produced, he’s clearly not the drive-by shooter. That would still be you.

“Secondly, I have been working on this to ‘make it right’ for weeks now. Your characterization of me "high-tailing it out of town" is ludicrous and a flat out lie. I'm still here and still engaging Mr. Swan.”

You’ve been working on this to save face. Because blogging is a public medium, your reputation (as it were) is now at stake.

“Thirdly, if all you have time for is to cast insults - then I have no time whatsoever for you.”

Given the quality (or absence thereof) of your interaction with Swan, I think I can like survive the deprivation of your stony silence.

“Keep in mind, that work was not mine to begin with, it was given to me by someone else who got it (apparently) from mariology.com.”

I have no difficulty keeping in mind your reliance on hack sources.

“Your attempt to impugn my honesty is among the lowest of low blows, and absolutely false, and you imply that *I* am the dishonest one!”

I could no more impugn your honesty than I could impugn pink unicorns.

“If I were being dishonest about this, I would not be investing the time (and money) I have in this thus far.”

Saving face isn’t motivated by honesty. Rather, it’s motivated by desperation.

And it’s clear that your financial investment in the relevant primary and secondary sources is pretty negligible.

natamllc said...

Hmmmm, good point Steve!

Scott, how does one impugn honesty anyway?

What's the cry for? If your work is indeed honest all impugning of it will fail!

Me thinks you protest too much!

And, Augustine contradicting himself in the face of what he had to deal with is a far cry from what Luther was divorcing himself from either by way of contradiction or just plain enlightenment to Christian liberty Truth brings you into in the face of all the errors of Rome!

Honestly, isn't it a fact of His Faith in this Life, once called to His Eternal Glory, that Augustine or Luther or you and me, should accept this as our future, in anticipation of learning more and more about God in this sojourn through temporal life?

Here's how the Great Pope of Rome admonished it:

2Pe 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
2Pe 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.


Doesn't this wisdom of Peter imply there shall come contradictions over time as we grow in the Grace and knowledge of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Someone noted of God's ability to learn, that if God learned anything He would not be God! :)

CathApol said...

Whatever to the peanut gallery, I'll be responding to Mr. Swan on this matter regarding Luther and his belief in the Immaculate Conception. The rest of you are just distractions not putting forth an ounce of substance, just insults and whinings or pats on the back and high-fives to your choir. Where there is substance, I'll take a look, but enough of these distractions.

covnitkepr1 said...

You are more than welcome to visit my blog and become a follower. If you put a "follow widget" on this site...I will gladly follow you as well.

James Swan said...

Steve Finnell said...
you are invited to follow my blog


covnitkepr1 said...
You are more than welcome to visit my blog and become a follower. If you put a "follow widget" on this site...I will gladly follow you as well.


I don't crave popularity by showing how many "Followers" I have. Notice I don't use the "Followers" widget.

So, if you guys want to solicit, go somewhere else.

James Swan said...

Secondly, why are you so interested in the methodology - seemingly over the truth?

Most of my Luther-related posts have an element of discerning methodology. Part of researching Roman Catholic presentations of Luther is figuring out why particular quotes or conclusions were reached. For example, in my Luther Exposing the Myth series I've taken the time to discern which sources were used to arrive at the particular conclusions reached. In your case with this present discussion, many of the conclusions you reached are so far from "truth"- figuring out why you arrived where you you did sheds light as to why you arrived where you did. What makes this interesting is you used my writings to formulate your conclusions. I can't entirely blame Patrick O'Hare, or some other secondary Romanist source for your incorrect conclusions. No, you somehow read my writings and arrived where you did.

Based on your conclusions with another a pop-Roman Catholic apologetics web site (which you've admitted to using ), you argue very similarly to that web site, but appear to be completely unaware that site now admits Luther held to the immaculate purification of Mary at the conception of Christ. Obviously, I enjoy the irony that two different Roman apologists argue two different conclusions, and you're arguing the abandoned position. Perhaps the muddled incoherent argumentation presented on the web site played a part in formulating your view.

James Swan said...

For example, you appear to be saying I've gotten this right regarding Luther's contradictions, but you question the methods of me reaching that conclusion - is that what you're saying?

I'm not sure how you're getting this from anything I've written, particularly in this post. I state above, "True, Luther's theology went through changes throughout his career, but his actual works from each period actually have coherent continuity, including this one." Luther's theology evolved, that's for sure. He himself warns people to be careful with his writings. For the sake of irony, we'll refer to Luther's changes as "development of his doctrine"- the acorns that were planted in him turned into big oak trees.

What you seem to be arguing for on this topic Scott is a Luther who is so "out there" he contradicts himself in the same writing. No, his writings have a continuity, particularly the very writings you're using. Roman Catholic scholar Joseph Lortz point's out, "Luther belongs in the first rank of men with extraordinary intellectual creativity. He is in the full sense a genius, a man of massive power in things religious and a giant as well in theological interpretation."

I am archiving your parts 3, 4 and 5 and will get to them. Also frankly speaking, you're repeating yourself a bit, is there a point to that?

I put the material in order, reviewing your posts and then subsequent comments.

Now, as I said, several times, I am dealing with this as I have time to do so. My apologetics don't solely revolve around Luther and his comments, nor does the rest of my life - and frankly, I have not had the time available to devote to a complete response.

I spend little time on-line each day. But since I've studied this subject as a hobby on and off for about eight years, I can go through the materials quickly. Respond or don't. So far you haven't added anything to this subject that hasn't been put forth already by your fellow apologists. You haven't exegeted any of the historical passages coherently. You haven't mined out any new materials from Luther's writings that I haven't seen.

The only thing you've done so far is present another example of pop-apologetic Roman Catholicism's failure to go deep into history.

James Swan said...

From Scott's blog:

Just a quick note/response here for now. James Swan has posted three more "parts" to his response to me on Luther and the Immaculate Conception. He seems to be repeating himself quite a bit and (speculating here) perhaps he's trying to overwhelm me so that he can have "the last word" in this discussion.

LOL. Oh I've been found out.

Well, my comment at BeggarsAll was posted and then it disappeared, now it's back again. I'm not sure how that's happening...

This is simple. It's a dimension problem similar to what happens at the Bermuda Triangle.