Sunday, November 14, 2010

Luther: the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin

Introduction
Ever wonder how I got involved looking up obscure Luther quotes? Here's the tale of one of the early Luther quotes I went scavenging for. This quote from Luther, said to prove he believed in Mary's immaculate conception, was (and is still) on numerous Roman Catholic sites:

"It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin."

This quote was on web pages like this and this. It's supposed to serve as proof that "the Marian teachings and preachings of the Reformers have been 'covered up' by their most zealous followers - with damaging theological and practical consequences." I became curious about such assertions, and began taking a closer look at this issue. The result was this paper: Martin Luther's Theology of Mary. It turns out this quote was covered up, but not by Luther's followers, but probably by Luther himself.


The Roman Catholic Runaround
The first time I came across this quote it was simply documented as "Sermon: 'On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,' 1527." There wasn't even a hint of a reference to a primary source. I searched quite a bit for an accurate source, especially an English translation. I eventually gave up, arriving at the conviction that the sermon was almost impossible to track down, especially in English. There simply wasn't anything on-line at the time that mentioned a primary source, or any sort of English translation. This was previous to the advent of Google Books. All I had were a few sparse Internet references and a few college libraries.

At one point a Roman Catholic apologist offered me these helpful hints on how to find this quote:

It is also untrue that no documentation on the Internet (besides my own) has been offered, and that the quote "is almost impossible to track down" and "not included in the English edition of Luther’s Works," as Mr. Swan laments. Au contraire! In fact, at least two other web pages give the documentation from the English version of Luther's Works: Luther's Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan, volume 4, 694. I found this in a paper, "The Protestant Reformers on Mary". To locate it was an amazingly simple task. I went to Google, the best Internet search engine (http://www.google.com/) and typed in the keywords "Luther Mariology." My own article... came up first. My topical index web page on Mary came up second. The article above was the fifth web page listed. I also found an abridged version of the same citation, with the same exact documentation, on the page, "Martin Luther and Mary,"... on the website of another fellow Catholic apologist (Martin Luther and Mary) -- both acquaintances of mine. This was discovered on Google by simply typing in "Luther Mary." It came up seventh in the resulting listing. What Mr. Swan considers "almost impossible," then; and what he failed to discover by his agonizing, assiduous labor of "looking through dozens of books on Luther, and at least three different sets of his sermons," I accomplished in 5-10 minutes. Maybe he is new to the Internet, though (I have seven years' experience). We all have to learn our way around the Worldwide Web. In any event, I wish to heartily thank Mr. Swan for offering me (due to his fallacious charges and erroneous proclamations) this opportunity to greatly strengthen my argument, as he also did in our last exchange. But for his factually-challenged protests, I wouldn't have done this research today. I'm not one to pass up a golden opportunity like this.

Well, here's the moral of this part of the story: finding something on Google from a Roman Catholic apologetics website doesn't always make something real. "Luther's Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan, volume 4, 694" is a bogus reference. Volume 4 of LW does not have a page 694. Luther’s Works volume 4 is entitled "Lectures on Genesis 21-25.” Why would a volume dedicated to Luther's Genesis lectures include "Sermon: "On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God," since in fact selections from Luther's sermons appear in volumes 51 and 52? I was familiar with this bogus reference, even before this Romanist exhortation. Something fishy was going on with Rome's Internet defenders.


The Hartmann Grisar Trail
As part of my inquiries into Luther's Mariology, I found this book in the stacks (by a Roman Catholic historian) at Westminster Theological Seminary: Hartmann Grisar, Martin Luther: His Life and Work (Maryland: The Newman Press, 1950). On page 211, Grisar states: "As late as 1527 [Luther] even acknowledged the doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary, in conformity with theological traditions of the Augustinian Order [Op. cit., IV, 238 and 500 sqq]". The reference isn't to Luther's writings, but rather to volume IV of Grisar's extended treatment of Luther. I couldn't find any library copies of this book, so I bought one. In that book, Grisar states on page 238,

The supreme distinction which the Church acknowledges in Mary viz. her immaculate conception and exemption from original sin from the first moment of her soul's existence Luther himself accepted at first and adhered to for a consider able time, following in this the tradition of his Order.(1)

(1) He admitted this belief handed down in the Catholic Schools, though not proclaimed a dogma till much later, in the sermon he preached in 1527 "on the day of the Conception of Mary the Mother of God": "It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin" ( "Werke," Erl. ed., 15 2, p. 58). The sermon was taken down in notes and published with Luther's approval. The same statements concerning the Immaculate Conception still remain in a printed edition published in 1529, but in the later editions which appeared during Luther's lifetime they disappear. (Cp. N. Paulus, "Lit. Beil. der Koln. Volksztng.," 1904, No. 41.) In a work of 1521 he says : Mary not only kept God's commandments perfectly but also "received so much grace that she was quite filled with it, as we believe" ("Rationis Latomiance confutatio, "Werke," Weim. ed., 8. p. 56 ; "Opp. lat. var.," 7, p. 416). As Luther's intellectual and ethical development progressed we cannot naturally expect the sublime picture of the pure Mother of God, the type of virginity, of the spirit of sacrifice and of sanctity to furnish any great attraction for him, and as a matter of fact such statements as the above are no longer met with in his later works."

On pages 500-501 Grisar states:

In the same year [1516], on the Feast of our Lady's Conception, he speaks of her name, which he says is derived from "stilla maris," and extols her as the one pure drop in the ocean of the "massa perditionis." To his admission here that her conception was immaculate he was still true in 1527, as has already been shown; after 1529, however, the passage containing this admission was expunged when the sermon in question was reprinted. In his home-postils he says of her conception: "Mary the Mother was surely born of sinful parents, and in sin, as we were" ; any explanation of the universal belief to the contrary and of his own previous statements he does not attempt. (3)

(3) "Werke," Erl. ed., 6 2, p.433

There it was- the very Luther quote word for word being used in Romanist apologetic web pages. The resemblance was so similar, I could only conclude that someone had taken the quote from this book (which turned out to indeed be the case). What was left out on Romanist websites? Grisar's admission that the quote was removed from the sermon during Luther's lifetime, and the comment, "As Luther's intellectual and ethical development progressed we cannot naturally expect the sublime picture of the pure Mother of God, the type of virginity, of the spirit of sacrifice and of sanctity to furnish any great attraction for him, and as a matter of fact such statements as the above are no longer met with in his later works." Someone ignored the clear context of Grisar, swiped a quote, and posted what I think can only be characterized as propaganda.

Grisar does though cite a primary source: "Werke," Erl. ed., 15 2, p. 58. "Erl" refers to the Erlangen edition of Luther's works. Some of these volumes are now on-line, but most of the scans are poor. Here is Erl 15. The sermon begins on page 43, and ends on page 55 (This is a different edition than that used by Grisar, making the page number he cited different). An asterisk at the bottom of page 54 indicates a deletion of the end paragraphs: "From here on until the end, is only found in the edition of the year 1527."


Luther's Edited Sermon from 1527
For proof the sermon was later edited, Grisar cites Roman Catholic scholar "N. Paulus". "Lit. Beil. der Koln. Volksztng.," 1904, No. 41" refers to "Literarische Beilage der Köln", a scholarly journal. It appears Grisar's conclusions about the editing of this sermon rest on the work of another Roman Catholic scholar.

Lutheran scholar Eric Gritsch makes a more recent reference to the fact that the sermon was edited. After quoting a portion of the sermon in question, he footnotes the text stating: "In another version of the same sermon from 1528 Luther declared that Scripture did not say anything about the conception of Mary. Accordingly, various ideas can be advanced, as long as none of them becomes an article of faith. For an analysis of the two versions, see Dufel, 169-170" [H. George Anderson, J. Francis Stafford, Joseph A. Burgess (editors) The One Mediator, The Saints, and Mary, Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VII (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1992), p. 381]. Gritsch bases his findings on Hans Dufel's, Luthers Stellung zur Marienverehrung (Kirche und Konfession Veroffentlichungen des konfessionskundlichen Instituts des Evangelischen Bundes 13; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1968). Like Paulus, Dufel's work is quite old.

In What Luther Says Volume 3, Ewald Plass also confirms the deletion of the sections on the immaculate conception. He quotes an earlier section of the sermon and mentions, "In this sermon Luther still holds to the immaculate conception of Mary. In later editions of the discourse the paragraphs which contain this error were omitted. See SL 11, 1952, 1559f" [What Luther Says, Vol.3 p. 1297]. Plass at least points to an actual edition of Luther's works in which the deletion is noted.

What would prompt Luther to edit his sermon? It appears Luther had trouble with the version put out by a friend. Martin Brecht mentions the original 1527 festival postil was largely directed by Stephan Roth (Rodt). When Roth didn't have a sermon from Luther for a particular festival, he used other texts including sermons from Melanchthon. Brecht states also, "Luther approved the undertaking, albeit with a certain reticence, principally because preaching the gospel on saints' days could supplant the legends of the saints. It seemed he did not know that Roth had taken great liberties with the texts." This would explain the title for the Weimar volume in which the sermon is found: "Roths Festpostille 1527." J.N. Lenker also provides helpful background material,

Luther being engaged from 1527 by other labors Rodt of Zwickau edited the Summer Postil and the Postil for the Chief Festivals, which were printed at Wittenberg in 1527, along with Bugenhagen’s Summaries translated from the Latin. Here the Epistles are omitted. In 1528 he also prepared a new edition of the Winter Postil, further revised by Luther. These three books, prepared by Rodt, were reissued at Wittenberg in 1527, 1528, 1529, 1530, 1531, 1532, 1533 and 1535; the Winter Postil nine times, the Summer Postil eight times, the Festival Postil four times. In his editorial work Rodt omitted some and added other material; now and then he united two sermons into one and divided one into two sermons. For this Friedrich Francke no doubt criticised him too severely. True, later Luther was not fully satisfied with Rodt’s work, but he was not pleased with his own and hence he continually corrected it. According to Luther’s opinion Rodt corrected too little. Creuziger was appointed by Luther to prepare a new edition of the Postil with many marked changes [source].

Joel Baseley also notes:

In 1527 Roth edited the Summer Postils and published the sermons for the Saints Days. Between 1527 and 1533 the Festival Sermons were published four times. In compiling the Festival Sermons, Roth in some cases used previously published sermons, sometimes combined two sermons into one and other times split a single sermon in two. Additionally, as he mentions in his 'forward,' he freely took from Bugenhagen's Latin Summaries of the Gospels. Some sermons are translations of postscripts from other sermons. A few of the citations are lifted from works of Melancthon. For instance, the sermon on Saints,Philip and James is a translation of Melancthon's Notes on the Gospel ofJohn and lacking a sermon by Luther on St Michael's, he uses a section from Melancthon's Loci under the title "Two kinds of Offense". Where no sermon is available, only Bugenhagen's summaries appear.

A number of scholars have recorded Luther's disappointment with Roth and liberties taken with the Festival Sermons, but it appears uncertain whether this is purely because of the editorial liberties which Roth took or if there were personal reasons for rancor, our both. Lenker states in his introduction that "For this Friedrich Francke no doubt criticized him (Roth) too severely. True, later Luther was not fully satisfied with Roth's work, but he was not pleased with his own and hence he continually corrected it. According to Luther's opinion Roth corrected too little. Creuziger was appointed by Luther to prepare a new edition of the postils with many marked changes" [Joel Baseley, Festival Sermons of Martin Luther (Michigan: Mark V Publications, 2005) Introductory Comments ("Some notes on the text")].

Finally, the editors of Luther's Works state,

Originally, Luther may have held something similar to the Thomist position, put forward in the Festival Postil (1527), sermon on the conception of Mary, WA 17/2:287-288, though the material in question seems to be solely the responsibility of its editor, Stephan Roth (d.1546), and was removed from the 1528 and subsequent editions: see StL 11:959-961; Baseley 1:50-51. In his later preaching, Luther affirmed that Mary had been both conceived and born in sin and connected her purification from sin with the work of the Holy Spirit at the time of Christ's conception: see e.g., Luther's sermons for Christmas Eve 1539, WA 47:860, and 1540 WA 49:173; Dufel, Luther's Stellung zur Marienverehrung, pp. 163-174, 196-97; Kreitzer, Reforming Mary, pp. 110-11 [LW 59:434-435].


Primary Sources
The earlier sermon compiled by Roth can be found in WA 17 2, Fastenpostille 1525; Roths Festpostille 1527 (Festival Postil), titled Am tage der Empfengknus Marie der mutter Gottes Luk. 11 (pp. 280-289). The specific quote and context can be found on pages 287 - 288. There's also an extant Latin volume of Luther's sermons (alternate link) in which the sermon can be found starting on page 360. A Latin version can also be found here in WA 4: 690-694.

The sermon was on Luke 11:27-28, the possible date was December 6, 1527.

Joel Baseley recently put out an English translation in his translation of the Festival Sermons of Martin Luther (Michigan: Mark V Publications, 2005) pp. 42-51. He leaves out Luther's deleted ending. Baseley utilized a 1584 volume of the Kirchenpostille published in Wittenberg.

The sermon can be found translated from German into English on-line in part here. Another partial English translation (from the Latin) is found in a pro-Roman Catholic work, William Ullathorne, The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (Benziger Bros., 1904). The English translations I'm using were done by Brigitte , Matthew Carver, Ewald Plass, and Joel Baseley.


Context
The version of the sermon in WA 17(2) opens with this summary: "Christ does not look at the honor, glory and praise of the flesh, also not that of his mother, the most holy virgin Mary. Therefore those, who to proclaim nothing than the praise of Mary, should be preaching God's Word (instead)." Baseley's translation reads, "Christ does not regard the honor, the praise and the glory of the flesh even for His mother, the most holy blessed virgin. Therefore, according to this example of Christ, all shall preach the word of God, above which nothing deserves to be babbled, even if it concerns dear Mary" (p.42)."

Luther states,

Today we celebrate the feast of how the Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin,a feast that has created a great deal of apathy, quarrelling and discord among the monks, without any benefit or good, since there is not one letter about it in the Gospel or anywhere else in Scripture. And in this we should see how the devil has blinded and seduced us to the point of being most interested in what was not commanded of us nor needful for us to know, while what was commanded of us we leave alone. It has ever been thus, and ever will be as long as the world stands. Therefore no one should let it bother him, for world will be world no matter what anyone does about it [Carver translation, p. 1].

The sermon itself is primarily about original sin, not the immaculate conception of Mary. In the opening Luther states, "Now on this feast day no one taught about original sin. Wish to God, they had hit upon that. We have to speak about this." The emphasis of the sermon isn't about Mary. In fact he looks at various "Marian" texts and shows how Christ always takes the focus off her in favor of the hearing of the word:

This is how He answers the woman in this passage who gave Him such praise before the people, saying, “Blessed is the body that bore You, and the breasts that nursed You.” “Yea, blessed are they that hear God’s Word and keep it.” It is as if the Lord would say, I will not accept the praise of the flesh, nor is it for this reason that My Mother is blessed. Your praise is wrong. You do not understand the things of God. You seek the profit and pleasure of the flesh [Carver translation, p.2-3].

In this way we see that God’s Word always wars against human affects and thoughts of the flesh and can never agree with them. We have something similar in Matthew 12:46–50: “When the Lord gave a long sermon to His disciples and to the people, His mother and His brothers stood outside and wanted to speak with Him. Then someone said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Your Mother and Your brothers are standing outside and want to speak with You.’ the Lord addressed the one who had asked who his mother and brothers were, indicated His disciples, and said, ‘Behold, these are My mother and My brothers. For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother, sister, and mother.’ He says this even more clearly here where He says, “Blessed are they that hear God’s Word and keep it” [Carver translation, p.2].

Luther then develops various points about original sin:


For just as [Adam] had flesh poisoned with sin, so all his children descended from him have just such flesh, inclined to every evil, and the sin that was in those parents has also been passed on to all their children. In the same way that a father with leprosy, by a mother with leprosy, begets sons and daughters with leprosy, of like flesh with the parents, so are we all begotten in and with sin from our sinful parents [Carver translation, p. 3].

He including the fact that "old Adam" is still active (Romans 7). This old nature must be fought by the creed and prayer. All people bear original sin, none excluded except for Christ. Luther states,

As soon as they had eaten of the forbidden tree and sinned, their concreated righteousness (erbliche Gerechtigkeit) fell away and perished. Then evil lusts began to arise and grow in them, and they became inclined to pride, unchasteness, wantonness of the flesh, and to all sins, as we now are. For as Adam and Eve were after the transgression, so all their descendants are. For just as Adam had a flesh poisoned with sin, so also all his descendants, born of him, have flesh inclined to all evil. And the sin that was in the parents is also born in (angeboren) all their descendants. . . . Therefore so many sins with which man is burdened, such as murder, adultery, theft, and countless other vices, flow from this first, inborn sin, that it should really be called originale peccatum (original sin) also because it is the source and beginning of all the other sins. For all sins come out of the evil inclination of our heart, as Christ says in Matt. 15:19: "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." And at another place He says: "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matt. 12:34). From all this it is now clear and plain that original sin is nothing but the utter maliciousness and the inclination to evil which all human beings feel in themselves.10 (W 17 II, 283—E 15, 51— SL ll,1954f) [What Luther Says, 1297].

How is one freed from original sin? Luther explains:

Accordingly, God ordained that no one would be saved unless he was without sin. And for this reason God gave commandments in which He forbade sin, desiring that we in turn should be godly and righteous as Adam was before his sin. But since we could not do this, He gave Christ, His only begotten Son, into death for us so that by His blood He might deliver and free us from this original sin, and from all the sins that issue from original sin. Thus Christ teaches us to believe in Him and call upon Him for grace, through which this sin is cleansed [Carver translation, p. 3].

For if we are baptized and believe, we receive grace, which fights against the evil inclination in us and drives and stamps out original sin. Then there arise in us good and honorable motivations to humility, chastity, kindness, and every virtue, and then good works are also done with an eager heart. All this is effected by grace, which we received in Baptism through faith in [Carver translation, p. 3].

Towards the end of the sermon, Luther branches out into speculative theology asking and answering two questions. First: "If original sin is taken away in Baptism, why do you say that it remains and that it always has to be contended with?" He provides Augustine's answer:

Augustine answers this by saying that original sin is forgiven in Baptism not in such a way that it no longer exists, but that God will no longer take account of it. Just as the Samaritan in Luke 10:34–35 did not instantly cure the wounded man when he poured oil and wine into his wounds, but took him to the inn and had him taken care of by the innkeeper until he should come again. In the same way, every sin is taken away by Baptism, yet only in the sense that God does not take account of them. thus they are not gone, but they must keep being healed, even as they have begun to be healed. Yet when we die we will all be perfectly healed. So whenever you feel that you are being incited to impatience, arrogance, unchastity, and other sins, know then that you are feeling the deadly arrows of original sin which the devil fi$red at Adam’s flesh, from which yours also is descended. then promptly take thought how to resist these arrows, and pray to the Lord Jesus that this sin would not take the upper hand and overcome you, but rather be overcome by His grace [Carver translation, p.4].

The second question to be answered: "How can parents bear children in original sin when they are baptized and the original sin has been forgiven them?" Again using Augustine, Luther responds:

This Augustine answers with a beatiful parable: In the same way that a grain without ears, husks, or chaff, being sown in the soil, does not by itself yield grains without husks, stalks, and ears, which is as plain as day, so baptized parents do not beget children without original sin, even though the parents are baptized and through Baptism freed from original sin. He also gives the example of an olive tree. When its fruit is planted, it does not grow into a good olive tree but a wild one. So it is here, too. Even when the parents are delivered from original sin by Baptism, they still bear children with original sin. And this is the reason: the flesh of man can never reach perfect purity in this life, such that it is free of desire and sinful lust. For this reason these parents can neither conceive nor bear children without such desire and lust [Carver translation, p. 5].

Luther's answers by noting all children are conceived by parents engaged in lust and desire. God though tolerates this sin in order for the human race to continue. This idea has the following ramification: "This is also the reason why Christ wished to be born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit, without a husband, namely, so that He would not be stained with original sin, which, as we have heard, automatically attends a human’s birth from a husband and wife." In other words, Mary conceived Christ without desire and sin, because Mary didn't have sexual intercourse.

Finally the topic of Mary's birth and sin is adressed (The entire sermon has little to say about Mary until the last six paragraphs). Luther documents the prevailing attitude about Mary:

Now, since the Virgin Mary, too, was born in a natural way from a father and mother, many... have wished to say that she was conceived in original sin also. Yet they all unanimously hold that she was sanctified in the womb of her mother, and that her parents conceived [her] without desire and lust [Carver translation, p. 7-8].

Then he discusses those who've come up with a solution to original sin and Mary. Note the speculative nature of his comments:

But a few have wished to claim a middle-ground, saying that the man’s conception has two parts: the first deriving from the natural mingling of man and wife, the second occurring when the body is fashioned in the mother’s womb and the soul infused by God, its Maker. The first conception we will not discuss here. Nor does it matter much whether the Virgin Mary was conceived after the manner common to all men; so that, as far as this manner is concerned, only Christ is excepted, who is the only one conceived in this manner without the addition of a husband. For it was necessary for Christ to be conceived as God and Man, perfect in every member; and therefore it was in this case mandatory that it should be the most spiritual and most holy conception of all [Carver translation, p. 6].

Then he outlines this speculative view:

But in the conception of the Virgin Mary, whose body was formed according to the usual manner of other infants in the time leading up to the infusion of the soul, it was not mandatory for it to have been this kind of conception. For she could have been kept from original sin up to the point of the soul. But what God did in the second conception with Mary is not indicated for us in Scripture. Therefore nothing sure enough to believe can be preached here. But there is no tax on thinking. Everyone may think what he wants, as long as he makes no article of faith about it [Carver translation, p. 6].

The last comment, "Everyone may think what he wants, as long as he makes no article of faith about it" is missing from WA 17 (2) but included in Erl. 15. Brigitte translated it as "But what God actually did in the other conception with Mary, is not shown to us in scripture; therefore, we have nothing firmly to believe or preach. However, anyone's thoughts are free; may each one think what he wants; but in such a manner that he not make an article of faith out of it." This appears to be Luther's re-edited ending of the sermon.

The Deleted Section
Here's the extended section including that which was later deleted by Luther found in a pro-Roman Catholic work, William Ullathorne, The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (Benziger Bros., 1904). Ullathorne made his translation from a Latin version of the sermon. I have included a sentence from the German text not included by Ullathorne in red. It appears this is the sentence alluded to by Grtisch("In another version of the same sermon from 1528 Luther declared that Scripture did not say anything about the conception of Mary. Accordingly, various ideas can be advanced, as long as none of them becomes an article of faith").

The deleted section of the sermon is noted by **.

But as the Virgin Mary was herself born of a father and mother in the natural way, many have been disposed to assert that she was also born in original sin, though all with one mouth affirm that she was sanctified in the maternal womb, and conceived without concupiscence. But some have been disposed to take a middle way, and have said that man's conception is two-fold;—that the one is from the parents,—but that the other takes place when the little body is prepared, and the soul infused by God, its Creator. Of' the first conception we shall say nothing. Nor does it much concern us, so that the Virgin Mary be conceived in such manner after the common way, that Christ may still be excepted, as alone conceived in the way peculiar to Himself, that is, without man. For it must so have been, that Christ, God and man, would be conceived in all His members perfect; wherefore it was necessary that His should be the most spiritual and most holy of all conceptions.

But in the conception of the Virgin Mary, whose body was formed with progress of time, and after the manner of other children, until the infusion of the soul there was no need of such conception, for it could be preserved from original sin until the soul was to be infused. [But what God actually did in the other conception with Mary, is not shown to us in scripture; therefore, we have nothing firmly to believe or preach. However, anyone's thoughts are free; may each one think what he wants; but in such a manner that he not make an article of faith out of it.]

**And the other conception, that is to say, the infusion of the soul, is piously believed to have been accomplished without original sin. So that, in that very infusing of the soul, the body was simultaneously purified from original sin, and endowed with divine gifts to receive that holy soul which was infused into it from God. And thus in the first moment it began to live, it was exempt from all sin. For before it could begin to live, perhaps it may be said that there was neither absence nor presence of sin, for that only belongs to the soul and to the living man.

Thus the Virgin Mary holds as it were, a middle position between Christ and other men. For if indeed Christ, when he was conceived, was both living, and at that very moment was full of grace; whilst other men are without grace, both in their first and in their second conception; so the Virgin Mary was, according to the first conception, without grace, yet, according to the second conception, she was full of grace. Nor was this without reason. For she was the midway between all nativities, being born of a father and mother, but bringing forth without a father, and being made the mother of a Son who was partly of the flesh, and partly of the Spirit. For Christ was conceived -partly of her flesh and partly of the Holy Ghost. Moreover, Christ is the father of many children, without a carnal father, and without a carnal mother. But as the Virgin Mary is properly the midway between the carnal and the spiritual nativity, the end of the carnal but the beginning of the spiritual, so she justly holds the midway in her conception. For as the rest of mankind are, both in soul and in body, conceived in sin, whilst Christ is conceived without sin, as well in body as in soul, so the Virgin Mary was conceived, according to the body, indeed, without grace, but according to the soul, full of grace. This is signified by those words which the angel Gabriel said to her, 'Blessed art thou amongst women.' For it could not be said to her, Messed art thou, if at any time she had been obnoxious to the curse. Again, it was just and meet that that person should be preserved from original sin, from whom Christ received the flesh 'by which he overcame all sins. And that, indeed, is properly called blessed which is endowed with divine grace, that is, which is free -from sin. Concerning this subject, others have written far more things, and have alleged beautiful reasons, but it would lead us to too great lengths if we repeated them in this place.


Conclusion
A careful analysis of the deleted section in question shows the position Luther appears to be advocating has some similarites to the 1854 dogma of the immaculate conception and some differences. As has been noted on this blog, Luther appears to have moved away from this postion. It is obvious that Luther does not hold to the 1854 dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1527. The Pope is very specific:

“We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege, granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”

Luther (contrarily) puts forth that sinlessness was in the second instance of her conception:

“for her first conception was without grace, but the second was full of grace . . . Just as men are conceived in sin both with regard to body and soul, and Christ is free of sin -- body and soul -- so Mary the Virgin is conceived according to the body without grace, but according to the soul she is full of grace”

Eric Gritsch agrees and explains:

In 1527 Luther dealt with the Immaculate Conception of Mary, advocating a middle position favored by a majority of theologians. Following Augustine, Luther told his congregation that Mary had been conceived in sin but had been purified by the infusion of her soul after conception. Her purification was complete due to a special intervention of the Holy Spirit, who preserved her from the taint of original sin in anticipation of the birth of Christ. Thus the Virgin Mary remains in the middle between Christ and humankind. For in the very moment when he was conceived and lived, he was full of grace. All other human beings are without grace, both in the first and second conception. But the Virgin Mary, though without grace in the first conception, was full of grace in the second. That is quite proper. For she was a medium between all generations: she was bom from a father and mother, but gave birth without a father and mother, partly spiritually and partly bodily, because Christ was conceived of her flesh as well as of the Holy Spirit. But Christ himself is a father of many children, without a carnal father and mother. Just as the Virgin Mary remains in the middle between physical and spiritual birth, finishing the physical and beginning the spiritual, so she rightly remains in the middle concerning conception. Whereas other human beings are conceived in sin, in soul as well as in body, and Christ was conceived without sin in soul as well as in body, the Virgin Mary was conceived in body without grace but in soul full of grace [Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VII, 238].

In this sermon, Luther puts forth two views. In the first view, Luther makes the point that all seem to be agreed that Mary was sanctified in the womb, even though many think she was born in sin:

"But as the Virgin Mary was herself bom of a father and mother in the natural way, many have been disposed to assert that she was also bom in original sin, though all with one mouth affirm that she was sanctified in the maternal womb, and conceived without concupiscence.”

Secondly, Luther puts forth another opinion:

“But some have been disposed to take a middle way, and have said that man's conception is twofold: that the one is from the parents, but that the other takes place when the little body is prepared, and the soul infused by God, its Creator.”

What follows is a detailed explanation of this “other” opinion. Luther never really specifically affirms which of the views he holds to, but that he expanded on this second view leads to a probability this was his view in 1527. Without a complete context, it’s hard to have definite certainty. Luther even concludes without an affirmation: “Concerning this subject, others have written far more things, and have alleged beautiful reasons, but it would lead us to too great lengths if we repeated them in this place."

As noted above, the actual end of the sermon appears to be, "But what God actually did in the other conception with Mary, is not shown to us in scripture; therefore, we have nothing firmly to believe or preach. However, anyone's thoughts are free; may each one think what he wants; but in such a manner that he not make an article of faith out of it."

Luther went on in his writings to hold a much different position about Mary. Julius Köstlin noted this many years ago, that Mary, like all believers, becomes free from sin by faith:

In regard to Mary, the mother of the Saviour, Luther had, when speaking of her in the Sermon in the Church Postils already referred to, not rejected the opinion that, in order to be prepared for her high calling, she had been conceived without original sin, or without lust on the part of her parents, or had, at least, been sanctified in her mother's womb. He even himself supposes that her soul was, at all events, at its " infusion " into the embryonic body, purified from original sin. The sermon passed, in this form, into the edition of the Postils published in 1527. Luther afterwards, however, taught, in regard to Mary, simply that she was herself born in sin from sinful parents, just as we are; and that she also became blessed and free from sin by faith. Erl. Ed., xv, 53 sqq.; vi, 199, 189. [source; c.f. p. 211 for "free from sin by faith"]


Addendum

Here are a few examples of the way this quote is used and documented.

Patrick Madrid
In answering a question about Mary's perpetual virginity from a fictional Protestant, Madrid cites a number of Luther quotes in his book, Answer Me This! (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 2003)pp. 142-143. He states, "So I'd respectfully ask our fundamentalist and Evangelical friends who read these statements by Luther and Calvin, et al., to think carefully about them and consider how far modern-day Protestantism has drifted from its 16th-century moorings." He cites "It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin" on page 143, without any documentation.

Mary: A Catholic Evangelical Debate
Dwight Longenecker cites the quote as "It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts... [T]hus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin" on page 103. He documents the quote partially as "Martin Luther, Sermon on the Day of the Conception of Mary the Mother of God; Grisar, Hartmann, Luther (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., 1917), vol. 4, p. 238." He then references that the quote was taken from Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, p. 149.

A Faraway Ancient Country
In this self-published Lulu book, a Roman Catholic convert using "the fruition of four years of research, 80 sources, 190 Biblical passages" states, "Martin Luther also endorsed the immaculate conception during his "Sermon on the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God," in 1527. He said, 'It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin'" (p.148).

A Biblical Defense of Catholicism
"Most remarkably, Luther even accepted the Immaculate Conception: 'It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin' " [Sermon: "On the Day of the Conception of Mary the Mother of God" (Dec. 8?, 1527). From Grisar, Hartmann, Luther, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 volumes, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1917, vol. 4, 238 (emphasis added). See also e.g., House sermon for Christmas, 1533] (2001, pp.202-203).

Catholic Bridge.Com
Martin Luther had the belief of Mary's Immaculate Conception, Luther's words follow: "It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin" (Sermon: "On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God," 1527).[source]

Interfaith Mary Page
Luther believed in Mary’s perpetual virginity and in her Immaculate Conception. Only the latter he didn’t think should be a dogma that people are obliged to believe. "It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul, infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin." (Sermon, "On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God", 1527)[source].

Canterbury Tales
Like Augustine, Martin Luther also affirmed that the Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from original sin "from the very moment she began to live": "But the other conception, namely the infusion of the soul, it is piously and suitably believed, was without any sin, so that while the soul was being infused, she would at the same time be cleansed from original sin and adorned with the gifts of God to receive the holy soul thus infused. And thus, in the very moment in which she began to live, she was without all sin." (Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther's Works, trans. and ed. J. Pelikan. Concordia: St. Louis, Volume 4, 694) [source]

Here are some surprising words. It seems that Martin Luther, that once Augustinian priest turned Revolutionary, upheld belief in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (even before it was declared a dogmatic doctrine in 1854 by Pope Pius IX). The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception holds that Mary was preserved from original sin at her conception and from all sin during her life - that she was conceived, lived, and died without any taint of sin.The eminent Lutheran scholar Arthur Carl Piepkorn (1907-73) has also confirmed that Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception even as a Protestant. Here is Martin Luther in his own words: "It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin"
- Martin Luther's Sermon "On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God," 1527. [source]

American Catholic Truth Society
Yet again the Immaculate Conception was a doctrine Luther defended to his death (as confirmed by Lutheran scholars like Arthur Piepkorn). Like Augustine, Luther saw an unbreakable link between Mary's divine maternity, perpetual virginity and Immaculate Conception. Although his formulation of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was not clear-cut, he held that her soul was devoid of sin from the beginning: "But the other conception, namely the infusion of the soul, it is piously and suitably believed, was without any sin, so that while the soul was being infused, she would at the same time be cleansed from original sin and adorned with the gifts of God to receive the holy soul thus infused. And thus, in the very moment in which she began to live, she was without all sin..."Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luther's Works,
English translation edited by J. Pelikan [Concordia: St.Louis], Volume 4, 694. [source]

The Messenger
Luther and the Immaculate Conception. Some of our Protestant contemporaries may feel surprised when they learn that Martin Luther taught and defended the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1527 Luther published, at Wittenberg, a book of sermons entitled " Explanation of the Gospels for the Principal Feasts of the Whole Year." In order not to have the text tampered with he himself took care of the editing. The collection contains a sermon preached by the Reformer on the "Day of the Conception of the Mother of God." But this is not all; there are passages in the sermon which not merely state the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, but defend it too with some of the arguments used to-day by our Catholic theologians. " We celebrate to-day," he says, " the Feast of the Virgin Mary, how she was conceived without original sin. . . We believe justly and happily that it (Mary's conception) occurred without original sin. . . At the first moment, when she began to live, she was sinless and adorned with God's grace, full of grace; and this is not unbecoming. . . This is implied in the words spoken to her by the angel: Blessed art thou among women. For she could not have been addressed " Blessed art thou " if she had lain under the malediction; again, it was right and befitting that she should be preserved without sin from whom Christ was to take the flesh that was to overcome all sins. For that is properly blessed what is adorned with grace, i.e., what is without sin. Many others have written much about this and have pointed out beautiful reasons which are too lengthy to be enumerated here." These sentiments were penned by Luther ten years after his apostacy from the church, at the time of his most active campaign against her. [source]

Mary in the Documents of the Church [Paul F. Palmer (Maryland: Newman Press, 1952)]
As late as the year 1527, seven years after his excommunication, Luther expressed the following sentiments in a sermon to commemorate the feast of the Immaculate Conception: "We could not say to her: `Blessed art thou,' if she had at any time been subject to malediction. Again it is only right and proper that the person from whom Christ was to take flesh which would vanquish all sin should herself be preserved free from sin. For `blessed' in its proper sense means that which is gifted with divine grace, namely, that which is without sin" ("Kirchenpostille," in Luther's Sammtliche Werke, Erlangen ed. 1828, 15, 55). The editor of this edition notes on p. 54 that after 1527 this section of Luther's sermon was expunged from later editions until restored by himself" (p. 76)

This is an error. Page 54 of Erl 15 does not say Luther restored this section of the sermon.

41 comments:

Frank said...

Wow. I never ceased to be amazed at your Luther-Roman Catholic apologetics work, James. The discrediting of the intellectual makeup of Roman Catholic apologists is devastating. While they are no doubt sincere and zealous, they are nevertheless woefully without understanding and docility. It's too bad you haven't put your work out on a more wider level, because it would put a number of Roman Catholic apologists "out of business" and cast suspicion on those who've supported their work.

I continue to look foward to a published work from you on these issues. Peace.

zipper778 said...

While you are correct Frank that this work does demonstrate how many pop Roman Catholic epologists can't keep anything in context. I've looked at Patrick Madrid's book "Where is that in the Bible" and couldn't help but laugh about how out of shape that book was. I started going through it chapter by chapter taking notes and began to show how wrong it was, but I later became bored and stopped short of finishing the notes on the book. Unfortunately, even if James did say publish a book showing the world about how wrong these Roman Catholic apologists are about the Reformers, these same Roman Catholic apologists would just shrug it off as Protestant propaganda and many Roman Catholic followers wouldn't take the time to read it.

How do you think the papacy has lasted so long? It's by this same tactic. Never mind that there is no proof of so many doctrines throughout history, reason, or the Scriptures, as long as the pope says it's so then it has to be right.

James Swan said...

even if James did say publish a book showing the world about how wrong these Roman Catholic apologists are about the Reformers, these same Roman Catholic apologists would just shrug it off as Protestant propaganda and many Roman Catholic followers wouldn't take the time to read it

That's a great point.

As I look in to these quotes, I'm really doing the same thing others do when probing the writings of the church fathers, presenting information and interpreting the evidence. The argument with Roman Catholics comes down to: whose presentation of the facts best represents historical reality? With the ECF's these discussions can go on endlessly. For them, often it comes down to "Rome interprets history." I've seen this time after time.

People "see" based on inherent presuppositions. With this whole Luther & the immaculate conception issue, I used to think the evidence was being deliberately obfuscated by Roman Catholics. Now I think most of them ignore the evidence, as Taylor Marshall and Patrick Madrid did recently.

Jamin Hubner said...

Really good work here.
ja

James Swan said...

Jamin Hubner said... Really good work here.

Thanks so much- I've enjoyed your recent aomin entries as well!

Brigitte said...

"HOW she WAS conceived without original sin."

It does not actually say and how she "was" conceived, but the use of the verb "to be" is "sei" which could be the subjunctive, i.e. "how she might have been conceived without original sin". In any case, right of the bat, he says that the whole discussion and dissention is of the devil who keeps us from discussing what is commanded in scripture and what we should know.

"Christ does not look at the honor, glory and praise of the flesh, also not that of his mother, the most Holy Virgin Mary. Therefore those, who proclaim nothing than the praise of Mary, should be preaching God's Word (instead)."

That is his summary of the text he is preaching on: Luke 11:27,28.

His introduction has this:

"We celebrate today the feast of the Virgin Mary and how she was [or is said to have been] conceived without original sin.
This feast has caused much bad blood and controversy among the monks, without any use to the pious, most especially since not a letter of this is found in scripture [!!!!!].
From this we should see how the Devil has blinded us and led us astray, because we pushed this doctrine more than everything else, which was not commanded us, nor did we need to know it; and what was indeed commanded us, we have neglected.
That is how it has been and still is and will still be as long as the world remains; people shall do as they please."

Transition:

"Now on this feast day no one taught about original sin. Wish to God, they had hit upon that. We have to speak about this. But first we shall look at the Gospel lesson."

These initial statements show very clearly where he stands and where he is going with this with the remainder of the sermon.

Personally, I find the whole idea of original sin being the desire with which human beings the problem in this sermon. Luther gets the thought from St. Augustine, as he explains in the sermon.

And as is pointed out in the convoluted theory of the two conceptions, expanded upon here by Luther, (which he is nowhere endorsing, only permitting each their own thoughts) the matter is not germaine to any teaching about how we deal with our own original sin which adheres to our nature; nor does is help much with the purity of Mary, since maybe she was conceived in lust, too; her blessedness had to come from another source and her having or not having original sin was posited to come from another source, other than lack of concupisence in the parents' conceiving her.

James Swan said...

how she might have been conceived without original sin

That actually appears to fit the context, great catch.

Here's a link over to Brigitte's work on this sermon: The conception of the virgin Mary/Luther. I'm going to add this link to the main body of the post, and probably some follow up entries. This sermon has been used and abused for quite a few years. I'm thankful to finally have a look at it. It's indeed very interesting to read the quotes in context. One thing I've found in almost all the Marian Luther sermons is that Mary is never the main topic. Even with this sermon, the most important elements of the sermon are not Mary's immaculate conception.

Thanks again Brigitte!

Ben m said...

This sermon has been used and abused for quite a few years.

Why hasn't the Lutheran church been busy lo these many years translating and publishing (online and off) those sayings of Luther which you allege Catholic apologist have misunderstood or misused?

One thing I've found in almost all the Marian Luther sermons is that Mary is never the main topic. Even with this sermon, the most important elements of the sermon are not Mary's immaculate conception.

James, what, in your opinion, ought to be main topic or most important elements of a sermon?

Ben m said...

Corrected version of my previous comment:

Why hasn't the Lutheran church been busy lo these many years translating and publishing (online and off) THE FULL TEXT of those SERMONS AND LETTERS of Luther which you allege Catholic apologist have misunderstood or misused?

steelikat said...

Ben,

They've been waiting for you to provide the funding for that project. Haven't you read the grant requests?

Ben m said...

steelikat,

They've been waiting for you to provide the funding for that project. Haven't you read the grant requests?

Yep - but I forwarded them all to James (secure in the knowledge that he'd get right on it!). ;)

James Swan said...

Why hasn't the Lutheran church been busy lo these many years translating and publishing (online and off) THE FULL TEXT of those SERMONS AND LETTERS of Luther which you allege Catholic apologist have misunderstood or misused?

The "Lutheran church" is responsible for the Weimar edition of Luther's works, the most extensive collection of Luther's writings. There are many Roman Catholic scholars that utilize these texts. Perhaps you weren't aware of this Ben- but the full texts of Luther's sermons and letters are contained therein.

There are though, unfortunately, Roman Catholic Internet warriors that struggle with reading English correctly, let alone German. As mentioned to you previously, there are 20 new volumes of Luther's works in English planned (one already released). These volumes aren't all that expensive. I purchased last year's volume and a Libronix copy of it for an affordable amount.

Lutherans were the ones who painstakingly compiled these volumes. They've sifted through history and tried to publish every scrap they could find. These books have always been accessible to anyone with a good college library. I've had access to many of the WA volumes, even before Google books, by simply getting in my car, going to the library, parking in a visitor's parking spot, walking through the library door, and going down the isle that contains WA, and then pulling a volume off a shelf.

Since I've been going through "Luther, Exposing the Myth" I've found that almost every obscure quote put forth has a ready context somewhere in cyber space now. Even the information in this very post came from cyber-space. When I originally researched this quote years ago, I did go to a library, pull a volume of WA off the shelf, and photo copy the sermon. Now, it's all available.

James, what, in your opinion, ought to be main topic or most important elements of a sermon?

Jesus Christ and the Gospel.

James Swan said...

steelikat,They've been waiting for you to provide the funding for that project. Haven't you read the grant requests?Yep - but I forwarded them all to James (secure in the knowledge that he'd get right on it!). ;)

S.Kat makes a good point. Translation and publishing requires $$. Now, I've purchased a few things from Concordia Publishing, and they've sent me my orders in a timely fashion. In fact, with Volume 69 of Luther's Works, I ordered it, and they sent it without me first sending in the money. After purchases, I never receive any sort of follow up or spam advertising.

Contrast: I bought one product from Catholic Answers, and I get financial support spam almost every day. Ironically, it appears they don't have the money to get some books immediately published.

Ben m said...

James,

the full texts of Luther's sermons and letters are contained [in the Weimar edition of Luther's works].

Yes I know. But the Weimar is difficult to access (even for most scholars). Moreover, even though some volumes are now online, there's still the language barrier.

there are 20 new volumes of Luther's works in English planned (one already released).

Very commendable! Will undoubtedly benefit Catholics and Protestants, and provide a bridge to better understanding of Luther for all concerned. And hopefully these will also begin to address concerns of Catholic scholars such as Denifle and Grisar (like Luther’s theological ignorance and certain of his immoral teachings).

All the more important since I think Denifle in particular has been accused of, not only having been too harsh in his dealings with Luther (in many instances, true) but even of distorting Luther’s teaching! But P. Smith does have, I think, at least one valid critique of Denifle.

“Jesus Christ and the Gospel” [should be the main topics of sermons]

Yes, but does not “Jesus Christ and the Gospel” also include, and indeed are inseparable from, His Church, which is truly the “kingdom of God”, and which happens to be that very kingdom which he himself went about proclaiming?

Look at Luke 4:43:

"But he said, 'I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is WHY I was sent.'"

Truly all the saints make up the kingdom of God!

And thus is it not quite legitimate - indeed essential - that the saints (the Blessed Virgin being foremost among them) be included in sermons, and to even be their main subject on occasions?

S.Kat makes a good point. Translation and publishing requires $$.

True - for now. But that's going to change. You see, as I'm sure you're aware, technology is moving incredibly fast these days, and the area of machine translation is by no means an exception>. This is going to be revolutionary technology !

And while I’m aware of the enormous complexities involved, there are those who believe that in a few years our computers will be so powerful, and the software so sophisticated, that we'll be able to translate effortlessly between all languages -voice and text - with a very high degree of accuracy. In fact, first steps in this direction have already begun!

Might also check here February 9, 2010 and here June 1, 2010.

I bought one product from Catholic Answers, and I get financial support spam almost every day.

Just email them and ask them to stop sending you stuff (or maybe just call the Pope directly and complain to him. His number is, er, uh, well, I think you probably already know what his number is). ;)

Peace.

James Swan said...

But the Weimar is difficult to access (even for most scholars).

No it isn't. It's now entirely online, if I recall- if not entirely, very close. I use it often. Have you asked "most scholars" or are you simply making it up?

Moreover, even though some volumes are now online, there's still the language barrier.

No, all the WA volumes are on-line, as far as I can tell. Too bad for you about the language barrier.

Very commendable! Will undoubtedly benefit Catholics and Protestants, and provide a bridge to better understanding of Luther for all concerned.

To my knowledge, none of the pop-Catholic apologists have bothered to pick up volume 69. If they have, they're keeping it a secret. Perhaps you can get volume 69, and begin the bridge.

And hopefully these will also begin to address concerns of Catholic scholars such as Denifle and Grisar (like Luther’s theological ignorance and certain of his immoral teachings).

Actually, Grisar was concerned enough to correct Denifle, a lot.

All the more important since I think Denifle in particular has been accused of, not only having been too harsh in his dealings with Luther (in many instances, true) but even of distorting Luther’s teaching!

That's right. No one even bothered putting Denifle's other volumes on Luther in English.

But P. Smith does have, I think, at least one valid critique of Denifle.

And if you keep searching, you'll find quite a few more.

Yes, but does not “Jesus Christ and the Gospel” also include, and indeed are inseparable from, His Church, which is truly the “kingdom of God”, and which happens to be that very kingdom which he himself went about proclaiming?

I've never denied the importance and role of the church. In fact, I'm a member of a church, and take that membership very seriously. As to the church being the "kingdom of God" you're thinking too small. Jesus Christ owns every ounce and fiber of all of reality. It is indeed, His kingdom.

And thus is it not quite legitimate - indeed essential - that the saints (the Blessed Virgin being foremost among them) be included in sermons, and to even be their main subject on occasions?

No, see above.

True - for now. But that's going to change. You see, as I'm sure you're aware, technology is moving incredibly fast these days, and the area of machine translation is by no means an exception. This is going to be revolutionary technology !

Well, till then, you can do what I do: buy books.

And while I’m aware of the enormous complexities involved, there are those who believe that in a few years our computers will be so powerful, and the software so sophisticated, that we'll be able to translate effortlessly between all languages -voice and text - with a very high degree of accuracy. In fact, first steps in this direction have already begun!

Don't forget about Hal locking Dave out of the spaceship. That is an important lesson.

Just email them and ask them to stop sending you stuff (or maybe just call the Pope directly and complain to him. His number is, er, uh, well, I think you probably already know what his number is). ;)

No, the point was that Concordia Publishing has a lot more integrity than Catholic Answers. It's not wrong to ask for support, but Catholic Answers is a massive spam producer. I guess it takes $$$$$$ to keep the propaganda going.

Ben m said...

[The Weimar edition] is now entirely online, if I recall- if not entirely, very close. I use it often.

Rev. McCain is list about half of the 121 volumes - 121 volumes!! - of the Weimar Ed. online. See his posting here

According to Wikipedia, the Weimar was begun in 1883 and only just finished in 2009.

Have you asked "most scholars" or are you simply making it up?

Nah. Just made that one up for dramatic effect! ;)

To my knowledge, none of the pop-Catholic apologists have bothered to pick up volume 69. If they have, they're keeping it a secret.

Have you asked most “pop-Catholic apologists” about this, or are you simply making it up? ;)

Actually, Grisar was concerned enough to correct Denifle, a lot.

Really? You mean kinda like this?

“It is a matter of common knowledge that, also in other branches of the history of theology and ecclesiastical life, Denifle has refuted with rare learning, though with too sharp a pen, Luther s paradoxical ‘lies’ concerning mediaeval Catholicism.” Luther, Volume 4, p. 103

No one even bothered putting Denifle's other volumes on Luther in English.

Yet! ;)

And if you keep searching, you'll find quite a few more.

Now scanning!

I've never denied the importance and role of the church. In fact, I'm a member of a church, and take that membership very seriously.

Well James, fact is, “a” church is not the same as “The” Church! All heretics have their churches. As Tertullian put it:

“Even wasps make combs; so also these Marcionites make churches.”
Against Marcion, Bk. 4, c. 5.

Ben m said...

As to the church being the "kingdom of God" you're thinking too small. Jesus Christ owns every ounce and fiber of all of reality. It is indeed, His kingdom.

But that’s just the point, James! The “kingdom of God” is indeed His kingdom! Totally! It is an integral part of him, and thus it has intrinsic dignity and worth. Thus those members of his kingdom noted for their heroic faith and sanctity are indeed worthy of being praise, of being held up as examples, and of being memorialized.

And how many passages in Scripture are devoted to the saints? Virtually every page speaks of them! Indeed, we may even say that God is obsessed (in the very best and highest possible sense) with his saints and their glory! God loves his saints; he rejoices in them with hymns!

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

He honors them:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Ps. 84:11

He praises them:

A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised. Proverbs 12:8

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Pr. 31:28

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Pr 31:30

And note here that the words “commended” and “praised” are from the Hebrew word, Halal. This of course forms part of the familiar halleluiah, “praise the Lord.” Thus not only God, but also his saints are worthy of receiving halal !

Touching briefly on the NT, we see in 3 John that about half of this very small “book” of the bible is devoted to praising one of God’s saints – a relatively unknown one at that! The remainder is mostly a condemnation of those who would refuse to receive these holy brethren of God. So being “in the word” most assuredly means honoring, not only God, but again, also his saints!

So how does one give a sermon based on Scripture which ignores the very things it teaches??

Don't forget about Hal locking Dave out of the spaceship. That is an important lesson.

The lesson there is to always keep a spare set of keys to the airlock handy! ;)

James Swan said...

Rev. McCain is list about half of the 121 volumes - 121 volumes!! - of the Weimar Ed. online. See his posting here. According to Wikipedia, the Weimar was begun in 1883 and only just finished in 2009.

WA is arranged in four parts: Writings (WA),Letters (WA Br, or Briefe), Table talk (WA TR or Tischreden) and the German Bible (WA DB). This set was supposed to follow a chronological sequence, but more Luther material was found after the set had been put in motion. When newer items are found, or better source documents of previous material, they are released in volumes entitled, Archiv zur Weimarer Ausgabe (AWA). Perhaps the AWA volumes make the set add up to 121.

In all the quotes I've looked up, I've never come across a reference to say, a volume 119, or 120, but again, it could very well be the AWA volumes make the set bigger. Regardless, what's available now is substantial, comprising the majority of Luther's writings.

Have you asked most “pop-Catholic apologists” about this, or are you simply making it up? ;)

I read many of their websites daily. None of them mentioned actually reading it. If you can produce a pop-RC apologist that's read volume 69, please do so. It appears, you'll be the first, given the researcher you are. If you need instructions on how to order this book, let me know.

Really? You mean kinda like this?

Sure Grisar agreed with Denifle at times, but shame on you if you ignore those areas in which he did not.

Well James, fact is, “a” church is not the same as “The” Church! All heretics have their churches.

If "The Church" refers to Roman Catholicism, that church is heretical.

Ben I'm not sure why you would like to meander around on all these others topics, None of them have anything to do with this post. Is there a reason why many Romanists can never stay on a topic? Or are you embarrassed by the sloppy research on this particular Luther quote your fellow Romanists have put forth?

If you'll read this post carefully (it is in English), you'll notice that it was none other than Hartmann Grisar who made important historical comments on this particular Luther quote.

It was one of your fellow Romanists who read the same Grisar book, and ignored the fact that Luther deleted the very comment in question. What's wrong? Are you guys afraid of going deep into history?

Here's a bonus question for you. In my post under "The Roman Catholic Runaround" can you identify the author of the quote in brown font that insulted me repeatedly, provided a bogus reference, and gave me instructions on how to use Google?

Ben m said...

I read many of their websites daily. None of them mentioned actually reading it. If you can produce a pop-RC apologist that's read volume 69, please do so. It appears, you'll be the first, given the researcher you are.

You know what, bro, I think you may actually be right here!

What we need now is some limited viewing of the book. As you can see, currently there is none .

If you need instructions on how to order this book, let me know.

Very thoughtful! ;)

Sure Grisar agreed with Denifle at times, but shame on you if you ignore those areas in which he did not.

I don’t think I’m ignoring anything; I just haven’t yet found Grisar saying anything particularly bad about Denifle. I’ll look into it though, and will be sure to post here whatever negative comments I happen to find. But that Denifle was not perfect, nor his scholarship impervious to mistakes, I freely grant. But this true of everyone – Grisar, Luther, Calvin, Aquinas, Augustine, you name'em.

If "The Church" refers to Roman Catholicism, that church is heretical.

Says who? Luther? Calvin? Give solid reasons why anyone should accept their opinions. You really ought to believe the Scriptures, not the screechers!

Scripture praises the Roman Church (Rm 1:8), and tells us that this Church is honored by “all the churches of Christ” (Rm 16:16). Now there is being “in the word” James! - honoring the Roman Church!

But Protestants will endure none of these testimonies of Scripture; instead, many (not all) curse and condemn the Church at Rome. Yet which should one believe? Scripture, or Protestantism?

Ben I'm not sure why you would like to meander around on all these others topics, None of them have anything to do with this post. Is there a reason why many Romanists can never stay on a topic? Or are you embarrassed by the sloppy research on this particular Luther quote your fellow Romanists have put forth?

I don’t see it as meandering. I just think fundamentally the Protestant opposition to Marian teachings such as the IC stem from a deep-seated prejudice against the Roman Church and her authority, coupled with an appalling ignorance of what Scripture actually teaches about the saints and the honor and “worship” (doxa) which God himself bestows on them. Read Luke:

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have WORSHIP in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” Luke 14:10 KJV

Note that in the New Testament -as in the Old - both God and man are worthy of praise, or what is sometimes translated (in NT) as “worship”! Doxa

Ben m said...

If you'll read this post carefully (it is in English), you'll notice that it was none other than Hartmann Grisar who made important historical comments on this particular Luther quote.

So he did.

It was one of your fellow Romanists who read the same Grisar book, and ignored the fact that Luther deleted the very comment in question. What's wrong? Are you guys afraid of going deep into history?

Could it not just be an honest mistake? Have you never erred? Or do you think it was a deliberate misleading? And speaking of misleading, what about Luther et al, who made all sorts of repeated, absurd and outrageous slanders against Catholics? Grisar documents many of these.

How about a little contempt for Luther and his slandering fellows? How about doing some posts on that topic? You've certainly got a ton of ready material to work with! If you need help with this, let me know. ;)

Here's a bonus question for you.

Good. I ♥ bonus questions! ☺ ☺

In my post under "The Roman Catholic Runaround" can you identify the author of the quote in brown font that insulted me repeatedly, provided a bogus reference, and gave me instructions on how to use Google?

I have my suspicions. ;) As for being “insulted,” I guess one could conceivably see it that way. But again, who tops M. Luther for insults? Who? Yet you are strangely silent when it comes to them. Missing a great opportunity here, James; shouldn’t pass it up! LOL

Later my friend.

Ben m said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zipper778 said...

Hi Ben, I have an answer to your question: who tops Martin Luther For insults? It would have to be anyone who has held the title "pope".

Number one insult IMO of any pope belongs to Pius IX when he declared himself infallible in matters of faith and morals.

But to be honest, non of this has much to do with the topic. Sorry.

Ben m said...

I deleted one of my repeat postings (though perhaps I should’ve asked for a vote on which was the best version) LOL. Anyway, just hope that James doesn’t again take me to task for deleting a post! ;)

Zipp,

I have an answer to your question: who tops Martin Luther For insults? It would have to be anyone who has held the title "pope".

Dunno if I’d want to go there, Zipp; you’re likely to put a lot people’s noses out of joint! See this.

Number one insult IMO of any pope belongs to Pius IX when he declared himself infallible in matters of faith and morals.

Actually, it is every Protestant who proclaims himself infallible, and claims the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit! How else dare judge the faith and morals of others? Surely no one here will concede the Reformers could have possibly erred in what they taught was the "pure Gospel". It was their way or the highway.

But make no mistake, Luther himself most certainly did make claims to infallibility! You think Jesus might have had a word or two for such hypocrisy?

But now at least the Pope, the bishop of Rome, has an office, has Church Tradition, has 2000 years of continuous history back to the apostles. Further, his is not a private infallibility; it attends his office, which office is in union with all the Catholic bishops of the world. How unlike Protestantism, where each individual simply ‘springs from himself’ as it were, and declares whatever he wishes to be doctrine based on his private whims! In this system, every abomination, every sin, every blasphemy may be justified and defended simply by reciting the formula, “in the word”!

It’ all quite absurd.

But that’s been the nature and history of heresy. My suggestion to you, Zipp, is to go back and read about some of the heretics the Church Fathers had to struggle against. I would also encourage you to read this book . Then compare the ravings it contains to so many of the things Luther and Calvin said. I think you’ll very clearly perceive a continuum of madness running through all these pompous self-proclaimed preachers and “reformers.”

But you’re right; all this is a bit off topic - but fun is fun, right? ;)

Anyway folks, none of this is personal, so please don't take it that way.

Peace.

zipper778 said...

Ben, I can't speak for Luther or Calvin but I can speak for myself. I make no claims to being infallible and it's completely irresponsible for people to make that claim. Let the Bible speak for itself, that's all I have to say.

As far as a 2000 year continuation Ben, can you give me a definition of that? Would it not be a continuation if there wasn't a pope for an hour, a day, a week? What would make the line continuous, and how long is too long in between popes?

I take nothing on here personally, I just think that many Roman Catholics are blinded because they follow a church that resembles a two headed beast rather then following Jesus. It's never salvation through Jesus Christ in the RCC. There, it's salvation through the eucharist and the RCC. Sad.

My soul takes refuge only through Christ the Lord. He is our Chief Shepard.

Turretinfan said...

Ben:

I wish you wouldn't insult our intelligence with links to that blog. That blog simply illustrates its author's inability to distinguish between Luther saying that he is right, and Luther saying that he is infallible.

-TurretinFan

zipper778 said...

So the links that Ben posted are to quotes where Luther or Calvin demonstrated that they were correct? What I mean is did these quotes from Luther and Calvin say that they were "infallible" or did they say that they were correct? I'm sorry but I'm on an iPod so I have a difficult time navigating the Internet. If that's the case though, Ben wasted his time.

Ben, if this is the argument that the RCC has, then that church has nothing for me. It's a denomination that can't make up it's mind about matters of faith and morals, and it's a church that is intellectually dishonest.

Praise God we have Jesus though and not some endless geneology of popes that have been edited well over a hundred times.

Ben m said...

zipper and Turretinfan,

Let me ask you both just two simple and straightforward questions:

1. Did Luther have any sort of divine mandate to teach or reform, or was he acting solely in accordance with his own personal opinion's and authority?

2. What was the main issue which lay at the heart of Luther's protest against the Church?

Turretinfan said...

1) Yes, he had a divine mandate to oppose Rome's errors.

2) Assuming by "the Church" you mean Rome, the answer to that question is something seems to have evolved during Luther's life.

His 95 theses were mostly about indulgences, and it was his criticism of the sale of indulgences (and similar simony) that earned him the hatred of the monks and bishops (he hit the monks in their bellies and the bishops in their purses).

But a more mature Luther viewed the primary issue as justification by faith.

We, looking back, might say that the primary issue was one of authority - whether Rome had the authority to bind the consciences of men beyond what Scripture teaches.

So, actually, your second question is a bit more complex.

I hope those answers help you to be more informed on the subject!

-TurretinFan

zipper778 said...

Hi Ben,

I would have to agree with Turretinfan that Luther was under a "divine mandate" and really wanted to help the church of his day. The answer to your second question is at first it was the sale of indulgences, but the deeper that Luther and others looked, the more dirt was found within the RCC.

Also Ben, I really am curious about how you would define the "unbroken" chain of popes. How long between popes would it take to make the chain unbroken?

Ben m said...

Zip,

Let the Bible speak for itself, that's all I have to say.

But that’s the problem, Zip! The Bible doesn’t speak for itself. Otherwise there would be no disagreements as to what it is saying!

Would it not be a continuation if there wasn't a pope for an hour, a day, a week? What would make the line continuous, and how long is too long in between popes?

Zip, succession is not a function of the amount of time between predecessors and successors. Look at the meaning of the word "succeeds"; it only means "to come next after another in office or position," from the Latin succedere, to go up, follow after. There's not mention of a time dimension.

Strictly speaking therefore, the current Pope, Benedict XVI, would still be considered successor to the apostles and to Pope St. Peter in particular, even were there not a single intervening Pope!

I take nothing on here personally, I just think that many Roman Catholics are blinded because they follow a church that resembles a two headed beast rather then following Jesus.

The Catholic Church has only one Head – Jesus Christ. He is the Invisible Head. And why should having an invisible Head preclude having a visible representative of that Head, say, the bishop of Rome?

No, my friend, the real monstrosity here is not Catholicism, but Protestantism! For while it claims a single Head, it nevertheless insists this very Head is somehow attached to hundreds - if not thousands - of disconnected bodies! Rather freakish, yes?

It's never salvation through Jesus Christ in the RCC. There, it's salvation through the eucharist and the RCC. Sad.

But “Jesus Christ” is not just the Head alone, He is, as Augustine termed it, the “Whole Christ,” Head and body. And his body is the one Church. Now surely no one is saved by believing solely in the Head who knowingly and willfully rejects the body! For the body too is our hope and glory!

Ben, if this is the argument that the RCC has, then that church has nothing for me. It's a denomination that can't make up it's mind about matters of faith and morals, and it's a church that is intellectually dishonest.

Where do you find the Church unable to “make up its mind about matters of faith and morals”??

Ben m said...

TurretinFan

I wish you wouldn't insult our intelligence with links to that blog.

Bro, I wasn’t trying to insult the intelligences around here; I was merely trying to illustrate them! LOL

1) Yes, he had a divine mandate to oppose Rome's errors.

Nope. (but how are you so sure of this?)

2) His 95 theses were mostly about indulgences, and it was his criticism of the sale of indulgences (and similar simony) that earned him the hatred of the monks and bishops (he hit the monks in their bellies and the bishops in their purses).

Really?

And how many of this same dissolute crowd ended up following the ol' boy? And how many would eventually be seen, late at night, staggering out of their favorite haunt with their great hero ? ;)

Truth is, TF, Denifle rightly pointed out long ago to his Protestant critics this type of self-righteous hypocrisy:

"Were they non-partisan, they would draw other conclusions and recognize that, with all the correctness of their material investigation, they were only condemning their Lutherdom as the full measure of thitherto existing wickedness: for, the blacker they paint the Papacy of the time of Luther, the blacker does the ‘Evangelical Reformation’ become." Source

But a more mature Luther viewed the primary issue as justification by faith.

Nope.

We, looking back, might say that the primary issue was one of authority - whether Rome had the authority to bind the consciences of men beyond what Scripture teaches.

Nope.

So, actually, your second question is a bit more complex.

Nope.

It's actually quite simple:

The supremely important, all encompassing issue for Luther was the question of Free Will! That’s it! -- Free Will!

Everything else in comparison with the great question of Free Will was “irrelevant,” as Luther himself freely admits at the conclusion of his major work, The Bondage of the Will.

“In this, moreover, I give you [Erasmus] great praise, and proclaim it - you alone in pre-eminent distinction from all others, have entered upon the thing itself; that is, the grand turning point of the cause; and, have not wearied me with those irrelevant points about popery, purgatory, indulgences, and other like baubles, rather than causes, with which all have hitherto tried to hunt me down, - though in vain!

"You, and you alone saw, what was the grand hinge upon which the whole turned, and therefore you attacked the vital part at once; for which, from my heart, I thank you.” Source.

I do hope these words of Luther will help you to be more informed on the subject! ;)

Turretinfan said...

Ben:

Thanks for sharing.

-TurretinFan

James Swan said...

What we need now is some limited viewing of the book. As you can see, currently there is none .

Limited viewing is for people who don't really care. If you are so concerned with scholarship and truth, you'll simply have to get the book. You can get on the CPH subscription list, and each new volume will be sent to you.

But that Denifle was not perfect, nor his scholarship impervious to mistakes, I freely grant. But this true of everyone – Grisar, Luther, Calvin, Aquinas, Augustine, you name'em.

Good for you, Ben, you've come a long way.

I just think fundamentally the Protestant opposition to Marian teachings such as the IC stem from a deep-seated prejudice against the Roman Church and her authority, coupled with an appalling ignorance of what Scripture actually teaches about

No, you're meandering around. Luther's Mariology is the topic here.

Could it not just be an honest mistake? Have you never erred? Or do you think it was a deliberate misleading? And speaking of misleading, what about Luther et al, who made all sorts of repeated, absurd and outrageous slanders against Catholics?

The actual text from Grisar in which the quote was taken by one of your fellow Romanists is in this blog entry. If someone's reading compression is that poor, well...

Anyway, just hope that James doesn’t again take me to task for deleting a post! ;)

Your posts went to blogger spam, so I reinstated them.

zipper778 said...

If that's the case Ben, then why do Roman Catholc apologists take so much pride in an "unbroken chain" of popes when they can't even define what this "unbroken chain" means? There's no point in saying that if time doesn't matter.

Instead this is an example of an endless genealogy that we should not worry about. The Scriptures tell us to stay away from things like this because they do exalt God with them, only themselves(1 Tim 1:3-5; Luke 20:46-47).

As far as the RCC not being able to make up it's mind about matters of faith and morals, one example would be the issue of who is going to Heaven. Before Vatican II it was only those who submitted themselves to the pope. Now the RCC teaches that anyone who follows their own personal religion, will go to Heaven. Quite the 360 that the RCC did. The problem is, we can't all be right.

As far as the Protestant reasoning for opposing Marian doctrines, isn't it fair to say that they oppose these doctrines because they are found no where in the Scriptures, nor are they found in the ECF's writings and the closer to the present time there were so many different opinions on the subjects that no one knew what to believe. Even Aquinas didn't believe in a Marian IC. Also isn't it quite obvious that Protestant worship is directed solely on Christ and that by making claims that Mary also had an IC and also had an ascension and also is a redeemer, stretches things so far that now attention is given to not only Christ, but Mary as well? Protestants don't want another Christ or hundreds of other Christs. They only want to praise the Rock, our only Savior and Redeemer.

In fact, it is the Roman system that uses the Marian doctrines against Protestants. This is because if you can believe these doctrines even though there is no Scriptural, historical, or reasonable evidence for these claims then you will follow the pope wherever he leads. The RCC uses these doctrines to control people.

James Swan said...

This comment has nothing to do with Ben's insights.

Through the help of Brigitte I was put in touch with a person who translated Luther's sermon, Am tage der Empfengknus Marie der mutter Gottes (On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God).

I now have the entire sermon in English (and I was also made aware of another partial translation on-line).

Nothing in this blog post needs to be revised, but I'd like to expand the entry a bit if I get permission to post sections of the translation.

James Swan said...

I've added more of the sermon context to this blog entry, based on a translation by Matthew Carver. I'm grateful to Matthew for taking the time to do this work.

He also informed me of a book of Luther's sermons I didn't have, which may very well contain the same sermon. I've ordered it, and look forward to working through that translation as well.

Ben m said...

TurretinFan,

Thanks for sharing.

Always happy to. ;)

James,

Limited viewing is for people who don't really care.

Unglaublish!

Good for you, Ben, you've come a long way.

So ya see, James, there’s hope for everyone! ;)

Zipper,

why do Roman Catholc apologists take so much pride in an "unbroken chain" of popes when they can't even define what this "unbroken chain" means? There's no point in saying that if time doesn't matter.

I don’t know what you mean by “pride”?

Now perhaps you’ll find these comments of Bishop Sheen helpful. Just read the entries for August 1st and 2nd here.

Instead this is an example of an endless genealogy that we should not worry about. The Scriptures tell us to stay away from things like this because they do exalt God with them, only themselves(1 Tim 1:3-5; Luke 20:46-47).

I think you are very much misapplying those passages.

As far as the RCC not being able to make up it's mind about matters of faith and morals, one example would be the issue of who is going to Heaven. Before Vatican II it was only those who submitted themselves to the pope.

Zipper, does not Scripture teaches us to submit to those in authority over us?

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, JUST AS YOU WOULD OBEY CHRIST. Eph. 6:5

Now how much more ought we to obey our spiritual leaders such as the bishops, who command with authority? Or were the early Christians free to disobey their bishops? Would such disobedience be consistent with one being “saved”?

Now the RCC teaches that anyone who follows their own personal religion, will go to Heaven.

On the contrary, it is Protestantism which, in theory at least, teaches that each is to follow his own way in religion.

Quite the 360 that the RCC did.

I think you meant a 180, which would indicant a reversal. A 360 would have one going again in the same direction! ;) But no, the Catholic Church has not changed its position. The Church still teaches there is no salvation outside the Church. Even the Reformers taught this!

Still, the Church does recognize that God’s grace is not limited solely to the sacraments and the visible Church.

Ben m said...

Continued..

As far as the Protestant reasoning for opposing Marian doctrines, isn't it fair to say that they oppose these doctrines because they are found no where in the Scriptures

Not everything is in Scripture. Where do we find a record of, say, St. Mark ever having been baptized?

nor are they found in the ECF's writings

Suffice it to say I disagree. What the Church Fathers believe regarding Mary has been dealt with countless times in countless places. This issue is too involved to go into again here (and we’re already off course).

and the closer to the present time there were so many different opinions on the subjects that no one knew what to believe.

Until a matter is fully and authoritatively settled by the Church, theologians are free to speculate debate and discuss. This is natural part of how the Church makes progress in coming to a fuller understanding and appreciation of Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Certain questions can take a very long time to fully resolve.

Even Aquinas didn't believe in a Marian IC.

May I suggest you read this

Also isn't it quite obvious that Protestant worship is directed solely on Christ and that by making claims that Mary also had an IC and also had an ascension and also is a redeemer, stretches things so far that now attention is given to not only Christ, but Mary as well? Protestants don't want another Christ or hundreds of other Christs. They only want to praise the Rock, our only Savior and Redeemer.

St. Augustine:

“What is properly divine worship, which the Greeks call latria, and for which there is no word in Latin, both in doctrine and in practice, we give only to God. To this worship belongs the offering of sacrifices; as we see in the word idolatry, which means the giving of this worship to idols. Accordingly we never offer, or require any one to offer, sacrifice to a martyr, or to a holy soul, or to any angel. Any one falling into this error is instructed by doctrine, either in the way of correction or of caution.”

Contra Faustum, Book XX, 21

Here are some NT Greek words for worship worth noting: Latreia Proskuneo Doxa

And Zip, here are a few more things to consider:

a. Adam was created without original sin i.e., immaculate.

b. The Blessed Virgin did not ascend into heaven under her own power as Christ did, rather she was assumed by Christ’s power.

c. Scripture itself often speaks similarly of God and his saints, for example:

Christ “was taken up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16:

“You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.” Psalm 73:24

d. Just as there is a sense in which God as well as man can be blasphemed, so to, there is a sense in which both can be “worshiped.”

“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worshipin the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” Luke 14:10 KJV


In fact, it is the Roman system that uses the Marian doctrines against Protestants. This is because if you can believe these doctrines even though there is no Scriptural, historical, or reasonable evidence for these claims then you will follow the pope wherever he leads. The RCC uses these doctrines to control people.

My friend, you’re just being ridiculous here! Who’s being controlled? How??

Peace.

zipper778 said...

Ben, the problem here is that you're saying is that your interpretation of Roman Catholicism is okay with people going to Heaven outside of "the Church" even the Trent eternally condemned anyone who didn't perform the sacraments. It appears Vat II forgot that as well.

it is Protestantism which, in theory at least, teaches that each is to follow his own way in religion.

Do you debate Protestants much at all? Is it no wonder that we could care less about strawman arguments like this? Salvation is through Christ alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Heb 5:9).

Ben thanks for the interesting discussion. It's been a good experience.

Turretinfan said...

"Not everything is in Scripture. Where do we find a record of, say, St. Mark ever having been baptized?"

We would not make the baptism of Mark a dogma.

"What the Church Fathers believe regarding Mary has been dealt with countless times in countless places. This issue is too involved to go into again here (and we’re already off course)."

And the Roman lies that the Marian dogmas are something that were handed down from the apostles get crushed every time this issue comes up.

The website you linked regarding Aquinas and the Immaculate Conception confirms that Aquinas did not accept the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

As for Augustine, he didn't venerate Mary the way that you do, nor did he indicate that the kind of veneration of her that you offer (such as by making and bowing down to statues of her, saying prayers to her, and so forth) is acceptable.

Both Adam and Eve were created without original sin, but Mary was not created from clay like Adam or from the rib of an innocent man, like Eve. Instead, Mary was conceived by her human father, and received from him the stain of original sin.

- TurretinFan

Ben m said...

Zipper,

Ben, the problem here is that you're saying is that your interpretation of Roman Catholicism is okay with people going to Heaven outside of "the Church" even the Trent eternally condemned anyone who didn't perform the sacraments. It appears Vat II forgot that as well.

Not my interpretation, Zip; Trent did in fact allow for “baptism of desire.”

From the Decree on Justification, Chapter IV:

“By which words, a description of the Justification of the impious is indicated,-as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, OR THE DESIRE THEREOF, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” Source

Salvation is through Christ alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Heb 5:9).

Yes, “He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that OBEY him” Heb 5:9

Do you obey him when you refuse to “listen to the Church”? For “if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Matt. 18:17

Ben thanks for the interesting discussion. It's been a good experience.

That it has been my friend, though I see y’all still have a ways to go! ;)


Turretinfan,

We would not make the baptism of Mark a dogma.

But it has been unquestioningly believed by the whole Church from the beginning! So now let us say the Church were to make it an explicitly defined dogma, what then would be your objection?

And the Roman lies that the Marian dogmas are something that were handed down from the apostles get crushed every time this issue comes up.

I don’t have time at the moment to go dig through all my notes on this (I really need to keep them handy). In any event TF, you’re just plain mistaken here. Belief in the IM in one form or another is found in the Scriptures, in the Fathers and Doctors, and in the Church’s early liturgies. Perhaps James can be encouraged to set up an open forum here so that these kinds of silly comments can be taken there and addressed.

The website you linked regarding Aquinas and the Immaculate Conception confirms that Aquinas did not accept the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

It’s a little more complicate than that. Suffice it that Aquinas accepted Mary’s sinlessness (which is what Protestants really object to), and never rejected the IM, nor did he have a childish fit and leave the unity of the Church over various understanding of the matter. He understood that which I pointed out to Zip earlier, viz, that certain questions had not been fully worked out by the Church. The precise understanding and formulation of the IM was among these.

As for Augustine, he didn't venerate Mary the way that you do, nor did he indicate that the kind of veneration of her that you offer (such as by making and bowing down to statues of her, saying prayers to her, and so forth) is acceptable.

Augustine most certainly venerated the Virgin, and he celebrated the feasts of many saints and martyrs. He also spoke of their intercession on behalf of the living! Very Catholic! ;)

Both Adam and Eve were created without original sin, but Mary was not created from clay like Adam or from the rib of an innocent man, like Eve. Instead, Mary was conceived by her human father, and received from him the stain of original sin.

TF, let me ask you this:

a. Do believe that God could have easily preserved the Virgin free from original sin, in virtue of the anticipated merits of his Son?

b. Will you at least agree that the Fathers held to Mary's sinlessness, held that she was immaculate?