Last night I read the following over on Steve Ray's blog:
"Also, after the dust settles, I intend to revise my response to James Swan about the Luther quote he is researching–when I have time. I will post my edited response in the near future. I am actually grateful for his research. My original response can be read here. In my revised response I intend to thank him for his research since we all want to be accurate and thorough. "
This is from the same blog entry which earlier alerted Steve's readers to his response. I didn't save a copy of it, but I think it's been edited a bit, which is fine. I was going to post this over on AOMIN, but I'll wait for whatever revision Steve puts forth of his rebuttal (this will be revision #3, and my apologies to Mr. Ray, I haven't thoroughly read #2 yet).
At this point I'm more interested in an actual context rather than how and for what purpose Mr. Ray utilized Luther. I really am very curious as to the history of this particular Luther citation, and I'm hopeful Mr. Ray can provide a context, or at least provide some helpful documentation so I can dig into it. I have some of my own avenues of research I'm going to check (probably mid-January when I get some time). Tracing quotes, while some may think it is a burden, is actually enjoyable. It's very interesting to trace how different Luther citations are used through the years.
But wait, never mind.
This morning, Turretinfan sent me a link to a recent Steve Ray blog article. Mr. Ray says,
"DA has posted a blog entry explaining how one anti-Catholic operates as he criticizes Catholics. Interesting read! Guys like this really ought to fix the real holes in his own bucket before trying to find perceived holes in someone else's (Matt 7:3-5). An earlier post by DA on the same topic can be read here."
So, to aid Mr. Ray, the Catholic-apologetic-Knight-in-Shining-Armor has arrived! Three Cheers!And here for a brief moment, I thought Steve Ray could actually rise above the silliness that goes along with the pop-Catholic apologetic approach.
By the way, despite what the latest round of kindness states, I still recommend Paul Althaus, The Theology Of Martin Luther, and Ewald Plass, What Luther Says. Both are excellent systematic treatments of Luther's writings giving one an excellent overview of Luther's theology. The Althaus book was required reading in a class I took specifically on Luther's theology. If you want to research Luther in a systematic way, these are two excellent resources.
As to my use of secondary sources for Luther quotes, I use them as a last resort, and likewise will seek to produce the context rather than run away or create smoke without fire. Note specifically, the mode I'm critiquing of secondary source usage perpetuated by those like Mr. Ray, is the use of the OUTRAGEOUS quote: those quotes that sound shocking, or completely non-congruent with what one knows about the Reformers. These are the quotes that create caricature rather than historical fact. When I cite a secondary source, you can probably count on it not being some outrageous fact about Luther that can't be cross-referenced with contexts that can be checked to prove the point. For example, you can read through my paper, A Look at Justification By Faith Alone and Good Works in Luther’s Theology . See section VI. Quotations From Luther on Faith and Works. I utilized secondary sources and primary English sources. All saying (guess what) the SAME THING.
For instance, with this latest use of a Luther quote used by Steve Ray, I challenge anyone to read through Luther's writings against Zwingli (and the Swiss) in LW 37, and then ask one simple question: Would Luther really "concede" or say that a Church Council will be, or needs to be, the deciding voice on the controversy between them? Absolutely not! This is why I'm so vehement in pointing out these "type" of quotes perpetuated by pop-Catholic apologetics- people like Mr. Ray neglect hundreds of pages of easily checked contexts, and systematic treatments of Luther, and put forth, in their place, obscure quotes that say the opposite to what Luther actually held.
I'm going to specifically e-mail this blog entry to Mr. Ray, in the hopes that he understands my concern. He can be part of the mud-slinging, or he can revise his methods. Simply go back and check DA's earlier Luther "work" of poor documentation and reliance on "shock" sources, and his recent efforts to document information more helpfully. If these men wish to be taken seriously, I suggest they do serious work.